Jay A. Stout is a retired Marine Corps fighter pilot. He took part in thirty-seven combat missions during Operation Desert Storm, and now works in the aviation industry for a major defence contractor.
Adult/High School-As a retired Marine aviator, Stout writes with an experienced voice and convincing attention to detail in recounting air combat missions conducted in support of ground troops during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Introductory chapters set the stage for a riveting chronology based on his first-person interviews with Marines who participated in the surge from Kuwait to Baghdad between March and April 2003. The focus is primarily on the jets and rotary-wing aircraft components whose capabilities delivered firepower to infantry in an incredibly complex battle space, but tributes are also given to mobile teams who constructed essential repair and refueling points along the route, to tanker crews delivering supplies, to specialists providing communications and intelligence support, and to embarked Navy warships. Harrowing descriptions honor the professional skills of helicopter crews who survived being engulfed by swiftly moving, impenetrable desert sandstorms; the prowess of pilots delivering precision ordnance to suppress hostile forces along corridors adjacent to U.S. troops; and the dogged determination of rescue personnel performing under fire in rugged terrain to evacuate wounded Marines. Beyond these dramatic views from the cockpit, the book also contains candid analyses of lessons learned during the aerial campaign, whether related to flaws in tasking, execution, or equipment failure, and there is sensitivity to loss of life for both coalition troops and Iraqis. Sixteen pages of black-and-white photos lend impact to the personal narratives, and the volume's concluding glossary of relevant military acronyms is helpful.-Lynn Nutwell, Fairfax City Regional Library, VA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Former Marine Corps fighter pilot Stout (Hornets Over Kuwait, etc.) offers an in-depth account of the role that Marine aircraft played in the launching of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. Stout relies primarily on first-person testimony from dozens of Marines whom he interviewed shortly after they returned from the war. These men flew and crewed in all manner of Marine Corps aircraft: attack helicopters, jet fighters and different types of support and transport planes. Employing a writing style that includes plenty of military acronyms and technological details, Stout focuses on the human element: tales of combat told by the men in the cockpits. He shows that, while the war was a nearly unqualified success, it still contained, as all wars do, mistakes along the chain of command, weather conditions that were unpredictable and, of course, enemy fighters aiming to kill. All of these factors led to American casualties, accounts of which Stout includes. In the main, though, Stout concentrates on successful, often heroic missions that create a solid image of Marine prowess. 16 -pages of b&w photos not seen by PW. Agent, E.J. McCarthy. (Dec. 27) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Advance praise for Hammer from Above
"Powerful-a gritty insider's tale as only a fighter pilot could
-W.E.B. Griffin "This is the real thing, a solid and readable account of the role Marine air support played in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Jay Stout is a veteran Marine pilot who knows how to write, especially about Marine aviation. He understands-as only someone who has been there can-the hundreds of decisions a flier makes on a difficult mission, and he describes them memorably. If you've ever wondered what it is like to fly in combat, read this book."
-Thomas E. Ricks, author of Making the Corps and A Soldier's Duty "The 2003 ground war in Iraq has been thoroughly reported by embedded correspondents and those who fought it. Hammer from Above now brings an entirely new perspective to the conflict. Jay Stout unflinchingly portrays the battle through the lens of the Marines who fought in the skies above Iraq. He has skillfully woven the first-person stories of these men and women into a compelling tale of bravery and chance in the crucible of combat that will become an enduring part of the history of the Iraq War."
-Jon Hoffman, author of Chesty: The Story of Lieutenant General Lewis B. Puller, USMC "A brilliant and exciting battle account of the 'Flying Leathernecks' who bravely supported their brother grunts in Iraq. It truly captures the emotions, actions, and feel of that battlefield unlike any other writing."
-Gen. Tony Zinni, USMC (Retired) "A veteran aviator's superb account of a short, sharp war. A revealing portrait of airpower at its finest-supporting the riflemen on the ground-Jay Stout's book does a great service not only for the Marine Corps and our country, but for readers everywhere."
-Ralph Peters, author of Beyond Baghdad: Postmodern War and Peace