Shadow Warriors: Inside the Special Forces

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Overview

In his first two Commanders books, Tom Clancy teamed with armor and infantry General Fred Franks, Jr., and Air Force General Chuck Horner to provide masterful blends of history, biography, you-are-there narrative, insight into the practice of leadership, and plain old-fashioned storytelling. Shadow Warriors is all of that, and more, for in the words of Lieutenant General Bill Yarborough, "There are itches that only Special Forces can scratch."

The training, resourcefulness, and ...

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Shadow Warriors: Inside the Special Forces

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Overview

In his first two Commanders books, Tom Clancy teamed with armor and infantry General Fred Franks, Jr., and Air Force General Chuck Horner to provide masterful blends of history, biography, you-are-there narrative, insight into the practice of leadership, and plain old-fashioned storytelling. Shadow Warriors is all of that, and more, for in the words of Lieutenant General Bill Yarborough, "There are itches that only Special Forces can scratch."

The training, resourcefulness, and creativity of the SF soldier make him capable of jobs that few other soldiers could handle, in situations where traditional arms and movement don't apply. Carl Stiner was only the second commander of SOCOM, the U.S. Special Operations Command, responsible for the readiness of all the Special Operations forces of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, including the Green Berets, Navy SEALS, Rangers, Delta Force, Air Force Special Operations, PsyOps, and Civil Affairs.

Together, he and Clancy trace the transformation of the Special Forces from the small core of outsiders of the 1950s through the cauldron of Vietnam and to the rebirth of the SF in the late 1980s and 1990s as the bearer of the largest, most mixed, and most complex set of missions in the U.S. military. From Vietnam and Laos to Panama and El Salvador to Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iraq, these are stories of raids, counterterrorism, hostage rescues, reconaissance, counterinsurgency and psychological operations —and also of building settlements, teaching civilians, cleaning up water supplies, and saving lives. It is a front-row seat to a man, an institution, and a way both of war and peace that together make this an instant classic of military history.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
When you think military fiction, you think Tom Clancy. But did you know that Clancy has been collaborating with top military men to give the reader a taste of what the real military world is like? This entry in his Commanders series presents retired general Carl Steiner, who has spent many years leading America's Special Forces in such missions as Desert Storm and the Panama invasion. In the post-9/11 world, we rely on men like Stiner -- and we rely on Clancy to keep us in the know!
From The Critics
When he's not overseeing his Net Force series of cyberthrillers or putting out thousand-page-plus tomes of militaristic suspense, Tom Clancy co-writes a series of nonfiction books on different segments of the U.S. military. The latest is a conversational, nonacademic study of the history of the United States' Special Forces, from their roots in World War II to the present. The book's co-author, a former paratrooper and commander-in-chief of the U.S. Special Operations Command, provides a good deal of the firsthand experience that gives the writing a welcome feel of authenticity. Since Stiner is retired, he's free to spout off about Pentagon bureaucracy and key military figures, including Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf. This irreverence, not to mention some spectacularly engrossing depictions of dangerous missions in Panama and Iraq, helps spice up an occasionally sluggish agglomeration of anecdotes and acronyms.
—Chris Barsanti
Publishers Weekly
This is the third volume in Clancy's series presenting modern war from the perspective of its commanders. Here the focus is on special warfare: Rangers, SEALs, Delta Force, the Green Berets and other less familiar organizations. Stiner headed the newly created Special Operations Command during the Gulf War. His experiences and Clancy's investigations combine to describe how the perennial outsider troops became frontline insiders. Many of the book's anecdotes from the 1950s and '60s support an image of a special operations community not exactly at war with the army, but trying to establish parameters for what its advocates considered a new approach to war, incorporating military, political and social elements under military control. Following about 40 pages on Vietnam, the second half the book takes us through accounts of the pinpoint strikes on the hijacked cruise ship Achille Lauro, two operations in Panama and Desert Storm activities that included Scud missile takedowns. The book ends with a 10-page chapter on September 11 and its aftermath, and appendixes on Special Ops Command history and "Leadership." Readers looking for an up-to-the-minute account of the ways and means of the war in Afghanistan will not find it here, but the plethora of insider history and firsthand operation specifics from insertion to "exfiltration" up to the early '90s will please the historically minded. (Feb. 4) Forecast: The Clancy name and events of September 11 have combined to make this a BOMC main selection, but the Gulf War material will have trouble competing with live television reports and newspaper accounts of current systems and teams. Expect a short run as a bestseller on the strength of Clancy alone. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
KLIATT
To quote from the review of the audiobook in KLIATT, September 2002: Clancy once again ventures out of the realm of fiction and into the domain of reality and looks at "unconventional war." The author and his collaborators examine the need for and the establishment of the U.S. Special Forces units. YAs who have an interest in the military, particularly those who may be considering it for a career, will find this book interesting and informative—this is not a Hollywood version of the Green Berets or Navy SEALs. After a discussion of international terrorist incidents that occurred during the 1970s and '80s, the authors examine the organization and development of America's Special Forces, and the resistance of the traditional military to "special units." The book covers a detailed description of Special Forces operations during the war in Vietnam and provides a detailed description of the Achille Lauro hijacking and its follow-up. The events of 9/11 and their aftermath have brought international terrorism sharply into focus and this book is certainly relevant to events today. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2002, Berkley, 548p. index., Boyd
Library Journal
The present war against terrorism has been quite a showcase for the United States's Special Operations Forces (SOF), which consists of the well-known Navy SEALS, Army Rangers and Green Berets, the supersecret Delta Force, and other similar units. Clancy presents some of their history, as well as incidents from the not-too-distant past, which demonstrates that what has happened in the past year is not entirely unknown to our armed forces. Narrator George DiCenzo offers a strong, confident, and deliberate performance. Recommended for purchase by public libraries.-Michael T. Fein, Central Virginia Community Coll., Lynchburg Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The author of megaselling novels in the techno/gung-ho genre (The Bear and the Dragon, 2000, etc.) that he practically invented adds an untimely entry to his body of nonfiction dissections (Every Man a Tiger, 1999, etc.) of what makes our military so great: everything you wanted to know about Special Forces except for Afghanistan. Teamed this time with a retired former chief of US Special Operations Command, Clancy delves into the origins and evolution of the Special Forces concept. Presidents Kennedy and Reagan get special credit for a relevant grasp of realpolitik: the need for a new kind of force capable of Cold War dirty tricks, counterinsurgencies, and holding terrorists to account for their crimes anywhere in the world. Some action vignettes from SF roots in WWII and Vietnam rival Clancy fiction, but things get bogged down with military trivia as the author and General Stiner interweave narratives (liberally laced with the kind of DOD jargon that makes a ship a "naval platform" and an airplane an "aviation asset") on the Achille Lauro (hijacked cruise liner) incident, "taking down" Noriega's Panama, and other actions. The central theme is a somewhat predictable one of guys in the field taking heat, or worse, because Washington never quite gets it. For example, only after Vietnam, when the Pentagon finally allows that the standard US ground soldier is frighteningly inept at forging good relations with "friendlies," does that become a top SF training priority. Also well documented is the depth and breadth of opposition to any concept of elite units by mainstream military commanders who tend to see Special Ops planners as "princes of darkness" out to rob the "Big Army" of budget andresources. Obviously caught with the book already in the publishing pipeline when the 2001 War on Terrorism was declared, Clancy awkwardly tacks on a final chapter to cover repercussions of September 11 (but not including any military operations in Afghanistan), which adds nothing original either in his analysis of the Al Qaeda brand of terrorism or proposed countermeasures. Valor vs. red tape with the soul of democracy at stake.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399147838
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/4/2002
  • Series: Commanders Series
  • Pages: 544
  • Product dimensions: 6.28 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 1.78 (d)

Meet the Author

Tom Clancy was the author of eighteen #1 New York Times-bestselling novels. His first effort, The Hunt for Red October, sold briskly as a result of rave reviews, then catapulted onto the bestseller list after President Ronald Reagan pronounced it "the perfect yarn." Clancy was the undisputed master at blending exceptional realism and authenticity, intricate plotting, and razor-sharp suspense. He died in October 2013.

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    1. Hometown:
      Huntingtown, Maryland
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 12, 1947
    2. Place of Birth:
      Baltimore, Maryland
    1. Date of Death:
      October 1, 2013
    2. Place of Death:
      Baltimore, Maryland

Read an Excerpt

Brigadier General Carl Stiner, the commander of the Joint Special Operations Task Force, was returning from his morning run at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, when his J-2 intelligence officer, Colonel Mike Flynn, met him at the gate. "A cruise ship has been hijacked in the Mediterranean," Flynn told him coolly, but with urgency, "and Americans are very likely on board."

No other organization had the capability to recapture a ship on the high seas, and Stiner knew they would certainly be called in, and soon.

Stiner was a slender man of six feet, with a crisp but not rigid military bearing and a comfortable, easy look. At the same time, he had always been driven by an underlying intensity and a deep competitiveness. It wasn't just that he wanted to be the best, or to lead his troops to be the best — all officers want that — but that he had time and again figured out ways to make it happen.

As he and Flynn hurried toward the headquarters building, Stiner was already processing the news. He knew that Flynn's sparse information was all that was then available, or else Flynn would have told him more. Even so, he had to begin initial actions based on that slender thread. Through long hours of intense planning, training, and rehearsal, JSOTF had developed force packages for virtually any anticipated crisis situation; these were always ready to go within a few hours, as long as there were airplanes available to haul his men. Based on the planning and rehearsals, Stiner focused on what he had to work out right away: "It's a tough target . . . got to get more detailed information," he thought to himself. "We'll have a long way to go and have to get on the road as soon as possible . . . must order up airlift now. And we must find out the location of the ship."

As these thoughts went through his mind, he remained calm. When Special Forces have a job to do, the job must be done fast, accurately, and efficiently. It is likely to be extremely complex, with many lives at risk, and many unknown variables. Facing those conditions, people in these units do not waste their time and effort expressing feelings. They are businesslike, always focusing on the mission at hand — looking especially for vulnerabilities that can be exploited to solve the problem in the cleanest, most complete way possible.

Once he reached the headquarters, he went without pausing to the Joint Operations Center (JOC), a high-tech war room, complete with computer workstations and secure communications to all JSOTF units, the Pentagon, and major commands throughout the world. There he would review the latest intelligence and learn firsthand everything anyone knew about the incident in the Mediterranean. His staff principals had already assembled, waiting for his guidance.

The Task Force maintained its own twenty-four-hour intelligence center, complete with "watch officers" — military officers and civilians expert at picking out intelligence indicators of an impending crisis-analysts, and databases covering every known terrorist organization. Terminals connected the command with all major news networks, including Reuters and the BBC — the first indication of a developing incident often appeared as a news item. JSOTF also had its own people resident in all U.S. intelligence agencies — always looking for indicators of terrorist activities, as well as already existing information that had not seemed important to analysts in those agencies.

In most cases, the headquarters learned of terrorist incidents early, and they usually had the most complete information about them.

Stiner knew that all available intelligence information had already been transmitted by the staff to the units that would be involved. This also meant that all his units would have begun to ready their forces for deployment, while anticipating further guidance from him. They always made maximum use of the time available. In this business, time was a most precious asset.

BEFORE Stiner had taken this command, previous tours in the Middle East had taught him a lot about terrorists and how they operated. For instance, while he had been the chief of training for the modernization of the Saudi Arabian National Guard from 1975 to 1977, he had had a chance to take the measure of Yasir Arafat and his chief lieutenants. Along with other dignitaries from the region, the Palestinians had been invited to a graduation dinner for an officer candidate class by King Khalid and Prince Abdullah, the commander of the National Guard.

Arafat's lieutenants were impressive, no doubt about it. Most of them had advanced degrees from American universities. They were all well-dressed, very sharp, well-spoken, and knowledgeable about world affairs. Arafat was obviously the leader-and clearly an intelligent and remarkable man-but the lieutenants who made things work struck Stiner as truly formidable. In years to come, that impression proved terribly accurate.

Later, in 1983, Stiner was assigned to Lebanon. There he got a firsthand experience of terrorism and its effects-a U.S. ambassador had been assassinated; while he was there, more than sixty people at the American Embassy, and later more than two hundred U.S. Marines, were killed by bombs.

In those days, Beirut was not only an armed camp with many hostile factions, but a place where fighting might break out anywhere at any time. No one was safe, and death was an ever-present risk-from snipers, crossfires between factions, ambushes, and indiscriminate shelling by heavy artillery and rocket fire. The shelling sometimes involved thousands of rounds, which reduced entire sections of the city to rubble in half an hour.

It was not an easy assignment. Yet, for Stiner, it proved to be rewarding. It offered a chance to learn lessons he could get nowhere else.

• You learned how to survive. Or you didn't.

• You learned whom to trust in a life-or-death situation-and whom, by faction or religious motivation, you could not trust.

• You learned to think like a terrorist.

The Evolution of JSOTF

The traditional function of wars is to change an existing state of affairs. In the early 1970s, a new form of warfare, or maybe a new way of practicing a very old form of warfare, emerged-state-supported terrorism. Nations that were not militarily powerful learned to use terrorist tactics to obtain objectives and concessions they could never win through diplomatic or military means.

When this new form of warfare broke out, the United States quickly showed itself unprepared to cope with it. It had neither a national policy nor intelligence capabilities aimed at terrorism, nor any military forces adequately trained and prepared to respond to terrorist provocations. Although the United States was the most powerful nation in the world, its military capabilities were focused on the Soviet Union and not on something like this.

In 1972, Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics were massacred by Black September terrorists. This outrage might have been avoided if German snipers had had the ability to hit the terrorists as they led the hostages across the airport runway to their getaway plane.

The Israelis took this lesson to heart, and on July 4, 1976, eighty-six Israeli paratroopers landed at Entebbe Airport in Uganda. Their mission was to rescue the passengers from an Air France airliner hijacked eight days earlier. In a matter of minutes, the paratroopers had rescued ninety-five hostages and killed four terrorists-though at the cost of the lives of two hostages and the paratroop commander. News of the raid flashed all over the world-and pointed out even more sharply America's inadequacies in fighting terrorism.

This truth had already been brought out in May 1975: Forty-one American Marines were killed in an attempt to rescue the thirty-nine crewmen of the American merchant ship Mayaguez after it had been seized by the Cambodian government. The rescue attempt had failed.

These incidents clearly indicated that the United States was unprepared to deal with terrorist-created hostage situations.

To correct this shortfall, in the mid-70s, three farseeing people began lobbying for the creation of a special "elite" unit to deal with this unconventional threat: Lieutenant General Edward C. "Shy" Meyer, Director of Operations for the Army; Major General Robert "Bob" Kingston, Commander of the Army's Special Forces; and Robert Kupperman, Chief Scientist for the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, who was managing the government's studies on terrorism.

The three initially made little headway. Scant support for the "elite" unit could be found among the services, and even within the Army, even though it was devastatingly clear that the technology in which the Army was investing so heavily-tanks, helicopters, air defense missiles, armored personnel carriers, and all the other machinery of the modern-day battlefield-was of little use against terrorists. The opposition stemmed primarily from two sources: a bias against elite units as such-elites have never been popular in the U.S. Army-and the perception that the unit would rob resources and available funds from the existing force structure.

On June 2, 1977, Lieutenant General Meyer presented the concept of this special mission unit to Army Chief of Staff General Bernard Rogers.

This unit was to be the premier counterterrorist force. Because it was expected to deal with the most complex crisis situations, it would have capabilities like no other military unit. It would be organized with three operational squadrons and a support squadron; and it was to be composed of handpicked men with demonstrated special maturity, courage, inner strength, and the physical and mental ability to react appropriately to resolve every kind of crisis situation-including imminent danger to themselves.

On November 19, 1977, the Army officially activated the unit, but it took another two years to develop the tactics and procedures required for the unit's projected mission.

The unit's final exam and validation exercise was held at Hunter Army Airfield at Fort Stewart, Georgia, and ended in the early-morning hours of Sunday, November 4. It was now certified for its special mission requirements.

IRONICALLY, just as the exercise was taking place, a mob was invading the American Embassy in Tehran. Moments later everyone inside-fifty-three people-became hostages to the new religious-led Iranian revolutionary government.

The crisis of the next 444 days challenged the United States as it had never been challenged before, and proved a horribly painful lesson in effective response to terrorist incidents. The nation was faced with risks, quandaries, contradictions, legal issues, other nations' involvement, and sovereignty issues; and there were no easy solutions. We were presented with what was in fact an act of war, yet this "war" was on a scale that made the use of heavy weapons either impractical or overkill. And besides, there were hostages. We wanted to do something to turn the situation to our advantage.

But what?

In terms of shooters and operators, the unit was probably the most capable unit of its kind in the world, but it did not yet have the necessary infrastructure to go with it-no command organization, no staff, no combat support units. To make matters more frustratingly complex, the intelligence infrastructure necessary for support of rescue operations did not exist in Iran, either.

Meanwhile, President Jimmy Carter-sitting very uncomfortably between a rock and a hard place-decided that an operation to rescue the fifty-three hostages had to be attempted. Army Special Forces had to be the centerpiece of any rescue in Iran.

The obvious model was the Israeli raid on Entebbe. A brilliantly planned, led, and executed operation . . . yet only a marginally useful model. The difficulties of a raid into Tehran were incomparably larger. The Entebbe raid was made against an airfield. The raiders could land there quickly, and make their move against the terrorists almost before they themselves had been detected. Tehran was a major metropolis, with a population in the millions, and it was hundreds of miles inside a vast and hostile country. Getting inside Tehran and into the embassy undetected and with sufficient force to do any good presented many problems.

Major General James Vaught was picked to head the rescue operation. He had a capable Special Forces Unit, but that was all he had. He literally had to begin from scratch to create an effective headquarters for command, control, and intelligence support functions-to select and train a competent staff, develop a plan, select the support units, and train the force for the mission.

If Special Forces could get to the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, they were certainly capable of conducting the rescue operation, but getting them there and back was the challenge. It meant the establishment of staging bases in countries willing to support American efforts and of a support infrastructure within Iran itself. This required, first, an airfield for transloading the rescue force from C-130s to helicopters, which would then take the force on to a landing site near Tehran and back; and second, trucks in waiting near the landing site.

Also required were C-130s and crews that were capable of flying "blacked-out missions" into sites in the desert at night, and a reliable helicopter unit that could take the rescue force from the transload site to Tehran and back.

No units capable of performing this mission existed in any of the services. Jim Vaught had to form, equip, and train them.

It was a daunting challenge to develop in very little time the individual- and unit-level proficiency required to accomplish the job-for example, flying with night-vision goggles had never been done before-and Jim Vaught was the right man for the mission, but the units, equipment, and crews available were at best only marginally capable of taking it on.

Even more difficult was the establishment of an intelligence and support mechanism inside Iran. Vaught did this partly with CIA support, but primarily by using his own assets, sending his own people into Iran to prepare the way. His plan called for establishing an intelligence support infrastructure in Tehran whose function was to verify that the hostages were being held in the Chancery, a ninety-room structure on the Embassy compound, and to arrange for trucks to be waiting near the helicopter landing site for transporting the unit, and later the hostages, back and forth between the landing site and the Embassy compound. This mission was accomplished by Major Dick Meadows, three Special Forces NCOs, and two agents provided by the CIA.

On April 1, 1980, a one-legged CIA pilot in a small two-engine plane flew Major John Carney into Iran at night. Carney's mission was to locate and lay out a 3,000-foot landing strip on a remote desert site in Iran called Desert One. This was to serve as the transload site for the shooters, as well as the refueling site for the helicopter force that would join them after they had been launched from the aircraft carrier Nimitz. The force was composed of eight Navy Sea Stallion helicopters-not the right aircraft for the job, but the best available in terms of range and payload.

Carney laid out the strip with the help of a small Honda dirt bike he brought on the plane. Once the field was established, he installed an airfield lighting system that could be turned on remotely from the cockpit of the lead C-130 (a duty he himself performed on the night of the landing).

On April 24, 1980, 132 members of the rescue force arrived at a forward staging base on Masirah Island near Oman. There they transloaded to C-130s for the low-level flight to Desert One.

That night, the C-130s made it to the Desert One area with no unusual problems, but the helicopters did not arrive as scheduled. Of the eight Sea Stallions, six operational helicopters finally arrived at the desert landing strip an hour and a half late, after an encounter with a severe unforecasted sandstorm. The other two had had mechanical problems before reaching the sandstorm and had returned to the Nimitz. Six Sea Stallions were enough to carry out the mission-but only barely. If another was lost, then some part of the rescue force would have to be left behind, which was not a good idea. All of the force was essential.

Meanwhile, that hour-and-a-half delay made everybody nervous. The helicopters had to leave in time to reach the secluded landing site near Tehran before daylight.

The mission's luck did not improve. During refueling, one of the six remaining helicopters burned out a hydraulic pump. And now there were five-not enough to complete the mission-and it was too late to reach the hide site.

At that point, the decision was made to abort the mission. It was a choice no one wanted to make, but no other choice was possible.

And then came tragedy.

After refueling, one of the helicopters was maneuvering in a hover in a cloud of desert dust, following a flashlight to a touchdown location. The helicopter pilot thought the man with the flashlight was a combat ground controller, when in fact he was not. He was simply a man with a flashlight-possibly a C-130 crew member checking out his aircraft. Meanwhile, the helicopter pilot expected the man with the flashlight to be holding still. In fact, he was moving, trying to get away from the dust storm thrown up by the helicopter's blades. This combination of mistakes resulted in the helicopter veering so close to a C-130 that its blades clipped the C-130's wingtip and ignited the fuel stored there, instantly setting off a flaming inferno. In moments, five men on the C-130 and three men on the helicopter were killed.

The commander of the helicopters then elected to abandon all the helicopters rather than risk further disasters. Everyone who wasn't then on a 130 scrambled aboard, and the best America could muster abandoned the Iranian desert site in shocked disarray.

—from Shadow Warriors by Tom Clancy, Copyright © January 2002, G.P. Putnam's Sons, a division of Penguin Putnam, Inc., used by permission."

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Table of Contents

Authors' Note XI
I. Monday, October 7, 1985 1
II. Pioneers 35
III. Warriors' Warrior 67
IV. Country Carl 99
V. Few Are Called, Fewer Are Chosen 127
VI. Vietnam 161
VII. Between the Wars 205
VIII. The Lebanon Tragedy 227
IX. The Achille Lauro Strike 265
X. Panama: Operation bluespoon 297
XI. Panama: Operation just cause 341
XII. Shadows in the Storm 395
XIII. Bulldog and His Pack: An Incident in the War 451
XIV. The Face of the Future 469
XV. Tuesday, September 11, 2001 501
Appendix I The United States Special Operations Command: A Brief History 511
Appendix II Leadership 523
Acknowledgments 531
Bibliography 535
Index 539
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 20 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2002

    Misunderstanding

    This book is about exactly what the title implies, Special Forces (SF). Some reviewers apparently had confused the term "Special Operation Forces" (SOF) with the term "Special Forces." Special Forces is a term that is exclusive to one part of the Army's Special Operation Forces. It does not apply to other Army SOFs or any other branch's SOF. It really is unfair for the reviewer to blame Mr. Clancy for titling his book aptly just because the reviewer has a misunderstanding of the terminology.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2003

    This book is great what is wrong with you people

    Most people that dont know that much about military, and war dont understand this book. It tells you about special forces not special operations. This book tells what went on then and how things worked.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2014

    This is a real revew

    This book shadow warriors is a very informitive book that shows the history of how the special forces began and operates seperit but not seperet

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2012

    Shaylee

    Puts her arm down and a dagger slides down her sleeve and into her hand and she kulls the mirage

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2012

    Vox

    Too late. If it was a real fight your head would be over there. *gestures a few feet away from her* in other words... you failed the kill chamber. No worrys. Goto resukt before.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2012

    Stormheart

    A stormy gray shecat pads in. "Autumnstar there's an apprentice named Ravenpaw at the first result who wants to join. I don't think Seasalt has an apprentice." Stormheart mews. Her dark blue eyes flicker like night skies.
    ~Stormheart

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2011

    SF not SOF!!

    To all the people laboring under the impression that this will include Special Operations Forces detachments from every branch of the military, let me inform you that you are gravely mistaken, Tom Clancy didn't FORGET to mention other branches because no other branch falls under the category SPECIAL FORCES, they fall under the category of SPECIAL OPERATIONS FORCES.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2004

    Title somewhat misleading, but great info.

    A great read, but as some other reviewers have mentioned, it focuses mainly on GEN Carl Stiner's career with the Army as a Ranger, Special Forces and General Officer. From the cover (yes, yes - I know the old addage) I figured it would be styled around three parts, Army, Navy and Air Force, having Rangers/Delta, SEALs and Pararescue, Combat Control and Air Force aircraft, respectively. The Marine Corps itself did not have any units under SOCOM until recently (July 2003), with it's SpecOps Capable units and I did not expect to find anything about the 'Corps in there from the beginning. That told, I found the book to be an interesting, quick and informative read about the background of Army Special Forces and the contributions of PSYOPS and Civil Affairs in conjunction with the famed Green Berets. GEN Stiner walks through WWII era beginnings and SF pioneers like Yarborough, Singlaub, et. al. and brings the reader right up through American SF involvement in Vietnam, terrorism in the Middle East (Lebanon '83 Marine barracks bombing and the Achille Lauro incident), Panama, the First Gulf War and into special operations today. A fantastic read for those interested in Army SF, Rangers, etc. but will be of interest to anyone seeking unconventional warfare military knowledge.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2004

    Misunderstanding?

    Those that don't have a true understanding of the military and what makes it up should not read this book before learing the terminology. Ask an Army SF 'operatior' and they will tell you that they don't call each other 'Green Berets'.(only those outside the forces and John Wayne did that) They only are given a green beret, just like a number other groups, like the 101st, Rangers, etc. They all have a different colored beret. The 'Special Forces' are just that: Army Special Forces, the Rangers are just the Rangers, they are not the 'Special Forces', there are a number of highly trained and specialized units which fall under the command of the USSOC or SOCOM. If u r truly interested in were the 'Special Forces' were derived from, it would help to read about the 'SOG' or 'MACVSOG' as well as about the 'OSS'.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2002

    Where are the SEALs, Marine Force Recon, Rangers, Air Force SF?

    Although I am an avid Clancy reader, I found this book disappointing. The title is misleading: "Special Forces" means the U.S. armed forces' elite units from each and every major branch of services. Rather, Clancy's reliance upon one highly respected and former Green Beret does injustice to the Navy SEALs, Marine Force Reconnaissance, Air Force Special Forces, and the Army Rangers. I originally thought that this book was a history of how each armed forces developed their special forces. Instead, this book seemed to be a companion to Clancy's other Army's Special Forces. I only recommend this book to those that love to read about the Green Berets.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2002

    Almost Dry History

    A big disappointment for me. There is much more to special forces than Green Berets and General Stiner's experiences.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2002

    Not what you are expecting

    After you read 'Into the Storm' and 'Every Man a Tiger,' you think that this is a great bio about a SF Operator. Or maybe you think it is about the US Military's SF groups, such as SEALs, Green Berets, PJ's, Force Recon, or Delta. What this is about is a bit of the history of the Army's Green Berets and a LOT about the career of General Carl Stiner. If Gen. Stiner had served in SF units all of his career, it might have been on target, but Gen. Stiner spent much of his career on conventional military assignments.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2002

    Another Great Work

    This book is a great look into the development of special forces with an empasis on the career of Carl Stiner. It's main focus is the green beret's and what it is like to become one and be one. Its a quick read with a ton of good stuff in it. If you are a Clancy fan you will enjoy it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted December 2, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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