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Hesitation Kills


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Table of Contents

Chapter 1: A Home and a Country Chapter 2: The Call Chapter 3: Matilda Chapter 4: The War Plan Chapter 5: Countdown Chapter 6: Dread Silence Reposes Chapter 7: Uncertainty and Human Factors Chapter 8: Red Ink Chapter 9: Time on Target Chapter 10: On the Shore, Dimly Seen Chapter 11: A Dangerous Position Chapter 12: A Fiery Crash Chapter 13: Garden of Eden Chapter 14: Killbox Chapter 15: National Geographic Chapter 16: A Turning Point Chapter 17: Their Blood Had Washed Out Chapter 18: Star Spangled Banner Chapter 19: Ashura Chapter 20: Occupation Chapter 21: When Free Men Shall Stand Chapter 22: Mortars in the Garden Chapter 23: Strategic Corporal Chapter 24: No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy Chapter 25: Ribbons Chapter 26: The Twilight's Last Gleaming Chapter 27: Home of the Brave

About the Author

Jane Blair joined the United States Marine Corps in 1999. She spent several years in the enlisted ranks before reaching the rank of Corporal and receiving her commission as an officer. After mustering out of the Marine Corps in 2005, she rejoined the active duty corps again in 2006 and left as a Captain in 2007. She remains a Middle Eastern regional affairs officer and a Marine attache in the Reserves. She lives with her husband and fellow Marine, Peter, in Washington, D.C. For more about Hesitation Kills, and to find out where Jane Blair will be appearing next, check out her website:


In this military memoir, Marine lieutenant Blair, who served in an aerial reconnaissance unit during Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003), ably depicts the chaotic and often disillusioning experiences of modern warfare. Laced with observations on the challenges facing women in the Marines, Blair's account provides a compelling behind-the-scenes description of how unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, were used to gather crucial intelligence during the first weeks of the invasion of Iraq. Tracing the emotional roller coaster of her own challenges during the conflict, Blair's narrative is especially effective at depicting how the intensity and deprivations of war permanently changed her and her fellow marines. VERDICT Blair's . . . eloquence in examining the grim emotional costs of military service makes this a timely, moving, and eye-opening work. Best suited to readers interested in women in the military, UAVs, the Marine Corp, or Operation Iraqi Freedom. * Library Journal *
My son and Jane were in boot camp together. Our shared 'Marine family' history means that I truly understand the remarkable insight found in this wonderfully engrossing book. Jane brings a clear eye to her subject and offers a unique and deep insight into both war and the role of women in the American war machine that rings true. -- Frank Schaeffer, author of Keeping Faith: A Father-Son Story About Love and the United States Marine Corps
Fresh out of officer's training, Blair, a second lieutenant with the U.S. Marines, was deployed to Iraq in 2003 as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Her aerial reconnaissance unit was often on the leading edge of battle, making her one of the few women in the combat zone. In recounting the run-up to the invasion and the first chaotic weeks of the war, Blair offers a bird's-eye view of military operations and a window into the life and mindset of a soldier. Describing chemical warfare drills, near-ambushes, and what it's like to order an air strike, Blair gives civilians, if not the actual experience of war, then an understanding of it. A thoughtful guide, she admits to her struggles with boredom, loneliness, and fear not just for her own life but for that of her husband, a fellow marine. Though support for and interest in the war has long since waned, Blair, forever changed by her time in Iraq, reminds readers of the sacrifices soldiers make on our behalf. * Booklist *
Jane Blair is an extraordinary example of the passionate modern-day Marine leader and female warrior. The pipe hitters I rolled with typically roped and breached in unisex fashion, but Hesitation Kills makes me wonder if we might have been underequipped. Not only can 'Boots' Blair write like a seasoned and inspiring author, she could whip GI Jane's butt! -- Dalton Fury, New York Times bestselling author of Kill Bin Laden
Beginning in 2003 with her squadron landing in Kuwait, Marine Major Blair (then a lieutenant) reflects positively on her experience in Iraq. Her unit provided backup for army troops, and she was in charge of deploying unmanned planes to bomb suspected enemy emplacements without hesitation. As a new officer she had to face fellow officers who tried to push her to the sidelines, but with the support of her superiors these conflicts faded into the background. 'Marines made war an art form' she writes, describing an incident of friendly fire, 'I knew no matter how much the plan was screwed up . . . the infantryman's decisive actions would win this war.' Blair writes with honesty as she describes feeling fear during her first experiences in battle, but the greater challenge for her turned out to be the hardship of poor quality MREs (military 'meals ready to eat'), months without access to showers, and sheer boredom. . . . This is one marine's on-the-ground account of her pride in being part of a military history. Likely of greatest interest for someone-male or female-contemplating a career in the military. * Publishers Weekly *
In her new memoir, Hesitation Kills, [Blair] tells of her transformation from a sheltered, privileged daughter of a Manhattan lawyer and an artist who were members of Andy Warhol's social circle to a steel-nerved combat veteran. * New York Post *
Blair brings to life the drama and chaos of wartime Iraq, in combat, in camp and on the streets of the cities where part of her mission was to connect with civilians who had been seen as the enemy. * The San Diego Union-Tribune *
Lt. Blair writes in a very clear and engaging manner, never forgetting to translate milspeak and acronyms for the civilian reader. (There is also a handy index in the back.) Her descriptions of what life was like during the hectic and dangerous initial days of the invasion and the Thunder Run are gripping and vivid, and she does an excellent job of giving the reader a 'you are there' experience of her unit, the good and the bad. I enjoyed reading of her delight in seeing the ancient Gates of Babylon through the eyes of the UAV, and the puzzlement of some Iraqi prisoners who were not only confused by a female officer, but one who spoke Arabic with an Egyptian accent. * The Armorer *
[A] precise and accurate account of the day-to-day operations of a front-line unit and the significant toll it takes on leaders at all levels of command. The fact that the author was a woman, and a respected officer, makes the important observations about the best and worst of our officer corps in combat scenarios highly relevant and important for both public understanding and the education of young officers. The author pulls no punches in naming names and explaining the failures and successes-including her own-of commanders in maintaining the support and commitment of subordinates and peers in the planning and execution of not only those combat operations critical to a unit's success, but in taking care of the troops on a day-to-day basis. . . . The ultimate value of this book is the sincere and accurate portrayal, from a very personal level, of those who serve and what their experience on a daily basis as they prepare for war and then deploy with very little clear understanding of what their fate will be. * Joint Force Quarterly *
Allowing women to serve in combat always has been a contentious issue, but retired Marine Corps Maj. Jane Blair reveals what it really means in her perceptive and `unladylike' memoir of her wartime experiences in the Iraq War in 2003. . . . Blair describes the technology, operational uses, and battlefield value of UAVs; the harsh conditions of desert living; gender discrimination; the real threats of enemy attack; the humor of fellow Marines; and the positive combat leadership of her commander and senior NCOs. * Military Officer *
Maj Blair's memoir is a well-written and powerful account of her experience in Iraq in 2003 and of her experience being apart from her husband. . . . Hesitation Kills is a female Marine officer's account of life on the front lines in Iraq, and a book that all Marines should read. It is not a glorification of combat, nor is it a book with a political or social agenda. Her book is a straightforward tale of a Marine officer in combat, who happens to be female. The book is important because it examines the intensity of combat, the anxiety of separation from family, and the powerful sense of isolation and solitude upon leaving the combat zone. Hesitation Kills is a literary milestone in the history of the United States Marine Corps. * Leatherneck *

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