Seals the Warrior Breed: Iraqi Freedom

Seals the Warrior Breed: Iraqi Freedom

2.0 1
by H. Jay Riker

For almost half a century, the SEALs have answered their nation's call to battle. And now the Navy's best are going to war five-hundred miles from the nearest sea—to stem the rising tide of violent terror in a volatile desert land.

The intel is sketchy; the battle lines nearly impossible to untangle. But a veteran SEAL team knows

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For almost half a century, the SEALs have answered their nation's call to battle. And now the Navy's best are going to war five-hundred miles from the nearest sea—to stem the rising tide of violent terror in a volatile desert land.

The intel is sketchy; the battle lines nearly impossible to untangle. But a veteran SEAL team knows what its mission is in the remote mountains of Iraq: to diffuse a terrorist threat that is taking a savage toll in blood, both soldier and civilian. But, though allies and enemies are often indistinguishable in this nightmarish conflict, and even the most carefully planned strategies can explode without warning, the SEALs will prevail . . . or die fighting. And they will never leave a brother behind.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Seals the Warrior Breed Series, #11
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.96(d)

Meet the Author

H. Jay Riker has written five books in his submarine warfare series, The Silent Service, and ten books in his bestselling military fiction series, SEALs, The Warrior Breed. Retired from the U.S. Navy, he has been writing fiction for more than a decade, and his novels have been highly praised for both their nail-biting action and remarkable authenticity.

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Seals the Warrior Breed: Iraqi Freedom

Chapter One

Saturday, 18 January 2003

Viper One
North Pacific Ocean,
200 miles west of San Francisco
0240 hours, PST

"Ten minutes!" the lieutenant yelled above the pounding thunder of rotors overhead. "Check your gear!"

HM1 David Tangretti and twelve other operators of Navy SEAL Team Three sat facing inward, strapped into the folding troop seats running down either side of the cargo deck of the MH–53J Pave Low III helicopter. "Hoo-yah!" they chorused in reply—the SEAL battle cry—and began giving their weapons and equipment loadouts a final meticulous examination, tugging on black straps and cinches, checking ammo loads tucked into pouches on their combat harnesses, and making sure that nothing on their head-to-toe black outfits dangled, clanked, or threatened to come loose at a critical moment.

"Show time," BM1 Barry Watterson said at Tangretti's side.

"Roger that," Tangretti replied. "Let's see if the bastards have the balls to take on the Teams."

The SEALs were identically garbed in black BDUs, with class-three flak vests and TAC-VI-NU Eagle jackets laden with ammo, personal radios, first aid kits, and the other necessities of high-tech, close-quarters combat. They wore Nomex hoods over their heads, rendering each man anonymous; a third-generation PVS–18 monocle covered each man's right eye, while his left eye was uncovered, giving him a wider viewing angle with a combination of natural vision and night-vision capability.

Strapped to the front of his body, Tangretti wore his primary weapon, a 9mm H&KMP–5–SD6 submachine gun with its heavy, integral sound suppressor, which reduced the sound of a gunshot to little more than a harsh click, even at close range. Holstered on his leg in a Wilcox Type II hip pack was a .45 caliber SOCOM Mark 23 pistol, with sound suppressor. Each weapon mounted its own LAM, a laser aiming module that painted a pinpoint of either red or infrared light onto whatever the muzzle was pointing at. A K-Bar II knife was sheathed behind his left hip.

As each man completed his own gear check, he turned and checked the gear of the man next to him, tugging at straps and harness clips in awkward places too hard for the owner to reach.

All secure.

"Eight minutes!" Lieutenant Roger Dwyer called out.

At the Pave Low's operational speed of 165 miles per hour, that put them a bit more than twenty-six miles out from the objective, and still well below the target's horizon. The Pave Low III was flying in at extreme low altitude—wave-hopping at less than a hundred feet, to stay below the target's radar until the last possible moment.

In this game, surprise was everything.Tangretti looked around once more, studying his anonymously garbed teammates, each of them looking like something out of a science fiction thriller. The helicopter was enormous. The MH–53 series had an internal payload capacity of over thirteen tons and the space to carry up to fifty-five troops, with all their weapons and gear. Tonight the Pave Low's payload was only a single SEAL platoon—fourteen men—but somehow the red-lit darkness, the sheer bulk of battle gear and weapons, and the inevitable high-keyed stress of the last few minutes before insertion all conspired to make the roomy cargo deck still seem claustrophobic. Tangretti wanted to be out in the open, out in the night . . . where he might be less of a fat and helplessly sitting-duck target.

Of course, they were using the Pave Low III precisely because it gave them their best chance of approaching the target unobserved. Outside, beyond the tall, rectangular portholes in the cargo deck fuselage, it was dark, and the weather was comfortingly nasty.

The Pave Low III, one of the Air Force Special Operations Command inventory of black-ops aircraft, had been designed with foul weather in mind. The machine could fly anywhere, in almost any weather, could hedge-hop scant feet above the water and take advantage of ghastly weather conditions to get in close without being seen, and, even better, get out again when the job was done.

Under other circumstances, the SEAL team would have been inserting from something smaller—one of the Navy's special-ops MH–60 Pave Hawks, for instance—but this time they'd needed the Pave Low's exceptional range—over six hundred nautical miles, with the ability to extend that indefinitely with air-to-air refueling.

When the emergency scramble had come through, however, and the target identified just eight hundred miles northwest of San Francisco, there'd been no U.S. Navy ships with helicopter capability in position to stage an intercept. MH–60s did possess an operational range of over five hundred nautical miles—and, again, could extend that range indefinitely with air-to-air refueling—but the foul weather blanketing most of the eastern North Pacific had led the powers-that-were to conclude that the Pave Low's more robust operational capabilities were what were needed this time, especially since the idea was to intercept the target as far from the American coastline as possible.

According to the mission briefing Tangretti had sat through just fifteen hours ago, there was every reason to think that the target—now just twelve miles ahead through the sleet and windswept darkness—was carrying a nuclear weapon.

If that thing was going to blow, better it blew hundreds of miles offshore, and not moored to a pier a few miles from downtown Los Angeles.

Of course, if it blew, it would take SEAL Team Three's Alpha, Bravo, and Delta platoons and three very expensive Pave Low III helos and their crews with it. Those were the stakes when dealing with the possibility that al-Qaeda or one of that jihadist group's satellite terror groups had actually, at last, managed to acquire a nuke.

"Five minutes!" Lieutenant Dwyer called over the Motorola earpieces each SEAL was wearing. "Comm check!"

"Papa One," Chief Tom Berger replied, his voice slightly muffled by his hood. "Check!"

"Sierra One," Chief Hauser said. "Ready to go."

"Sierra Two," Tangretti said, next in line. "Roger that."

Seals the Warrior Breed: Iraqi Freedom. Copyright © by H. Riker. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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