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The Nintendo generation has taken to the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan where remotely controlled aircraft are killing America¹s enemies and saving American lives.
Matt J. Martin is considered a "top gun" in the world of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). For nearly four years, he has flown hundreds of missions on two warfronts in a new kind of combat that, until recently, was largely classified Top Secret. He and his fellow Predator pilots have been actively involved in virtually every facet of the War on Terror in Iraq and Afghanistan: tracking Osama bin Laden; capturing top al-Qaeda leader al-Zarqawi; fighting with the U.S. Marines in Fallujah; and rescuing aid workers kidnapped in Afghanistan by the Taliban.
This is Matt J. Martin's story and that of his aircraft, the 27-foot long Predator.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
The MQ-1 Predator is a remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) used for forward observation and reconnaissance as well as targeted attacks with its two Hellfire missiles. Frequently referred to as a drone or even a robot in the press, the insectlike craft is sometimes spoken of as though it were an autonomous machine, coldly killing according to its programming. In reality, the RPA has a crew like any other aircraft—except for the fact that the crew is not on board, but safely on the ground and sometimes half a world away from the missions they’re flying.
Predator is Lt. Col. Matt J. Martin's first-person account of fighting the Global War on Terror over Iraq and Afghanistan from the controls of an RPA. From his training in Nevada to being stationed in Iraq—where his base came under attack even if he was "safe" on the ground during Predator missions—Martin provides personal insights into a program that until recently was largely classified secret.
There are exciting stories of chasing and attacking armed insurgents in Baghdad and the desert countryside as well as heart-wrenching accounts of the inevitable collateral damage of urban warfare. Ironically, due to monitors fed by the Predator's targeting camera, even if stationed far away from the action, these crews witness the effects of their attacks far more closely than traditional bomber crews physically present above their targets. Regardless of where the reader stands on the war, the myth of the Predator as a cold killing machine is put to rest through the struggles of the people serving in these remote-controlled battles against insurgents and terrorists.
From the Back Cover:
From the book:
From ten thousand feet in the sky I peered down upon . . . a technical college taken over by insurgents in the heart of Baghdad. It was after midnight. Streets were unlighted or poorly lighted. . . . Using an infrared sensor to register heat signatures, I picked out machine-gun and rocket-propelled-grenade fire coming from top windows of the college, a blink-blink-blink of muzzle flashes that pinned down a squad of U.S. Army mechanized infantry on the wrong side of the Euphrates River.
I carried a pair of Hellfire missiles beneath my wings, but my task was not to engage the enemy directly. Instead, I was to coordinate with and mark targets for an AC-130U "Spooky.". . . As soon as the gunship reported on-site in the night below me, my sensor operator and I began to "sparkle" targets with our infrared marking laser, lighting them up for IR sensors to detect. The Spooky opened fire with the sound of skies ripping apart on doomsday. . . .
Hostile incoming suppressed, the army ground commander came on the radio and thanked me and the AC-130 crew profusely. . . . I stood up to stretch and regain my bearings in the "cockpit" of my aircraft. . . . Then I remembered that Trish had asked me to pick up a gallon of milk on the way home.
You see, I wasn’t in Iraq. Not yet. I was at Nellis Air Force Base, in Nevada, 7,500 miles from Baghdad.
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