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SKYBIRD:
Dale Brown’s Ops Report
Copyright © 2004, TDPI

SKYBIRD: Dale Brown's Ops Report June 2004

Copyright © 2004, TDPI

EFFECTIVENESS REPORTS: Reader Mail

Seemed like a good time to answer a few e-mail from readers and provide some thoughts, opinions, and insights into the questions. Here goes:

10 May 2004

Just finished AirBattleForce. Once again I was able to exit this reality of mine and 'go flying'. Thank you for another great time. I have now read all of your work and am in the uneasy position of having to wait for your next. It was so much better when I could fly straight into the next adven- ture. Am looking forward to your next. Thanks for the fun. Keep it up. Great work. One question: Is the Tin Man battle armor a reality?

I first got the idea for the Tin Man armor in 1997 from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Web site, which lists all the ongoing unclassified weapon research projects and proposals. Since then, there have been incredible advances both in the armor and human strength enhancement technology. The "Tin Man" technology (not exactly the way I portrayed it, but you never know!) will become a reality very soon.

11 May 2004

Dear Mr. Brown-

as a new fan of your works, I must praise you on your new book Plan of Attack. I picked it up today and finished it as well. In the past two months, I've read your entire series.

I tend to be the type of person who reads a novel and sees a movie in his head from the words. I really get a great idea of who the characters are and the terrain that they are in from your books. I can't complement you enough. Hope you get all the good praise and reviews that you deserve. And not those that compare you to Clancy. I truly believe you have a genre all to yourself. I look forward to any future books.

In the coming weeks, I hope to purchase your entire collection and reread it again. I really enjoyed all of them.

Well wishes to you and your family

12 May 2004

Dear Dale,

Is there a likely possibility that you will author and/or co-author a novel set within another author's "universe"? Personally, I think it would be awesome if you could collaborate with David Weber on an Honor Harrington novel, or with James H. Cobb on an Amanda Garret story. While I realize that neither space opera nor naval fiction is your genre of literature, I cannot help but to think that an author of your abilities could add a unique and intriguing voice to these story arcs. Should I hold my breath?

I would be honored to work with any of these authors. James Cobb's novel "Choosers of the Slain" is one of my all-time favorites.

14 May 2004

Dear Mr. Brown,

First I would like to thank you for writing the Megafortress stories, I have read all of them and consider them to be whiz-bangs. Liked them all. They exercised my imagination and gave me many enjoyable hours.

Second, I just got a DVD player and want to stock some really high quality stories on CD's. I would like to get a copy of the movie, The Flight of the Old Dog but I am having trouble. My local video stores dont have it and, according to their records, there is no such movie. Since I have seen the movie, I know the storekeepers are simply not up to date. My question is: Was that movie a full scale Hollywood movie shown in theaters or was it made for television only? I cant remember where I saw it.

Another question: Is the movie available on video compact disc or on video tape?

Last question: Who can I contact in order to buy such a CD?

I will appreciate your answers. Thanks.

Unfortunately there was no movie version of "Flight of the Old Dog." The movie rights had been optioned but it never went into production.

There was a made-for-cable HBO movie back in 1995 entitled "By Dawn's Early Light" based on the novel "Trinity's Child" by William Prochnau, which dealt with a B-52 strike against the Soviet Union. From what I can recall, the bomber crew received one refueling near Alaska, flew low-level all the way through Siberia, gets shot up, then flies all the way to the South Pacific, after dropping a nuclear weapon just to destroy a bunch of MiGs chasing it. I don't think so.

On the positive side, Rebecca DeMornay played the B-52 aircraft commander in the movie. I'm good with that!

14 May 2004

Just finished The Tin Man & Battle Born i am a coach driver on a five day tour of the Isle of Wight UK i do a lot of reading and really enjoy your books keep up the good work thank you

16 May 2004

Mr. Brown,

I enjoyed reading Dreamland, and found the action to be plausible and entertaining. There is at least one shortfall however. You have done a great injustice to the highest enlisted grade within the Air Force, Chief Master Sergeant.

While you introduce two Chiefs, as Chief Master Sergeants, you go on from the introduction to refer to them as Sergeants. Chief Master Sergeants within the Air Force are never referred to as just Sergeant. They are either called "Chief Master Sergeant", or simply "Chief." I know this may sound trivial and a minor point, but if you're to build credibility into your stories, you need to get the basics right.

By the way, I'm a retired Chief Master Sergeant, and I was proud of earning the distinction to be called Chief while serving my country. To this day, when I meet someone I served with, my given name is never used, because my name is now Chief.

Please keep up the great writing. I look forward to reading more.

Chief: I apologize for this error. It is indeed a well-earned, respectful, and important distinction, and a very serious omission on my part.

17 May 2004

I am a female American with no military background and limited military exposure. I was introduced to your books by a friend. I find them extremely insightful for the lay person for gaining understanding and compassion and respect for our Military as well as being entertained. Please let me know if there ever becomes movies based on your novels. I have not been able to find any to date. I will not only buy them but know many who will also. Thank you.

17 May 2004

I have been amazed by the sheer thrill of reading your books. My heart pumps fast and I get cold sweats. And I hope you write more books. Age 15 May 17, 2004

Wow! I love books and always have, but at age 15 I only got those kinds of sweats thinking about Linda Evans, Raquel Welch, Karen, or Bonnie.

21 May 2004

Hi Dale,

I'm an avid reader of all of your books. I'm currently enjoying "Plan of Attack". I just wanted to point out that Berryville is in Virginia and not WVA. I live in Berryville, VA just west of Weather Mountain (High Point). Keep those books coming!

Oops! When I researched the facility I read that Mt. Weather is the site for the "Western Virginia Office of Controlled Conflict Operations" and put down "West Virginia" in the book. Its location is indeed Berryville, Virginia, not West Virginia.

23 May 2004

G'Day Dale,

Poor Bloody Infantry is the term, or would you say "GRUNTS"?

I have seem some superb programmes on the Technical side of War and with the "DREAMLAND" concept faliure doesnt meet what really happens.

Back in 1978 a friend and I were on a range on Salisbury Plain watching the Royal Artillery train with "SWINGFIRE" the then main Heavy Anti Tank missile of the UK Army when about 10% had a faliure of the control wire. Your stories do not seem to reflect this sort of faliure. Another friend while acting as an Engineering officer for the RAF listening in to a chase plane when the Fighters he was responsible for fired an Heat Seeking Air to Air missile only to hear it drop of the pylon and narrowly miss the Aeroplane!!

Will continue to read, have your latest on Nuclear weapons used inside the USA on Order.

I wonder why there are Soldiers in IRAQ dont you?

Many Thanks,

I do introduce a (admittedly small) failure rate in all the weapon systems I depict. But I think that weapon systems and the ways we use to test those weapons are getting much more reliable, so I don’t think I’m that far off.

I’ve spoken about my opinions about our involvement in Iraq in previous newsletters. To summarize: we should be fighting to maintain national security via a strong U.S. presence in the Middle East, but we should be doing it OUR way, which is with superior intelligence and precision aerial firepower, not with ground forces trying to prosecute a guerrilla war in which they are not well suited or prepared.

However, our efforts in Iraq are working, and that’s the bottom line in any military campaign. Yes, we’d like to see a war with no casualties; yes, every soldier wants a “low risk, high TDY war;” no, we have not found weapons of mass destruction. But Saddam is gone, the Iraqis have their own government, and they are on the road to establishing a representative government, thanks to the U.S. and its Coalition partners, and NO THANKS to our so-called “friends” France, Germany, Russia, and the United Nations.

24 May 2004

I have been an avid reader of all of your books. Flight of the Old Dog was terrific. I thought the characters were fully formed people with all the triumphs and failures that we all have.

I find nothing in Plan of Attack that remotely resembles a lot of your previous work. I am disappointed in this book. It has a horrific story line buried under the minutiae of every existing and fictional weapon system your very imaginative mind could create. It seems to be a compilation about weapons systems and the people are purely incidental.

I read probably 100 or more books per year of several genres. This is the first time I have skimmed page after page of boring description of weapon systems with little to nothing to advance the story. Other than everyone being totally pissed at McClanahan, there is not much to say for the story.

I wish I felt differently. I have about 100 pages to go...maybe I will eat my words yet.

I have received this critique many times, from “Publishers Weekly” and Amazon.com to folks on readermail@dalebrown.info. Setting up a story that deals with a nuclear attack on the United States was hard because it’s a concept that’s hard to grasp. Even after Nine-Eleven, we Americans still believe to a great extent that we are not vulnerable to attack because of geography and projected military power. I couldn’t simply launch an attack—I had to make the reasons behind the attack believable or at least plausible.

That said…

Stories about war start with the premise that a soldier will fight no matter how he feels about the enemy, his country, his family, or himself. There are always doubts and fears, but in the end, a soldier fights because that is what a soldier does. Two armies face each other; eventually they will fight. Sure, I could get into the fears and motivations of a handful of characters, but in the end I want to read about the FIGHT.

My particular style is very plot-driven versus character-driven, and for me the technology drives the plot of a story. The hope for victory in any conflict then centers on the technology. Sure, courage, determination, skill, and character all matter, but those are traits that I believe all soldiers possess.

One of the biggest uncertainties in a soldier’s life leading up to war is doubts about his leaders, and that’s where I like to start creating the conflict. Soldiers don’t like to fight but will fight if ordered to do so—but HOW they come to be ordered onto the battlefield (or, conversely, ordered NOT to fight) is to me a major theme in any story about war.

I’m not sure if I cleared anything up, but bottom line: I don’t apologize for writing tech-heavy stories, because that’s the kind of stories I like and I think it is the nature of modern warfare.

27 May 2004

Hi,

My dad has been a Dale Brown fan for years. He is reading The Da vinci Code by Dan Brown and thinks there is a (facial) resemblance between the two authors, as well as the two men sharing a fast-paced writing style. So, I am asking for him, are the two authors anyway related?

I am sure you have been asked this question more than you'd like, but an internet search hasn't come up with anything for me to put the question to rest.

Thank you for reading my email.

As far as I know we’re not related. I think we’re both from the Northeast U.S. (I’m from Buffalo, NY) but that’s as close as it comes. He is tall, slender, and handsome; I am short, round, and scary-looking.

27 May 2004

I am 18 years old and a private in the U. S. Army Reserves and I tremendously enjoy reading your books. I have read every one of them at least twice. I just picked up a copy of "Plan of Attack" on 5/25 and I finished it the next day because I couldn't put it down. I enjoy reading about your main character, Patrick McLanahan, and I couldn't help but wonder what's going to happen to him after this book. I greatly look forward to your next book featuring him. I only wish you could write books as fast as I can read them. Thank you for providing me with something interesting and exciting to read!

28 May 2004

First, that was the best read I have had in a long time. I plan to read more of your books.

However, the ending of Flight of the Old Dog wasn't the greatest. I loved it all up untill that part they made it back. Come on. That bomber had the shit beaten out of it every time it went up against something, and despite major damage, still made it home? No way, friend. The book made the impression to me, that all the way through the attack flight into Kazavny (or whatever), that the crew kept digging itself a deeper and deeper hole.

Sometimes, Mr. Brown, there is call for a happy ending. Flight of the Old Dog did not.

The objective of any “quest”-type story is to let the plot and characters dig themselves in deeper and deeper, until there is disaster and an “epiphany,” or some insight that the hero finally attains, that allows him to fight his way up and out.

Besides, I have seen plenty of B-52s take a tremendous beating—including my own--and bring their crew home alive. In the hands of a skilled, determined crew, a B-52 can take quite a pounding and survive. Check out http://www.stratofortress.org/4engout.htm and http://www.stratofortress.org/58-253.htm.

29 May 2004

Dale,

Just finished Plan of Attack. You really went back to your roots with this one. Goes to show that you are just a bomber jockey that happens to write books. Very nice. Looks like you might be banging up against the ceiling with Patrick the same way that Clancy finally did with Jack Ryan. I hope you can find some way to keep him a principle character for a while longer. I don?t have the imagination to see where you are going to go from here, but that is why I control airplanes and you make the big bucks writing books.

Sorry to hear about your legal problems. You are not the first one to be led down the primrose path. I know guys here that are trying play tax games. Honest people just aren’t smart enough to get by with trying to get around paying taxes. Two things you already know. If it sounds too good to be true it is. A test of character is not how you take a fall, but how you get back up. So far it looks like you have stood up pretty good.

31 May 2004

Hi Mr. Brown,

…I rarely write to an author, unless I am absolutely satisfied, or absolutely not satisfied. I'm sorry to say that your book fell in the latter category. The main reason is the amount of technical information in your book. I found myself, constantly skipping pages to get to the plot. Now, I know that your audience expects, no, probably demands, that you stay within your normal routine. However, I think it would be great if someone who obviously has enormous talent, such as yourself, would also write something for us "average Janes" out here. Those of us who do not care how a missile is put together, just as long as we know the stupid thing is suppose to go boom, fizzle out, hit something, or just sit there. By now my brother has figured out those authors that I just prefer not to read, but occasionally, he feels the needs to sneak one in on me just to see if my opinion stays the same. He snuck Tom Clancy in on me, and Stephen King. I did not like Tom Clancy's book for the same technical reason. He takes two pages to describe a damn gun that I know will kill someone.

… Do ever think about writing a book for us "average Janes" out there, maybe under another name? Do you already have such a book, and if so, what is it? I know there are other authors out there, who write under another name and do it successfully, and I'm sure there are those who are not successful. Wouldn't it be great if you discovered that you were great at both? If this is something you thought about already and have discarded it because you thought people would not be interested, I can certainly say, I will be interested, and I'm sure other average Janes would be as well. If you have not thought about it, then by all means, think about it. You could be the next Danielle Steele with an edge:)

31 May 2004

Dale,

Started your Air Battle Force book. Don't think I will finish it. Aside your obvious inferiority complex for only being a navigator (that came through loud and clear) I also immediately became very board with "lets march in goose step" PC plot of having females be superior warriors and leaders over men which makes me wonder why the 15% female population does not become the 85%. Your book does arose a question. Do you do the feminist thing because you believe in it, or because your publisher tells you that is how to sell books (or keep in good with the chatting crowd)? My view? You are missing a big opportunity to write books about real men in battle. Lets get real. The military is a man's world, always has been, always will be. The radical feminist will push for the big female body count so they can prove a point. But the only point they are making is that female bodies die from gun shot just like male bodies. Sending our mothers, wives, daughters (and yes grand daughters) to fight our wars is an abomination. What shame on our society. And as one who has been there I submit to you that the men will in the end be the ones to do most of the dieing and will win our wars in spite of the extra burdens of accomodating females (let's spend a few million getting rid of all the urinals on Navy ships) and negative morale (can't have the "Boys from Syracuse", much too sexist). Strange, I thought the military was about winning wars, not being another Girl Scout camp for radical feminist ideology.

Dale, gets some balls. Write books about real men in battle. You'll get a reputation, and I assure you lots of readers.

Sir, with all due respect: let’s rejoin the twenty-first century already in progress, shall we?

I can only speak of my experience in the U.S. Air Force in the late 1970’s to the mid-1980s, and in my visits to USAF bases in recent years, but my observations are that the women serving today are every bit as capable, professional, and dedicated as the men.

Not allowing a person to serve her country in the combat arms just because she doesn’t have a dick is nothing but medieval thinking.

I will admit that there are specialties that are unsuited to women because of physical limitations, but some men aren’t qualified for those jobs for the same reason. I do not advocate the use of different physical ability qualifications for men and women EXCEPT in basic training—I don’t think a woman should wash out of basic because she can’t do the same number of push-ups as a man. It’s OK to skew the standards a bit for women then, and let advanced training weed out the ones unsuited for an individual specialty.

But for certain specialties, the qualifications should be the same for all candidates, men or women. For example, the basic U.S. Navy SEAL physical qualification test standards are 42 push-ups, followed by a two-minute rest; 50 sit-ups, followed by a two-minute rest; 8 pull-ups, followed by a 10-minute rest; then a 1.5 mile run in less than 11 1/2 minutes. If any person, man or woman, can’t pass this test, then they shouldn’t be allowed to attend BUDS.

Every woman soldier I have ever known has been competent, professional, dedicated, and hard-working. They don’t ask for special treatment or favors and they don’t get any except if they ask for them and deserve to get them. I’m sure there are slackers, whiners, malcontents, and plain old nincompoops in the ranks, and they should be dismissed—whether they are a man or woman.

My wife was one of the first sworn female police officers in America and fought every day against discrimination, sexual harassment, and the “glass ceiling” that prevented women from getting the same opportunities as the “good ol’ boys.” She served on patrol, auto theft, detectives, mounted patrol, twice in narcotics, and as an instructor in the police academy. She could drive, shoot, run, fight, and investigate with the best of them; she never expected a pass on any aspect of being a cop because she was a woman.

She retired after 22 years and excelled in her chosen career field because she refused to play the role of victim, fought her own frustrations when denied an opportunity, never blamed a failure on anyone else, and had only one objective: be the best cop she could possibly be. Not the best FEMALE cop, but the best COP, period.

At her retirement, several of the “good ol’ boys” that used to torment her when she was a rookie came up to her and said that she was one of the few cops OF ANY GENDER that he would choose to go through a door or roll up to a crime scene with. That to me was the ultimate compliment.

Sir, again, with all due respect: get your head out of your ass.

1 June 2004

Dear Dale

About 6 years ago I was home from hospital after having my appendix removed & my wife bought me a book to read. It was Chains of Command. i was so enthralled by it that I could not put it down until I had finished it. I then went out and purchased all of the other Dale brown books that I hadn't read and started to read them starting with "Flight of The Old Dog". I sometimes stayed awake until 2.00am reading as I couldn't put the books down. I have read all of your books and cannot wait until your latest one reaches Australia. Over the years I have come to know all of the characters and feel as though I am there with them, although it was a sad day when you killed of Wendy! I have kept every book that I have bought and plan to pass them onto my son to read when he is old enough to appreciate them. Keep writing great stories Thank you once again

Thanks for all of your e-mails. Please keep them coming! I read them all and respond to as many as I can.

See you in July! GBA, Dale… http://www.DaleBrown.info

Click here for more on Plan Of Attack!

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Get Plan Of Attack At Amazon.Com!

Plan Of Attack (MAY 2004)

The unthinkable is about to happen in this high-flying novel of adventure and suspense.

In Air Battle Force, Dale Brown introduced U.S. Air Force aerial warfare expert Major General Patrick McLanahan and his air combat unit of the future. Armed with a force of these robotic planes, the general and a handful of commandos were secretly deployed to the oil-rich nation of Turkmenistan to stop a Taliban invasion. And though the Americans won the battle, the war is far from over....

To punish McLanahan and his fleet of robot warplanes for their audacity, Russian president General Anatoliy Gryzlov decides to do the unthinkable: a sneak attack on America-unlike anything ever believed possible-that devastates her strategic air forces.

McLanahan has collected information that not only foretold the Russians' daring plan, but also gave him the data he needs to plan a counterstrike that could stop the Russian war machine dead in its tracks. But Patrick is no longer in charge of Air Battle Force, and the Russian sneak attack has left the embattled U.S. president with few options: retaliate with every weapon in his arsenal, even if it triggers a global thermonuclear war, or to a cease fire on Russia's terms...

...or listen to a disgraced and discredited young bomber commander's long-shot plan of attack.

"The novels of Dale Brown brim with violent action, detailed descriptions of sophisticated weaponry and political intrigue... His ability to bring technical weaponry to life is amazing."
--San Francisco Chronicle

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