The Night Stalkers: Top-Secret Missions of the U.S. Army's Special Operations Aviation Regiment

Michael J. Durant, Author, Steven Hartov, Author, Robert L. Johnson, With
Michael J. Durant, Author, Steven Hartov, Author, Robert L. Johnson, With with Lt. Col. (Ret.) Robert L. Johnson. Putnam $25.95 (335p) ISBN 978-0-399-15392-1
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Until 1980, Special Forces (Delta, SEALs, Rangers, Green Berets) relied on ad hoc transportation from other units to get to every operation. That led to disaster in 1980, when the failed Iranian hostage rescue left hulks of five helicopters in the Iranian desert. The U.S. Army decided to do it right the next time, resulting in the creation of SOAR, the Special Operations Aviation Regiment, a highly trained, aggressive unit of helicopter pilots and crew. Durant (In the Company of Heroes ) and coauthors recount half a dozen SOAR missions from Grenada in 1983 and Panama in 1989 to Afghanistan and Iraq today, all with abundant fireworks and casualties. However, in this account, bravery occurs only on our side, while opponents are gleefully cackling comic-book villains blown to smithereens by America's deadly firepower. Readers who wonder why our magnificent troops are assailing, say, the Panamanian army, which no one would mistake for the Wehrmacht, have picked up the wrong book. It's written for those who love vivid tales of battlefield heroics and seek no more insight from books than they do from video games. (Jan.)

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