Wednesday, November 21, 2012

No Easy Day by Mark Owen

 Mark Owen gives us an interesting and compelling account of the mission which finally killed Osama bin Laden, from the point of view of one o,f the members of SEAL Team Six. The book jumps right into the action, as the author is inbound towards the compound in the helicopter that is forced into a controlled crash landing. Unfortunately, we leap away just before touchdown and Mark begins to tell us, as Paul Harvey would say, "the rest of the story".

Owen moves on to the story of how he attended DEVGRU special warfare training, after being on the Navy's SEAL teams for about six years. One of the amusing anecdotes relates to how when DEVGRU began, there were really only two teams available, but one of them was called "Six" just in case the Soviets heard of them, so they'd think we had more teams than we actually did. Richard Marcinko was one of the founders back then - I gotta pick up some of his novels one of these days.

Owen relates some great combat stories from his deployments to the Anbar province in Iraq and the Pakistani border area in Afghanistan. There's some great stuff about his weapons of choice for all you gun nuts out there - and I got to learn some new things about our military hardware, including some funky looking NVGs our special forces use. He also gets into the massive amounts of training and rehearsal that happen long before any missions begin, and some of the difficulties faced by our military families.

Eventually, at long last, he returns to wrap up the book with the story of the raid on bin Laden's compound, and essentially a bullet by bullet account of the incursion. Some of it is actually almost funny, as various REMFs attempt to put their stamp on the ROEs. One of the suggestions was that the SEALs should push bin Laden's car out of its garage and park it on the street with a flashing police light on top of it, so that nearby residents would believe that the police had already responded to any disturbance at the compound, and wouldn't call the police, themselves. In the end, our forces with guns and saying in Pashto, "move along, nothing to see here", got the job done just as well.

A quick read, full of excellent action.

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