Danger Close: Tactical Air Controllers in Afghanistan and Iraq

  • by Steve Call
  • Narrated by Claton Butcher
  • 11 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

"America had a secret weapon," writes Steve Call of the period immediately following September 11, 2001, as planners contemplated the invasion of Afghanistan. This weapon consisted of small teams of Special Forces operatives trained in close air support (CAS) who, in cooperation with the loose federation of Afghan rebels opposed to the Taliban regime, soon began achieving impressive - and unexpected - military victories over Taliban forces and the al-Qaeda terrorists they had sponsored. The astounding success of CAS tactics coupled with ground operations in Afghanistan soon drew the attention of military decision makers and would eventually factor into the planning for another campaign: Operation Iraqi Freedom.
But who, exactly, are these air-power experts and what is the function of the TACPs (Tactical Air Control Parties) in which they operate? Danger Close provides a fascinating look at a dedicated, courageous, innovative, and often misunderstood and misused group of military professionals.
Drawing on the gripping first-hand accounts of their battlefield experiences, Steve Call allows the TACPes to speak for themselves. He accompanies their narratives with informed analysis of the development of CAS strategy, including potentially controversial aspects of the interservice rivalries between the Air Force and the Army, which have at times complicated and even obstructed the optimal employment of TACP assets. Danger Close makes clear, however, that the systematic coordination of air power and ground forces played an invaluable supporting role in the initial military victories in both Afghanistan and Iraq.
This first-ever examination of the intense, life-and-death world of the close air support specialist will introduce listeners to a crucial but little-known aspect of contemporary warfare and add a needed chapter in American military history studies.
This book is published by Texas A&M University Press. It is part of the Williams-Ford Texas A&M University Military History Series.

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What the Critics Say

"Steve Call has written the authoritative account of America's secret weapon in the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. It's a bracing and realistic tale-much of it told in the raw words of the air power experts who directed close air support for the troops on the ground. This is the ultimate untold battle story, written with an insider's expertise and savvy." (David Zucchino, L.A. Times correspondent and author of Thunder Run)
"Fascinating and worthwile book for military professionals, strategists, historians, and interested civilians." (Military Review)
"This book will fit well into the body of literature that is sure to emerge from the so-called Long War . . . . Overall, this book boasts both high readability and utility . . . . The book's strength derives from Call's experience, insight, and the large number of interviews he used." (Air Power History)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Great content but not easy listening

This book has some great content on it's chosen subject. It discusses the structuring of the forward air controlling elements with the USAF and Army which is dry but it's own kind of interesting. The short stories from FAC's experiences in the two theaters are notable highlights but I feel like the narration lets it down. At all times the narrator is clearly spoken but almost robotic in delivery, some may find this an issue but it's worth persevering with. My main complaint (once I noticed it and couldn't un-notice) was the repeated use of "I was like..", "and they were like...", "then he was like..." but I suppose that's more to do with the author's choice of words than the narrator.

Overall it's an excellent insight, I didn't like the narration much but I'm still glad I bought and listening to it.
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- Jive

Fascinating and well structured narrative

For anyone interested in asymmetric warfare in the modern world. The performance is excellent. easy to listed to and very clear. The only slight problem is the early section is rushed, and you may need to go back and listen to it a few more times to get the differences between TAC and FAC etc.
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- M. WILLIAMS

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-01-2013
  • Publisher: University Press Audiobooks