Thursday, January 14, 2010

Buckle Your Seatbelts. It's Going to be a Bumpy Ride.

In Iraq, perhaps the most dangerous job other than EOD is convoy escort. Several years ago, I read a proposal by an author who had retired from the US Marines after running one of the most successful convoy-escort operations in Iraq. The opening chapter, describing the scene of a car-bombing in Baghdad left my jaw hanging. I was actually on a plane that had not just been delayed but had been diverted for refueling and I handed it to the flight attendant to read, I was so eager to share it with someone else.

The chapter was graphic and raw and, I thought, really captured the "boots on the ground" perspective. I worked my ass off to sell that book, but editors complained of "fatigue" in the marketplace. The author, working with his brother, finished the manuscript and I went back out, ultimately selling it for hardcover publication to Thomas Dunne Books. The book should hit bookstores this week.

While serving in Iraq, Jack Lynch found himself in a unique and unexpectedly dangerous role: running convoy security. Each day his team went out, it didn’t know if it would encounter IEDs, ambushes by armed militiamen, or car bombs. Some would argue it was the most dangerous duty in Iraq. For most, the trip from point A to point B was the most dangerous part of any mission. For Lynch’s team, the trip was the mission, and one they performed over and over under harrowing circumstances.

To make this story even more compelling, Lynch’s team, cobbled together from multiple branches of the military and including one woman, conducted their missions with gusto, taking the approach that a good offense makes for a good defense. Civilian cars following too closely? Give them a warning shot. Still too close? Take them out. Armed militia approaching? Open fire before they know what’s happening. While other units routinely sought the safest routes and allowed armed militia to stroll by with impunity, Jack Lynch and his team did what the rules of engagement said they could: they fought the war to win.

Early reviews have been outstanding:

“...tells a poignant story...Lynch draws the reader away from the politics of war and introduces the people fighting and enduring it. He gives a name, face, and a story to the misunderstood tribe of the American warrior...

“...this is where Lynch’s work shines. He reminds us that a family is a cohesive group of individuals with different personalities... This is a beautiful phenomenon of the warrior culture that many will never understand but one well articulated in the MAJESTIC TWELVE.”


“WOW! The Majestic Twelve is a front seat ride into combat at its most dangerous point. A must read.”—Jack Coughlin, USMC, New York Times bestselling author of Shooter: The Autobiography of a Top-Ranked Marine Sniper

"The Majestic Twelve is the story of the team that invented successful urban convoy security tactics, and they did it the hard way--on the road to Baghdad International Airport. Master Sergeant Lynch brings all the military virtues of the Marine Corps to this mission—a brash attitude toward authority, a commitment to mission success, an ability to forge an effective small combat unit, and the ability to skillfully engage enemy forces in close-quarter combat."—Hans Halberstadt, author of Trigger Men

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