STINGER: Operation Cyclone

Charlie Wilson's War, President Ronald Reagan, the Cold War, 1986, Afghanistan

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STINGER: Operation Cyclone is an excellent Cold-War Historical Fiction, tells the story of Charlie Wilson’s War from the GRUNT level.

Well, I really like this Book 2 in the Rick Fontain series by Bill Fortin. Bill Fortin is a US Army veteran himself and has chosen to write some excellent “cold war” fiction, describing the day-to-day implementation of “Charlie Wilson’s War” which described the US assistance to the Afghan mujahideen.

I agree with other readers who reported that this book felt like reading history. The first person narrative is as lively and engaging as the depiction of the Battle of Gettysburg in The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara.

There are excellent dialogue and interesting interplay between CIA operative Rick, along with US Army Special Forces, Delta Force, and the Afghan mujahideen fighting the invading Soviet Goliath. The descriptions of the Afghans carrying in the Stinger missiles on the backs of pack mules.

It was fascinating for me to read the ground-level description of how this new technology allowed the Afghans, most often fighting from horseback, to level the playing field with the Soviets, killing indiscriminately from attack airplanes, helicopters, and tanks. I served in Afghanistan 2002-2003, and really appreciated his word pictures of the terrain.

I also was interested in this story, because Intel then was that some of these “old” Stingers were still around as a threat in 2002 – fortunately, the old weapons didn’t survive operationally after decades of storage in caves, with very hot summers and very cold winters.

Strong work, Bill Fortin. I look forward to the third in the series.

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