Mike Guardia


Magnum Books


$14.95 SRP


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 220 pages, lots of photos, softbound
ISBN: 9780999644379. Also available in a Kindle edition.

Regardless of how you felt about Gulf War 1, it provided the US and coalition militaries the opportunity to use their most modern weapons against a nation that had a fairly decent military. At least that was so on paper. Iraq had a very large army and arguably the largest air force in the region. The majority of the equipment they used was of Soviet manufacture and design, though not all of it.

When it was decided to send US forces into Saudi Arabia, it only made sense that the most experienced would be in the vanguard. This included the 58FS/33FW out of Eglin AFB. The 58th was the first unit to get the F-15A Eagle and so had a lot of time and experience with the aircraft. Their deployment to Saudi Arabia was with the newer and more capable F-15C version and it was with this plane that they took to war.

Tasked with combat air patrol to keep Iraqi fighters away from the fighter-bombers, the 58th ended up being the most successful of any of the USAF squadrons in theater with 16 confirmed aircraft destroyed during Desert Shield and Desert Storm. This all came without a single aircraft lost, quite an accomplishment. Of course, it did not hurt that the F-15 was superior to anything the Iraqi Air Force flew and that its missiles were also quite accurate. Gone were the days of the Vietnam War when the Sidewinders and Sparrow missiles were still in their infancy. Those used by the 58th were not only reliable, but able to hit their targets head on.

The 58th had two periods of fairly intense combat. One was the first two nights of Desert Shield when the air war began. The other was much later as they tried to prevent Iraqi aircraft from fleeing to the safety of Iran. Along with other fighter units that were in theater, it made for a fairly one sided air war.

The author interviewed a number of pilots and the SMSGT in charge of maintenance when doing this book. It starts with the stories of each of these men up until the point of getting ready to deploy. Then he interweaves their stories into the telling of the unit's operations during the months of Desert Shield and Desert Storm. It ends with a 'where are they now' sort of deal. In all, it makes for a very readable account and each person's personal insights into not only the operations of the unit, but simply what it was like to be in this part of the world during this period of time.

It ended up being quite a page-turner, a book where I learned some things and which did an excellent job telling the story. I know you will like it as well. Highly recommended.

Thanks to Mike Guardia for the review copy. You can get yours from many sources. Here is one.

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