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Victory Point: Operations Red Wings and Whalers - the Marine Corps' Battle for Freedom in Afghanistan Paperback – April 6, 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 92 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review



About the Author

Writer / Photographer Ed Darack has covered the 2nd Battalion of the 3rd Marine Regiment since their pre-Afghan mountain warfare training in the spring of 2005 and has stayed with them through their subsequent deployment to Afghanistan and tour in Iraq’s Anbar province. He is the author of numerous articles on military issues for such publications as Smithsonian Air and Space, the Marine Corps Gazette, and Proceedings of the Naval Institute Press, among others. Darack continues to write articles on a broad spectrum of subjects and is the author of three previous books. His photography has been used by National Geographic, Outside Magazine, The Sunday London Times, the BBC, Time, ABC, NBC, IBM, Volkswagen, and Bank of America, among many other editorial and corporate clients.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (April 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 042523259X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425232590
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #558,868 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book for both the kindle and the paper back version. I Bought it because I was one of the Marines in 2nd plt Echo 2/3 during the deployment to Afghanistan and I participated in Operation Whalers and remember the tragedy of Red Wings first hand. Reading this book caused so many emotions because of the memories of the events that were taking place. But also because of how much I learned about the situations that were going on. As a brand new 19 year old grunt I was kept out of the loop on a lot of things. from the reasons behind the failed extraction of SEAL Team 10, (which had every single 2/3 grunt pissed that we were sitting there unable to do anything)to Scene behind the mission plannings and execution of some of the hardest things I've ever accomplished in my life.

The only qualm that I have with this book is that Mr. Darak spent the whole Deployment with Fox company and although him being able to talk to grunts from Fox and get after action reports from them, I feel like the events of August 18th 2005 were just overlooked. CPL Cerinceon was the best squad leader I ever had the pleasure of knowing and LCPL George was an absolutely stellar Marine, Nothing could ever explain the shock we all felt that he was to be the one who gave his life that day. However the book did a little half page blurp on the battle of Taleban (the small village in which we were ambushed) and seemed like it was a freak shot that happened to hit George. However it didn't go into detail of How LCPL Gonzalez (who would be killed in Iraq a year later) and LCPL Torres danced around a rock trying to return fire and stay out of fire at the same time. (Torres got hit twice) and the ANA (afghan national army) commandos that died in that fight as well as their Commander being wounded.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Victory Point is a good compliment to Lone Survivor just like Roberts' Ridge is complimented by The Mission, The Men and Me. However, all sides of a story are formed with bias and perception that may or may not be the whole truth. This isn't necessarily bad or good, it's just the way things are. As a Marine, I appreciate the praise the author gives the Marine Corps and the Marines involved in the situations discussed in the book. I do think it was a little too much though. No one, and nothing (especially organizations) is as perfect as the author describes the Marine Corps in the book. The Marine Corps, like all organizations and society as a whole is made up of people. People who make mistakes and fail, people who do everything correct and fail, and people who make mistakes and even everything wrong and still succeed. The Marine Corps' plan to capture the bad guy was solid. Well, so was the plan developed by the other units mentioned in the text. Mistakes were made, things went wrong, and people lost their lives, but that is the way this stuff goes down. The only thing the Marines had over the other units was, their plan never got put into action (tested). If they put theirs into action and the other guys were sitting on the bench it could have very easily been a whole list of different mistakes, different things going wrong, and a different list of guys who didn't make it home. Then it would have been a book written by a different embedded journalist writing about how, if the Marines had just listened to the N.S.W. guys and done a helo insert of the recon element versus allowing them to walk in. I can't make a valid comment about mistakes and decisions and what not without hearing the, "why" they did what they did, which the book never covered for whatever reason.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Then you absolutely have to read Victory Point. Lone Survivor was a really good story, however, as others have noted, Victory Point fills in a lot of blanks and answers a multitude of questions: Why this operation came about, how it was planned, who they were after, and gives background on the regional history. You'll be surprised to learn what this book has to teach about Red Wings. There is much, much more to Operation Red Wings (Redwing) than I had known previously. Furthermore, after reading Victory Point, we learn that the United States Marine Corps ultimately took out Ahmad Shah's ragtag group of insurgents / Taliban, who ambushed the SEALs in Red Wings, in Operation Whalers--the culmination of efforts documented in Victory Point.
Modern military operations consist of large numbers of units from throughout the military, it is rarely just Marine Corps, or just Army. This book brings all of this into focus. Red Wings and Whalers were complex and very difficult missions, with many many lessons that hopefully will not be forgotten, ever.
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Format: Hardcover
READ THIS BOOK! Mr Darack spent two months with 2/3 in Afghanistan in 2005. That time period was the genesis for the book. He spent a great deal of time interviewing the Marines and sailors and lived at Camp Blessing with the Marines, sailors, and Afghan Security Forces. The book was well reviewed by Bing West, Dalton Fury, and others. The battalion achieved victory not by technology dependent special operations that are so lionized by Hollywood and the press these days, but by time-tested boots-on-the-ground, small unit counterinsurgency tactics, tactics codified by the Marine Corps. Read it if you want an honest view of the challenges on the ground for a unit engaged in the COIN fight at the Edge of the Empire. Mr. Darack witnessed first hand the success of the batallion, and how it was achieved through working closely with locals, spending as much time outside the wire as possible, proving our intentions for a unified and pacified country, and of course, always being ready for the tough fight. VICTORY POINT brings the reader into all aspects of what it took to win a difficult counterinsurgency campaign in Afghanistan, conveying the no-nonsense, classic, and time proven methods of this type of warfare, from the dividends yielded from passing out school supplies to children, to helping build roads and other infrastructure, to the necessity of undertaking a high intensity combat.
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