A recommended list of books, focused on Battlefield Airmen lives, careers and missions.
“The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” This list includes affiliate links to Amazon.
Guardian Angel provides a rare glimpse at a PJ’s mind-blowing adventures. You follow Sgt. Sine’s trek across exotic lands and share his encounters with mysterious cultures. Learn what it takes to lower from a helicopter onto the slippery decks of storm-tossed ships to rescue dying sailors. Feel what it’s like to be caught in the middle of a bomb blast so powerful that it tears high-rise buildings in half, and flattens armored vehicles hundreds of yards away. Soar high above towering jungle trees and experience the danger of swinging on a slim cable below a helicopter while performing a mid-air rescue of a pilot, dangling from his chute a hundred feet above a mountain slope. Go to war in Afghanistan and parachute onto a nocturnal battlefield surrounded by land mines to help a mortally wounded soldier. This is a deadly serious business: when things go wrong, they can go terribly wrong. Aircraft crash into mountainsides, killing all onboard, while some PJs live through horrendous helicopter crashes only to struggle with freezing temperatures, snapped limbs and torn flesh in a desperate fight for survival. This book presents true stories of uncommon courage told from the perspective of the actual men in the arena.
From award-winning journalist and combat veteran Michael Hirsh comes the thrilling inside story of the Air Force’s pararescue operations in Afghanistan. The first journalist to be embedded with an Air Force combat unit in the War on Terrorism, Hirsh flew from Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, with the 71st Rescue Squadron to their expeditionary headquarters at a secret location in Central Asia. Unparalleled access to the PJs, as well as to the courageous men and women who fly them where they have to go, often under enemy fire, allowed Hirsh to uncover incredible stories of courage.
My Brother in Arms; The Exceptional Life of Mark Andrew Forester, USAF CCT
On September 29, 2010 Mark Forester was killed in action while fighting terrorists in Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan. His heroic legacy of being shot down while preparing to rescue a fallen teammate began long before this tragic day.
An Apache aviator said of Mark’s final battle: …”I have never witnessed such an act of heroism in my three years of fighting in combat. I have over 2,700 hours total time with 1,500 hours of combat time in both Iraq and Afghanistan…JAG 28 continued to advance on the enemy while taking intense enemy fire, and continuously fired his weapon in an attempt to get to his fallen teammate and destroy the enemy.”…
Since Mark’s death, his family’s eyes and hearts have been opened to multiple examples of selflessness and patriotism by meeting his teammates and leaders in the military. The family has witnessed first-hand the ability for them to turn off their stern, professional personae and turn on compassion, love, support and acceptance. The author feels a strong desire to Honor our Heroes. This book highlights one hero, SrA Mark A. Forester, and also helps recognize many other men and women who volunteer to fight for our freedom.
Never Quit is the true story of how Jimmy Settle, an Alaskan shoe store clerk, became a Special Forces Operator and war hero. After being shot in the head during a dangerous high mountain operation in the rugged Watapur Valley in Afghanistan, Jimmy returns to battle with his teammates for a heroic rescue, the bullet fragments stitched over and still in his skull. In a cross between a suicide rescue mission and an against-all-odds mountain battle, his team of PJs risk their lives again in an epic firefight. When his helicopter is hit and begins leaking fuel, Jimmy finds himself in the worst possible position as a rescue specialist―forced to leave members from his own team behind. Jimmy will have to risk everything to get back into the battle and bring back his brothers.
Pararescue: The True Story of an Incredible Rescue at Sea and the Heroes Who Pulled It Off
This is the gripping and unforgettable true adventure of an astonishing rescue at sea — a tale of the unparalleled courage and skill of men who endured a record-breaking fifteen-hour, nonstop helicopter ride through bone-jarring turbulence to carry out a mission on the ragged edge of impossibility. It is the story of a unit of the New York Air National Guard, the 106th Rescue Wing, which includes the famed PJs, the Pararescuemen, whose training is so rigorous and standards so high that only a dedicated handful qualify to join; heroes without peer who were willing to brave a maelstrom of forty-foot waves and schools of killer sharks, to risk their own lives “so that others may live”.
That Others May Live
That Others May Live is the thrilling story of Jack Brehm and his love affair with two things: the PJ way of life, and his wife, Peggy, the mother of his five children. In 1977, twenty-year-old Jack, an aimless kid from Long Island, made a decision that would alter the course of his life–he decided to become a PJ. He entered “Superman School,” the indoctrination program where PJs are made. It is the toughest program in the military, more difficult than what the Navy SEALs or Army Special Ops go through. No one flunks out–it just gets harder and harder until most guys eliminate themselves. In other programs candidates might say, “They can beat me, but they can’t kill me.” In Superman School, the candidates say, “They can kill me, but they can’t eat me.”
Jack Brehm was transformed from a kid without a clue into a man with a purpose. He and nine other men graduated in the class of ’78-03–they had the right stuff. More than eighty others in their class didn’t. That Others May Live is a vivid, compelling account of Jack’s twenty years as a PJ. We see him and his fellow PJs climb mountains and battle storms to save lives, struggle with their emotions as PJ friends die, wait anxiously to hear if they are called to war in a place such as Kosovo or the Persian Gulf, and try to keep their families together despite the enormous pressure of the job.
Danger Close: Tactical Air Controllers in Afghanistan and Iraq
Drawing on the gripping first-hand accounts of their battlefield experiences, Steve Call allows the TACPs 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 readers to a crucial but little-known aspect of contemporary warfare and add a needed chapter in American military history studies.
The Rescue Season
In order to investigate the units’ lifestyle, work ethic and techniques, Drury spent the 1999 climbing season with the parajumpers, or PJs, of the 210th Alaska Pararescue Squadron. Here Drury relates several of their hair-raising missions, interspersing his stories with background details about the unit’s history, the PJs’ rigorous training and thumbnail biographies of the individual members of the squadron
No Room For Error: The Story Behind the USAF Special Tactics Unit
Part memoir, part military history, No Room for Error reveals how Carney, after a decade of military service, was handpicked to organize a small, under-funded, classified ad hoc unit known as Brand X, which even his boss knew very little about. Here Carney recounts the challenging missions: the secret reconnaissance in the desert of north-central Iran during the hostage crisis; the simple rescue operation in Grenada that turned into a prolonged bloody struggle. With Operation Just Cause in Panama, the Special Tactical units scored a major success, as they took down the corrupt regime of General Noriega with lightning speed. Desert Storm was another triumph, with Carney’s team carrying out vital search-and-rescue missions as well as helping to hunt down mobile Scud missiles deep inside Iraq.
Now with the war on terrorism in Afghanistan, special operations have come into their own, and Carney includes a chapter detailing exactly how the Air Force Special Tactics d.c. units have spearheaded the successful campaign against the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Gripping in its battle scenes, eye-opening in its revelations, No Room for Error is the first insider’s account of how special operations are changing the way modern wars are fought.
The Official U.S. Air Force Elite Workout
Featuring: Running • Swimming • Weight Training • O’Course • Calisthenics • and much more!
Known as the PJ’s and the CCT’s, the pararescuemen and combat control technicians are the elite forces of the United States Air Force.
Their self-sacrificing efforts are heroic. Their training is intense, exciting, and before this book, little known. Now for the very first time, their powerful training techniques are brought to light in this profusely illustrated and documented presentation.
Includes sections on: stretching, weight training, calisthenics, running, swimming, rope climbing, entrance requirements, plus special dramatic coverage of water survival training, from both above and below the water line! Over 200 pages. Loaded with photos.
Total Immersion: The Revolutionary Way To Swim Better, Faster, and Easier
Terry Laughlin, the world’s #1 authority on swimming success, has made his unique approach even easier for anyone to master. Whether you’re an accomplished swimmer or have always found swimming to be a struggle, Total Immersion will show you that it’s mindful fluid movement—not athletic ability—that will turn you into an efficient swimmer. This new edition of the bestselling Total Immersion features:
-A thoughtfully choreographed series of skill drills—practiced in the mindful spirit of yoga—that can help anyone swim more enjoyably
-A holistic approach to becoming one with the water and to developing a swimming style that’s always comfortable
-Simple but thorough guidance on how to improve fitness and form
-A complementary land-and-water program for achieving a strong and supple body at any age
Based on more than thirty years of teaching, coaching, and research, Total Immersion has dramatically improved the physical and mental experience of swimming for thousands of people of all ages and abilities.
On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society
The good news is that most soldiers are loath to kill. But armies have developed sophisticated ways of overcoming this instinctive aversion. And contemporary civilian society, particularly the media, replicates the army’s conditioning techniques, and, according to Lt. Col. Dave Grossman’s thesis, is responsible for our rising rate of murder among the young.
Upon its initial publication, ON KILLING was hailed as a landmark study of the techniques the military uses to overcome the powerful reluctance to kill, of how killing affects soldiers, and of the societal implications of escalating violence. Now, Grossman has updated this classic work to include information on 21st-century military conflicts, recent trends in crime, suicide bombings, school shootings, and more. The result is a work certain to be relevant and important for decades to come.
Inside Combat Rescue (Video)
The elite Combat Rescue members of the U.S. Air Force, Pararescuemen, or PJs, have one mission: rescue American or Allied forces in extreme danger. Whether their targets are shot down or isolated behind enemy lines, surrounded, engaged, wounded, or captured by the enemy, PJs will do whatever necessary to bring those in peril home.
For the FIRST TIME EVER, camera crews embed on a deployment to Afghanistan with this elite rescue team, as they fly day and night, in any weather, to save those in danger on the battlefield.
Brothers in Berets, The Evolution of Air Force Special Tactics, 1953-2003 (Local PDF)
While the Battlefield Airmen concept encompassed several specialties under the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) and others found in conventional units, this book narrates the evolution and contributions of the former; hence, the title, Brothers in Berets: The Evolution of Air Force Special Tactics, 1953–2003, refers to the Battlefield Airmen assigned to special tactics units. The AFSOC special tactics community—a small brotherhood of highly-trained and equally-dedicated warriors, consisting of special tactics officers and combat controllers, combat rescue officers and pararescuemen, and officer and enlisted special operations weathermen—has proven itself as a force multiplier time and time again throughout its
history in places like Somalia, Serbia, Afghanistan, and Iraq.