Friday, October 12, 2012

Review: GUARDIAN ANGEL by Life and Death Adventures with Pararescue, the World’s Most Powerful Commando Rescue Force by William N. Sine, Senior Master Sergeant, USAF (Ret.)



SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:

U.S. Air Force Pararescue is the most skillful and capable rescue force in the world, taking on some of the most dangerous rescue missions imaginable. PJs (short for para-jumpers), are members of an elite unit whose commando skills are so wide-reaching they often seem like something out of science fiction. They routinely tackle perilous operations that are beyond the capabilities of other rescue organizations, and sometimes dare the seemingly impossible.

Since their inception in 1947, PJs have saved more than thirty thousand lives. They can pluck near-frozen climbers off jagged mountaintops as well as recover shot-down jet pilots stranded deep in hostile territory. In the dead of night, the PJs parachute into ominous black waves that loom twenty feet tall to save distressed seamen, and brave the cruelest and most desolate deserts to recover victims. U.S. Air Force pararescuemen have played a prominent role in every armed conflict since the Korean War, rescuing thousands of soldiers from behind enemy lines.
Guardian Angel provides a rare glimpse at a PJ's mind-blowing adventures. You follow Sgt. Sine's trek across exotic lands and share his encounters with mysterious cultures. Learn what it takes to lower from a helicopter onto the slippery decks of storm-tossed ships to rescue dying sailors. Feel what it's like to be caught in the middle of a bomb blast so powerful that it tears high-rise buildings in half, and flattens armored vehicles hundreds of yards away. Soar high above towering jungle trees and experience the danger of swinging on a slim cable below a helicopter while performing a mid-air rescue of a pilot, dangling from his chute a hundred feet above a mountain slope. Go to war in Afghanistan and parachute onto a nocturnal battlefield surrounded by land mines to help a mortally wounded soldier. This is a deadly serious business: when things go wrong, they can go terribly wrong. Aircraft crash into mountainsides, killing all onboard, while some PJs live through horrendous helicopter crashes only to struggle with freezing temperatures, snapped limbs and torn flesh in a desperate fight for survival.
This book presents true stories of uncommon courage told from the perspective of the actual men in the arena. PJ's belong to an exclusive brotherhood and forge unbreakable bonds of loyalty, commitment, and sacrifice. They do these things for their country, to protect their brothers in arms, and to honor their motto: "That Others May Live."

MY TAKE:

I originally requested this book because it was classified under Teens & YA on NetGalley. As it turns out, it's actually a biography of a para-jumper who served in the US Air Force.

Guardian Angel tells the story of para-jumper William Sine and his experiences with the Air Force. There are chapters for pretty much all the places he has served in, including my country, the Philippines.

I've always been fascinated by war stories and scientific things so the stories of a pararescue jumper was perfect. The stories about his training was pretty brutal. The stories about specific jumps were interesting, but after awhile, the length and detail of each story became too much for me and I found my attention wandering. There were two chapters that stood out for me, though.

The first, of course, was about his tour of duty in the Philippines. As this was during the 1980s, some of his descriptions don't match the Subic of today. The US Military left the base a long time ago so the landscape is a little bit different now. I thought his adventure at the end of the chapter was a little bit unbelievable, though. It sounded like a Filipino action movie. :P

The other chapter I liked was about Khobar Towers. I'm not going to spoil that for you, but it's a very interesting anecdote.

Thanks to NetGalley and CASEMATE for the e-ARC. Publication date of Guardian Angel is on October 19, 2012.

THE GOOD:

  1. You will feel as though you were actually there with the author.
  2. You learn a lot about life as a para-jumper.
  3. You get a greater appreciation for what they do.

THE BAD:

  1. Some people may find some parts boring.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S: 
When I tried an animal call it seemed that some creatures made sounds in reply. Nara said it was just the animals laughing at me.
READ IT IF:

  1. You want to be a para-jumper.
  2. You like war stories.
  3. You are proud of the troops.

RATING:
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