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Black Aces High

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  • Black Aces High

    Last week I ran across this book titled "Black Aces High" it chronicles VF-41 during the war in Kosovo. I finished this book in 3 days it was so hard to put down. It really gives you the sense of being embedded with the squadron. You get to know all the pilots from the CO, XO all the way down to the "nuggets". You learn about their families and their fears of failure. You see how they took the 25 year old Tomcat the navy's premier fleet defense fighter and turned it into the best multi-purpose bomber/attack fighter Nato had in theatre. It follows the squadron as they try to take on the roll of FAC-A (Forward Air Controller Airborne) and as they stumble through the growing pains of this new roll, many in the squadron doubt if they can succeed in precision bombing. Their job was to find the Serbian Army from the air and destroy it without the help from eyes on the ground. Politics also played a huge roll in the war, the planes could not operate below 20,000 feet for fear of getting taken out by SAMs (although many of the pilots broke this rule). Overall if you are into Naval Aviation or Aviation in general this is a good quick read leaving you wanting more. Here is a review from Library Journal.
    From Library Journal
    Former U.S. Air Force information officer and author Wilcox (Wings of Fury) describes the actions of the Black Aces Squadron in September 1999 in the skies over Kosovo. Assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Roosevelt, the Black Aces squadron (VF-41) flew aging Tomcat fighter jets. Through a series of interviews conducted during two weeks aboard the Roosevelt, Wilcox discovered that, despite their enthusiasm, these young pilots lacked the combat experience and knowledge of the enemy they were facing. In addition, they frequently used their sophisticated weapons systems ineffectively. Nevertheless, as vividly described by Wilcox, these pilots made fast-paced, daring missions over Kosovo, often flying dangerous low-level missions to gather timely intelligence reports just before actual air strikes. The pilots' individual stories-of their missions, training, and the close-knit world of naval pilots-make for intriguing reading and give the reader a better understanding of recent events. The glossary explains many military terms, and a complete roster of the pilots and others associated with the squadron is also provided. Tailored to the lay reader as well as the military buff, this book is recommended for senior high school and public library collections as a concise, readable analysis of a contemporary military conflict and the people who carry out the missions.
    "He's a straight shooter with upper management written all over him"

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