The Adventures of Duncan Hunter

The Adventures of Duncan Hunter

Thursday, November 10, 2016

241st Birthday Salute to United States Marine Corps

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Mark's latest article at American Thinker:

Barry Shariaseed and the Muslim Brotherhood Tree

In the 2000s, one of America's legends is the pioneer community organizer, Barack Obama, aka Barry Shariaseed.  Barry Shariaseed wanders the Christian communities of the world planting the seeds of Islam in an effort to introduce Muslims into the Christian world.  No one ever questioned his Muslim faith as he extended the sharia wherever he traveled.  Over the years, his frequent visits to government agencies were looked forward to, and no United Nations door was ever closed to him.  To the men of the Muslim Brotherhood he was "The One" they've been waiting for.  He was also very religious and mandated the sharia to people along the way.  His favorite sound was the Call to Prayer.  (Apologies to the story of Johnny Appleseed.)

A recent WikiLeaks release of a "Podesta email" reminded me of a document submitted into evidence during America's largest terrorist prosecution in U.S. federal court, U.S. v. Holy Land Foundation, et alThe Center for Security Policy posted "the Muslim Brotherhood's Strategic Plan in America."  This document is known in counterterrorism circles as "An Explanatory Memorandum: On the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America."  The Center for Security Policy also published the 2010 "Sharia: The Threat to America: An Exercise in Competitive Analysis."  Some of the authors of the analysis are well known inside and outside the intelligence community, such as Lt. Gen. William "Jerry" Boykin.

The innocuous-sounding Explanatory Memorandum explained how the Muslim Brotherhood sought to extend sharia into the United States and Canada.  The document outlined "the mission of the Muslim Brother in North America" through a five-phase plan.  Specifically, "[t]he process of settlement is a 'Civilization-Jihadist Process'.  The Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and 'sabotaging' its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious over all other religions."  Ikhwan refers to the local or stealthy jihadis of North America and not the Wahhabi religious militia made up of nomadic tribesmen in Saudi Arabia.

Under sharia, civilization jihad – a "pre-violent" form of jihad – is considered an integral, even dominant element of jihad that is at least as obligatory for sharia's adherents as the violent kind.  Such tactics are ostensibly "nonviolent" – not because the Muslim Brotherhood eschews violence, but because the Explanatory Memorandum has decided that this strategic phase of battlefield preparation is better accomplished through stealthy means.  Hence, civilization jihad can be considered "stealth jihad."
The Ikhwan's strategy for destroying the United States is to get us, specifically our leadership, to do the bidding of the MB for them.  The Muslim Brotherhood intends to conduct Civilization Jihad by co-opting our leadership into believing a counterfactual understanding of Islam and the nature of the Muslim Brotherhood (emphasis mine), thereby coercing these leaders to enforce the MB narrative on their subordinates.
Another document referenced from the U.S. v. Holy Land Foundation trial was an undated paper entitled "Phases of the World Underground Movement Plan."  It specified the five phases of the Muslim Brotherhood Movement in North America.  They are described, together with comments about the Ikhwan's progress in realizing each goal.
Phase One: Phase of discreet and secret establishment of leadership.
Phase Two: Phase of gradual appearance on the public scene and exercising and utilizing various public activities.  Establishing a shadow government (secret) within the Government.
The memory-triggering Podesta email came from former New York solicitor general Preeta D. Bansal, sent to a classmate of then-candidate Obama and a member of the Obama campaign's transition team.  What caught my eye was this (emphasis mine): "In the candidates for top jobs, I excluded those with some Arab American background but who are not Muslim (e.g., George Mitchell).  Many Lebanese Americans, for example, are Christian. In the last list (of outside boards/commissions), most who are listed appear to be Muslim American, except that a handful (where noted) may be Arab American but of uncertain religion (esp. Christian)."  A generous review of the email assessed that the 2007 Obama transition team clearly had planned to hire Muslims over Christians for the top jobs and gave early preferential treatment to Muslims over everyone else.

While the Podesta email may look like "not much" at face value, the emphasis on adherence to the Phases of the World Underground Movement Plan is significant, given other troubling aspects of the Obama administration.  A disturbing pattern of implementing Phase One and Two activities emerged after the election of President Obama.
President Obama told NASA administrator Charles Bolden that his highest priority should be "to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science ... and math and engineering."  NASA went on a Muslim hiring spree, as did other government agencies.

With the election of President Obama in November 2008 and his Muslim Outreach initiative, exemplified by his Cairo "A New Beginnings" speech at Al Azhar University, the Obama administration extended a formal welcome to the Muslim Brotherhood.  Investor's Business Daily noted a lengthy chronology of events in support of the Muslim Brotherhood, punctuated by the overthrow of the Mubarak regime in Egypt during the Arab Spring of 2011 that swept the Muslim Brotherhood into power.  In 2009, the White House invited the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) president to President Obama's inauguration ceremonies, even though the Justice Department just two years earlier had blacklisted the Brotherhood affiliate as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land trial.  Obama delivered his Cairo speech, infuriating the Mubarak regime by inviting Muslim Brotherhood leaders to attend.  In 2011, the Brotherhood vowed to tear up Egypt's 30-year peace treaty with Israel.  Since Mubarak's fall, the M.B. worked to re-establish Cairo's ties with Hamas and Hezb'allah.

Sensitive and top-level government positions have been filled by Muslims with questionable loyalties to the United States.  One of the FBI's former top experts on Islam announced that President Obama's pick to head the Central Intelligence Agency, John Brennan, converted to Islam years ago.  Hillary Clinton's top campaign aide, Huma Abedin, edited a radical Muslim publication that blamed the U.S. for 9/11.  Syed Abedin, the father of Huma, outlined his M.B. view of sharia law and how the Western world has turned Muslims "hostile."

Closely associated with sharia doctrine on lying is the concept of taqiyya, which is generally described as lying for the sake of Islam.  Taqiyya permits and encourages precautionary dissimulation as a means for hiding true faith in times of persecution or deception when penetrating the enemy camp.

The enemy camp is the United States of America, and we are the targets of a stealthy jihad.  The Muslim Brotherhood's Strategic Plan is being implemented.  Led by Barry Shariaseed, who has planted the seeds of sharia wherever he goes, the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated the U.S. at the highest levels of government.  Infiltration will be total with the election of Hillary Clinton and her Muslim Brotherhood proxy, Huma Abedin.

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Monday, October 24, 2016

Thursday, October 13, 2016

A little more Feedback....

Some other feedback I've received (from multiple sources) centered around a lack of explicit sex scenes.  Sex between Duncan and Nazy.  There's "enough" nudity and off-screen sex, and whatever is there, is there for a reason.  I don't see the need to go "there."  There's too many other things happening to wander off on some X-rated chapter.  Though I had such a scene in Special Access but it was erased during editing.  Before Duncan met Nazy, he played in a racquetball tournament, wandered over to the local chiropractor for a massage, and the masseuse "took advantage of Duncan" while he was sleeping on his belly on the table.  She really did like his ass.  Apparently.
During an earlier post I said I'm trying to be as "real world" as possible, and that  there is "a little something extra" for those "in the know."  I find it useful to add a little aviation history or intelligence community history or special operations history, give them a twist, to start or add to the narrative.  Many of the scenes are accurate.  Some of the players are real.  In No Need to Know, readers are introduced to Pete Ortiz, Marine Captain, working for the Office of Strategic Services, the precursor to the CIA.  He was a real guy.  The scene where he forces a handful of Nazis to drink toasts is supposed to be "very historically accurate."  I added the briefcase and its contents.  The point I wanted to convey is that Greg Lynche, the DCI, told Duncan he didn't know Pete Ortiz.  But the wily Lynche knew Ortiz was the most highly decorated member of the OSS.  His decorations included two Navy Crosses, the Legion of Merit, the Order of the British Empire, and five Croix de Guerre. He also was made a Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur by the French.

When Colonel Peter Ortiz was laid to rest, a large French delegation honored him (I recall a hundred Frenchmen from the war and other French politicians) as he was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.  It was noteworthy that the delegation was the largest of its kind for a "non-presidential" level death.  He was a Marine and like my Bill McGee character, was a real man, a manly man, not a pajama boy or a girlie man.  He was one of the last of his kind.  A swashbuckler and a patriot.  And in the book, Duncan Hunter as an F-4 pilot flew with his son.  Another real patriot, a chip off the old block.

Maverick out!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

A little Feedback

I've received several quick "book reviews" via Amazon following the release of No Need to Know.  You have to love, "Need to Know" is a "Yes Need to Read!" as well as "A page turner from start to finish."  Please know "thank you" for the five star ratings and kind words.

After reading Special Access, one of my friends (who is also a very successful businessman who runs a top aviation company) commented that the book and the use of quiet airplanes was "a business case."  I suppose that was the MBA in me coming out.  But the observation is probably valid, too.  Maybe I wasn't as subtle as I tried to be.  I'm trying to convey that my books are "real world" as possible and not just a story with characters and plots and such.  But there is "a little something extra" for those "in the know." 

Those in "the business" know of the CIA's history when it comes to manned airplanes.  Gary Powers gets shot down over the USSR and the intelligence gathering paradigm shifted overnight.  Manned aircraft over hostile territory was instantly deemed "not acceptable."   Thus the Powers incident provided a major spark for the CIA to develop unmanned surveillance aircraft when satellites weren't a very good solution either.  Only makes sense.  This is not a secret.

In the beginning, the Hunter & Lynche team "provide a stopgap" for the intelligence community until such time they are able to develop a more robust unmanned capability.  So long as they are working on that solution, the YO-3A and Hunter have work to do.  And because of the success of the YO-3A manned flights, the new President in my book has some other ideas on finding and eliminating terrorists before they can turn into the next bin Laden.

And I get a little feedback on my blog.  This one was in response to the UAV topic:  "I loved your post on what UAVs are and what they aren’t. Too true. I laughed out loud.  It’s hard to explain the nuances to a neophyte in 140 characters."  Again, the causal reader may not get the nuances on what UAVs are and what they aren’t but the big brain guys that fly (or flew) high performance aircraft or even fly unmanned systems as a remote pilot know of the (obvious) limitations of the aircraft.  This is not a secret either.  Some aircraft are perfectly suited for specific mission; other aircraft are often "shoehorned" into trying to make a program work.  Such is the problem with the Customs and Border Protection Guardian unmanned aircraft, purchased to patrol the border.  They are so effective they increased the cost of "air assistance" when detecting and apprehending an illegal alien from a couple of Hamiltons per illegal alien to a few 1934 Salmon P. Chases, per illegal alien. 

Yes, that is a sarcasm. 
Maverick out!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The New President of the United States

President Javier Hernandez is the President in the Duncan Hunter books.  He rose through the Congressional ranks to become Speaker of the House.  If his election as Speaker took Washington DC by surprise, no one was more surprised when he woke up one morning to find out he would be sworn in as President.  He had been just a good old Spanish-speaking Texas boy in black alligator boots.  He won a congressional seat as a Republican.  The district had been safely in democratic hands for two generations.  He attended Yale Law School and joined the Young Republicans, giving liberals fits for being a Republican Hispanic.  A mark that he was an exceptional attorney with an exceptional mind, he clerked for a Supreme Court Justice and tried hundreds of cases as a city prosecutor in San Antonio. 

But his real passion was politics, conservative politics.  Before he ran for office, he was featured frequently on the local television station as a photogenic "legal" news personality.  Hernandez turned heads and became an overnight sensation as a no-nonsense guy who was pro-gun, pro-military, and was hard on criminals.  As a congressman for the 23rd District, he reversed decades of democratic malfeasance and political sabotage, and fought for more manpower, facilities and equipment for the U.S. Border Patrol and U.S. Customs to do their job. 

Several re-elections later Hernandez became the first Latin-American Speaker of the House; less than a year later he was President of the United States of America.  He was POTUS with an agenda—-he would protect Americans wherever they were.  And he would send out the nation's best warriors to kill or neutralize terrorists before they could turn into the next Osama bin Laden. 

For President Hernandez, killing master terrorists was personal.  He lost his baby sister when someone shot down a TWA 747 off the coast of Long Island.  The democratic administration covered up the surface-to-air missile attack on the commercial jet and thus, provided the spark--more of a red star cluster--for him to go into politics.  On Inauguration Day, as President, he vowed he would make amends and take the fight to the terrorists wherever they lurked and hid.  He just had to assemble the right team.  He had an idea who could do the work, beginning with one of his constituents, Duncan Hunter. 

With Duncan Hunter, Nazy Cunningham, Greg Lynche, Bill McGee, and Hunter's YO-3A, President Javier Hernandez now had his team. 

Maverick out!

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Former President of the United States

An hour before midnight, on June 30, 2011, the former President boarded Air Force One for Hawaii.  He resigned his office in advance of getting impeached for fraud--he claimed he was one person however a thick CIA file proved he was someone else.  A constitutional crisis erupted in America as hundreds of classified and confidential documents spanning the five decades of the President’s life were released to several law-enforcement agencies, a hundred members of Congress, and 100 newspapers and TV stations across the country.  Duncan Hunter released the file, a la Eric Snowden.  These documents outlined the President’s Muslim roots and also provided a comprehensive list of bogus or counterfeit documents which had been used to establish his American identity.  Not surprisingly, based on the former President's actions when he was in office, the intelligence services of Great Britain and Israel validated the documents in the released file as authentic.  That is the "world," the backdrop for the Duncan Hunter books.

Unlike Snowden, no one ever claimed responsibility for the release of the President’s CIA file.  Senior liberal Democrats have been in an uproar over the release of the documents, seemingly indifferent to the fact that the head of their party was not only, in the technical sense, an illegal alien, a communist, and a Muslim, but one who consorted with the world’s worst terrorists while holding a British passport.  The DNC Chairwoman accused the FBI of dragging their feet investigating the identity of the person who released the file.  Again, that is the "world," the backdrop for the Duncan Hunter books.

The message, the lesson learned was the CIA file's documents painted a picture of a coordinated effort that senior media executives were likely responsible for not subjecting the candidate to the normal vetting process expected of a Presidential candidate.  The Presidential candidate took full advantage of a complicit press who only reported favorably for the Democratic candidate while the Republican candidate suffered under a withering and aggressive media assault.  Of course, a critical review of the released file revealed extensive and unprecedented collaboration between remnants of the former Soviet Union, Islamists groups operating in the Middle East, and several senior Democratic Party members. 

He's quite a character.  And when he's gone, some actual counterterrorism missions can be conducted.  The key piece of the Duncan Hunter books is that the former president wasn't interested in pursuing terrorists.  By contrast, the new president is very aggressive.

Maverick out!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

A Word about Unmanned Aerial Systems....

Those in the business know there are inherent problems with unmanned systems.  (Amazon will find out the hard way too.)  When we hear about them used in combat, the media will usually report a missile took out a terrorist and that it was launched from a drone, an unmanned system.  It is the proverbial problem that when you are a hammer, everything is a nail.  In the world of unmanned systems, when you're a sledgehammer, everything is a huge railroad spike.  There is no "in between."  The media usually glosses over reports about civilian casualties when a missile is launched against a target.  Duncan Hunter is no fan of unmanned systems, not because they would put him out of the terrorist killing business, but because when they're used indiscriminately innocents, women and children, get killed. 

The YO-3A is everything the unmanned system is not.  Better and more accurate pictures than the best high altitude optics.  Think about being able to look at someone in the face rather than the top of their head.  It provides more accurate intelligence.  Why the YO-3A sensors can look right under the overhang, right in the window of Osama bin Laden's house when those wonderful satellites and high flying unmanned systems can only tell you what laundry is on the roof.  That's the key piece of the book--when hunting the world's worst terrorists, you have to bring out the old stuff.  Sometimes, the old stuff is much better than the new stuff. 

The YO-3A is finesse--it can slip in and slip out of a town or a country undetected.  And it is specific.  When you just cannot blow up everyone you think might be a terrorist worthy of blowing up, you bring out the Yo-Yo to go in and have a "look-see."  The YO-3A has the tools to take out a single problem, a single terrorist, with a single bullet.  Who wouldn't want that capability?  The better question is, why would the CIA director expose that unique capability?  Especially when the President also has an agenda. 

James Bond has little toys to escape and fight bad guys.  Duncan Hunter has his manly toys to find and kill terrorists. 

Maverick out!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

The amazing YO-3A

Duncan Hunter uses a "quiet aircraft" to perform the CIA's most difficult counter-narcotics and counter-terrorism missions.  I introduced the remarkable YO-3A in Special Access and it anchors the other Duncan Hunter books.  In fact, the YO-3A (affectionately called the Yo-Yo) is what separates the Hunter books from other novels.  Duncan Hunter is a contract pilot for the CIA.  The Yo-Yo gets into places where other aircraft cannot.  But there is more to it than that.  A little history is necessary.  Quiet airplanes came from a program that developed the "Quiet Thrusters."  Declassified program.

The real YO-3As were built by the Lockheed Aircraft Company in 1969 for Vietnam.  Many of those in uniform know of the U.S. Air Force's U-2s and SR-71s spy planes.  The idea for those aircraft came out of an office at the CIA in the 1950s and 60s.  They were developed at a time when manned flight over hostile territory was standard operating procedure--until Gary Powers was shot down and CIA directors vowed to "never again" put a man in an airplane to fly over the USSR or China.  Basically, the CIA's spy plane program was killed off and those assets and missions were transferred to the Air Force, they became the beneficiary of the spy plane technology that Lockheed built. 
Check out the Quiet Aircraft Association website:

Maverick out!

Friday, October 7, 2016

More YO-3A stuff

Few people are aware of the 11 YO-3As built for the U.S. Army.  They were built to conduct low-level night-time surveillance during the Vietnam War.  It's the spy plane no one knows about.  It was derived from a "Quiet thruster" test mule.

A friend of mine reminded me there is a YO-3A suspended over the Pima Air Museum's SR-71.  (Where else would it be?)  Low observation colors.  Hunter's YO-3A is black.

In my books, the quiet airplane enables Hunter and Lynche to get into places and do those counter-narcotics and counter-terrorism things that just cannot be done from a satellite or a high flying jet.

Unlike the actual YO-3A, the Yo-Yo in my books is a highly modified aircraft; it was modified with detachable wings so it can ride inside a shipping container and carried in the back of a C-130 or C-17 cargo aircraft.  Like a competition glider whose wings are detachable and can be easily reattached for flight, Hunter's YO-3A is really a different aircraft.  It also has longer wings.  The old night vision periscope (a relic first-generation night vision system from 'Nam) is gone from the front seat; the sensor operator has his hands full in the back seat with FLIR, Weedbusters, and a gun.  He gets to do all the fun stuff when Hunter is "just the pilot."

The piece that doesn't get emphasized enough is at the CIA there is has been a moratorium on flying manned flights over hostile territories.  This is not something I made up.  Gary Powers changed the way manned flight would be looked at in the future.  So no manned flight, therefore, these missions are supposedly the purview of unmanned systems; the "drones" that the press so woefully and inaccurately labels.

Maverick out!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Demetrius Eastwood is an Interesting Character

There are several minor characters in the Duncan Hunter books.  Demetrius Eastwood is loosely based on an Oliver North-like character.  They had similar trials and travails, in the Marine Corps and after their time in uniform.  The difference is largely Eastwood is given much more latitude to investigate and report on the things he finds.  I wanted a character that wasn't afraid to tackle some of the more politically-sensitive things that is "out there" adversely affecting Americans.  The Duncan Hunter books are heavily steeped in counterterrorism, but less counterinsurgency, but more counternarcotics.  Eastwood is naturally inquisitive, and he has every right to be. 

Terrorists have continually targeted him and his family.  He's been the subject to a fatwa; a Islamic death sentence and bounty for his life. Like Salman Rushdie, Eastwood pokes radical Islamic terrorist-types with an in-you-face special, such as, "Is your neighborhood mosque a sleeper cell?"  He doesn't have the top secret clearances any longer so he cannot get the FBI to answer his questions why they have stopped investigating the going-ons in mosques around the country.  This is reference to some poorly reported failures of the FBI where they have been taken to court and can no longer have spies inside mosques.  For Eastwood, that's a problem.  He knows there's something going on there but is forced to report on other terrorist groups across the globe.

And then there is the obvious conflict of the CIA pilot, Duncan Hunter, having a relationship with a reporter.  CIA types are allergic to reporters.  Hunter finds Eastwood useful, even helpful at times.  And since Eastwood was instrumental in the rescue of Nazy Cunningham, Hunter is forever in his debt.  Sometimes they're able to share a story or two. 

Maverick out!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Development of Greg Lynche

There's another aspect to the Lynche character.  He knows who he is but has always desired to be like of those special operations guys, someone that can shoot a squirrel's eyes out at 100 yards with a .22, someone who can jump out of an airplane and land on a paper plate in the middle of a football field.  And he always wanted to be like one of the amazing men in their supersonic flying machines, flying a jet and pulling Gs and making your vision shrink to the size of a golf ball just before you pass out.   Lynche always had a desire to be the man Hunter is.  As well as the Director of Central Intelligence.  Hunter has no desire to be the man Lynche is. 

No longer encumbered with a guy in his back seat, Hunter is free to do more kinetic or challenging missions that would have scared the Johnston Murphy's off Lynche's feet.  He continues to make the impossible happen with the quiet airplane.  Lynche misses his friend
 and would like to get back into the airplane but his political leanings prevent him from doing so. 
Hunter still has a need for his best friend.  He just needs the right opportunity to plant the seed.  Where Lynche tried to recruit Hunter for the CIA, Hunter embarks on a little role reversal.  And of the prizes he's always coveted.  When he becomes the Director of Central Intelligence, he thinks he can better control Hunter as Duncan is working directly for him.  Expect more from the liberal Lynche as Hunter's boss.\

Maverick out!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

What is Greg Lynche's Real Function?

Duncan Hunter books have a political bend to them.  Hunter is a conservative; Lynche is a liberal.  Instant conflict.  Between friends.  The mild, urbane, and polished Lynche is the aggressive, not-so-polished, type-A Hunter's political counterweight.  Hunter grew up in a household where his parents didn't have a high school diploma between them.  Lynche is Ivy League.  A wine drinker.  Comfortable in executive or foreign relations settings.  Hunter plays racquetball competitively.  Lynche sails; from a yacht club.  He gets sweaty from being in the sun on his sailboat, playing with the wind to fill a spinnaker, then tacking into the wind to race ahead of the competition.  Hunter serves little blue balls with a crushing swing of a racquet and dives for 100 mph racquetballs, smashes them back to the front wall.  One is refined, one is rough.  Lynche needs someone that is not only rough but knows how to handle a mercurial little well as other situations.  One needs the other.

In Special Access, Lynche is faced with a situation that, as a liberal, he never could have conceived being a part of: interrogating a master terrorist.  Convinced any form of "torture" doesn't work and years of listening to the liberals in the Agency that those activities will never yield good intelligence, Lynche cannot be any part of it but Hunter doesn't flinch and takes up the challenge.  And on a spectrum of torture, Hunter starts off slow and then threatens the terrorist with the ultimate horror.  If he doesn't cooperate and talk, Hunter threatens to hook up a car battery to the man's testicles.  The refined liberal Lynche has never seen a man tortured and die; Hunter nearly makes Lynche faint when he grazes the battery cables together to make sparks and molten metal fly, a demonstration that the battery is the man's worst nightmare.  After all, his partner had been hooked up to a battery and barely lived.  The cowardly terrorist talks and Hunter disposes of the man in a gruesome manner, but out of sight, out of mind.  Lynche realizes the escalation of violence necessary to accomplish the new missions is something he is not cut out for.  This is not his type of work; it's getting too crazy.  He blames himself for creating a monster.  But he realizes that he has also created a hero, someone that is not afraid to tackle the ugly politically-sensitive, politically incorrect work.  The work is necessary and they are on a timeline.  Hunter figured it out.

Hunter has little use for liberals, with the sole exception of Lynche.  Lynche tries to keep him grounded and not go off and do something crazy and stupid.  In No Need to Know, Lynche's relationship is strained to the breaking point when "Maverick" apparently "wanders off the reservation."

Maverick out! 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Greg Lynche is an Interesting Character

Unlike the other characters in the Duncan Hunter books, the Greg Lynche character came from a single source, a single person.  The only real alteration to his character is the Greg Lynche character is a liberal.  At best, he might be fiscally conservative and socially liberal.  The real guy isn't really like that.  Mostly.  He is an amazing man who I consider one of my very best friends.  In real life, we go back to my days in the Border Patrol.  The scene where Hunter and Lynche meet in Special Access is a reasonable representation of what happened that day in Del Rio, Texas.  Hunter's introduction to the world of quiet airplanes.  In Greg Lynche's world, or former his life before he retired, he ran a number of airplanes in counterdrug and counterterrorism roles.  The Lynche character spent 30+ years in the CIA.  He had some of the most interesting jobs in the agency.  He was Chief of Station--at multiple locations.  He was a troubleshooter.  A fixer.  When an embassy was having a problem with their spooks, the Director of Central Intelligence would ask him to go and settle them down, fix the problem.  Get back to the business of intelligence.  He was a senior intelligence service member--probably a three star general equivalent.  In other words, he held some of the highest positions in the Agency and then he was retired, like Hunter.  Working for someone else.  In a lesser exciting job.  Away from the most exciting things that had ever happened to him, he missed the fun and excitement of being "in the game." 

Lynche and a retired special operations buddy from the Army had an idea.  They knew there was a huge capability gap at the Agency.  The CIA, the US Air Force and Army tried valiantly to bridge "the gap" but failed.  The technology just "wasn't mature enough," a necessary capability that just "wasn't there, yet."  One unsurmountable problem was that CIA Directors vowed to "never again" put a man in an airplane over hostile territory.  The DCIs' prohibition stemmed from the 1960 shoot down of Gary Powers flying solo in an Agency U-2 over the Soviet Union.  The race to develop unmanned systems began.  Drones.  However, unmanned aerial systems were not mature enough for a large part of intelligence gathering work.  And the sad part, it would be years before it ever got there.  So the Agency had these tremendous needs but didn't have the equipment or expertise with which to do them.  The retired Greg Lynche proposed to the DCI a temporary manned system, using an unusually capable manned airplane.  He would assume all the risk and the Agency would have their plausible deniability if anything ever happened to "a contractor."  Faced with countless important missions going unfilled, the Director of Central Intelligence agreed and awarded Lynche a very lucrative contract.  All Lynche had to do next was find the right pilot.  He had someone in mind.  Someone he wanted to recruit into the Agency from the moment his name popped up on a list, but that gentleman resisted without even knowing he was resisting.  When Duncan Hunter of the Border Patrol called the CEO of the manufacturer of quiet airplanes, that CEO forwarded the call to his business development vice president, Greg Lynche. 

You can only imagine how Lynche responded when he realized the man he had so vigorously pursued while he was on active duty in the CIA had just called him.  Lynche brought a quiet airplane to the quiet little town of Del Rio, Texas to not only demonstrate the capability of the quiet aircraft in a nighttime environment but to meet the quiet man who called him, Duncan Hunter.  Would he be able to recruit him this time?

Maverick out!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

The Development of Bill McGee

Hunter has been primarily engaged in counternarcotics work.  Flying his quiet airplane, killing plants, finding narcoterrorists, rescuing a few dozen hostages held by the FARC and Shining Path terrorist groups.  McGee's the muscle.  He's the special operations brains.  McGee is instructor and mentor to Hunter, who is really, just a pilot with an amazing airplane.  There's a reason Bill McGee was awarded a dozen Purple Hearts for combat wounds.  He was able to engage the enemy and survive the encounter.  McGee initially thought his goal was to turn Hunter into a killer like him.  A killer of America's enemies.  Maybe not from the air but on the ground.  What he finds, however, is that McGee is becoming much more.  The only thing missing is the 1812 Overture playing loudly in the background as McGee is the white knight, the rescuer of the fallen or of the injured or the damsel in distress.  Or the occasional special project assigned by Greg Lynche, the Director of Central Intelligence.  Sometimes Duncan Hunter lives up to his call sign--Maverick.  Sometimes, the DCI needs McGee to rein in the Maverick when he gets too far over his skis.  And sometimes, McGee is the only option.  McGee gets a workout in No Need to Know.

Then there is the racial component.  Duncan Hunter is a product of a military upbringing and grew up with kids from different backgrounds and races.  He is truly clueless when it comes to race and looks up to McGee in awe, as a friend, a mentor, and a brother.  Hunter may be a pilot but McGee is a SEAL.  There is a pecking order in the military.  Hunter may have flown jets off carriers but McGee goes toe-to-toe with killers.  Hunter knows his place.

McGee is well aware of the racism in the special operations community, the racism his father faced as a pilot in WWII, and the racism he faced when he was growing up.  His and Hunter's relationship is not like that of the I Spy crew, Bill Cosby and Robert Culp, where spies were thrown together to accomplish a mission.  Reverence and respect goes both ways with McGee and Hunter.  McGee always wanted to be a pilot--like his father, a master of Mustangs.  McGee and Hunter are also Mustangs--prior enlisted guys that rose to the ranks.  Not many enlisted guys ever get the opportunity to do the stuff McGee and Hunter did.

When McGee needed help, Hunter didn't think of race and ran to render unqualified help.  When Hunter needed help, McGee didn't think of race just the situation at hand.  That was never more the case than when McGee worked furiously to repair the injuries sustained to a very naked Nazy Cunningham after Muslim men tried to dissect her.  This is a guy where love, compassion, and trust are paramount to life without qualifiers.  That's the reason why liberals hate him too.  He "should be" one way but isn't.  He's well past that intersection on the road of life.  he doesn't suffer fools lightly, especially the race hustlers.  MLK would honor and respect McGee.

Maverick out!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

What is Bill McGee's Real Function?

One of the underlying themes of the Duncan Hunter books is that there are certain CIA files that are so explosive that they cannot be divulged nor can they be accessed without presidential approval.  In Special Access, the documents contained within the CIA file on the president proves he is not who he claims to be.  In Shoot Down, there was an ongoing CIA file to pay terrorists a yearly ransom to prevent commercial aircraft from being shot out of the sky by shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles.  In No Need to Know, an ancient pre-CIA file lists artwork hidden by the Nazis.  Another file attempts to track missing suitcase nuclear devices after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Executing these operations cannot be done by a single person.  Duncan Hunter largely provides the "aviation solution" while Bill McGee is the "ground solution."  They work together as a team.  Not everything can be done from the air while not everything can be accomplished from the ground.  There is synergy in this construct.  Once McGee is brought onto the team, the counterterrorism missions assume a new scope; they become more kinetic, more lethal.  As the new missions become more lethal, from the air and on the ground, Duncan Hunter's flying "liberal" partner can no longer be a part of them and walks away from the program.  The YO-3A gains new more lethal capabilities and Hunter becomes an airborne assassin for the CIA.  Hunter discovers he cannot perform the missions by himself and needs help.  For help, he turns to his friend from the war college, for there is no finer ground warrior than the former super SEAL Bill McGee.

Bill McGee also does things and gets into places no one else possibly could.  He's a "break down the door" kind a guy.  He's trying to balance his love for his wife and girls with the work he has done for all of his adult life.  It's something special operations warriors sometimes just cannot walk away from.  The thrill and excitement.  But also, when you are the only one that can do a particular job, you are loyal to your country and you do it.  A real man smiles in the face of trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection.  These are traits and characteristics of a loyal and professional soldier.  Those that lean left politically cannot understand that. 

Maverick out!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Bill McGee is an Interesting Character

Captain William McGee, U.S. Navy SEAL, retired is a major composite character.  I met a few Navy SEALs at the Naval War College but none were more impressive than our class president, his actual name will not be revealed here.  I had the honor and privilege of sitting next to this real war hero during assemblies and a few social events.  I also had the good fortune to share with him my very limited contact with SEALs.  Mostly, I had attended flight school with a former SEAL, someone he knew.  As he said, one of "his good guys."  He left an impression on me.  There were things about him that I could only assume would have made great copy, even a book.  We talked shop and careers and avoided operational stuff.  We didn't talk politics.  We played a little racquetball--well, one of us did.  I swear the man could do everything well, except play racquetball.  His Schwarzenegger physique, culled from hours in the weight room, telegraphed his athletic prowess, his ability to survive in the most difficult of conditions, as well as his lethality.  People would think he was Schwarzenegger's Predator character without the make up and the crazy helmet.  Nightmarish bad.

Readers of Special Access are introduced to my very special SEAL.  As Duncan Hunter learned, Captain Bill McGee was the most decorated special operations warrior in special operations history.  He was Special Operations Command 9-1-1 response.  When America needed bad guys eliminated or neutralized, they'd call McGee. Finding and killing the enemies of America was his specialty.  McGee has tremendous interest in airplanes as he was the son of one of the original WWII Tuskegee Airmen.  McGee was disqualified from becoming a pilot because of poor color and distance vision, so he became a SEAL.  

I gave him tiny round eyeglass lenses like Alan west to give him the air of being incredibly smart as if he were a scholar.  There was nothing he couldn't do, except one thing.  When America needed him most, after 9/11, he couldn't find the master terrorist Osama bin Laden in the mountains of Tora Bora, Afghanistan.  When the CIA personally blamed him for failing to find Osama bin Laden, McGee was relieved of command and removed from Special Operations Command.  No one really knew why the legendary Navy SEAL was sent packing to the Naval War College.  The master of his profession, his 35-year career wasn't supposed to end as a student.  With his professional life in tatters, McGee invites Hunter to sit with him in the auditorium.  In a business where he had few friends, he lowered his defenses and he and Hunter become fast friends.  McGee didn't know it then, but he couldn't have found a truer friend.  And friends always come running when there is trouble.

Maverick out!
The Development of Nazy Cunningham

The Prophet Mohammad took four girls as concubines.  He took a nine-year old as a bride.  Radical Islamist groups destroy towns and villages in order to capture women and sell them or make them sex slaves.  It begs the question, does Islam have a problem with women?  To a great degree, yes; in almost every Muslim country in the Middle east women have little to no power and the vast majority have lost their freedom.  One could argue Muslim women once had amazing freedom; they attended the best universities in Cairo, Tehran, Damascus, and Islamabad and received degrees in engineering and medicine.  When they graduated college in the 40s, 50s, 60, and even the 70s, school graduation photographs clearly show the men wore business suits and women wore dresses and heels in the Western style.  Today, the Islamic world has been de-Westernized.  Today, under threat of pain or death, women are forced to hide their hair, their arms and legs.

Some are unable to drive cars.  They are subject to arranged marriages.  They have very few rights, if any.  This is the essence of terrorism--which is defined as violence or intimidation to achieve a political goal.  Muslim women must submit or pay the price.  They would fight back if they could.  Who could possibly support fanatical Muslims inflamed for sharia, car bombs, and female genital mutilation?

When you are engaged in the business of counterterrorism, your direct goal is to destroy radical Islamists and by extension, you are indirectly fighting for the freedoms Muslim women have lost or never had.  The Nazy Cunningham character represents what happens when a Muslim woman is faced with the dilemma, either continue to submit and live a life under actual or the threat of violence or intimidation--by those fanatical Muslims hot for sharia and female genital mutilation--or run away or escape from the religion that facilitates such conditions to exist and its influences, and embrace freedom.  In Special Access, after Nazy (as Marwa) is beaten by her husband she makes the decision to escape from her life.  Before she races to the airport, she begins fighting back in one final act of defiance.

In the Duncan Hunter books, the amazing Nazy Cunningham continues to explore freedom and the potential of a full life.  As a CIA analyst, she is fully committed to fight the fanatical Muslims, the very group that seeks to subjugate, punish and destroy her as well as the country that has allowed her the freedom to blossom as a free woman.  She is in the fight to demolish the evil that resides in the radical strain of Islam.
Maverick out!

Monday, September 26, 2016

What is Nazy Cunningham's Real Function?

One of the underlying themes of the Duncan Hunter books is that there are certain CIA files that are so explosive that they cannot be divulged nor can they be accessed without presidential approval.  In Special Access, the documents contained within the CIA file on the president proves he is not who he claims to be.  In Shoot Down, there was an ongoing CIA file to pay terrorists a yearly ransom to prevent commercial aircraft from being shot out of the sky by shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles.  In No Need to Know, an ancient pre-CIA file lists artwork hidden by the Nazis.  Another file attempts to track missing suitcase nuclear devices.

Nazy has risen up through the ranks of the CIA to become one of their most trusted senior intelligence service executives.  She found Osama bin Laden hiding in Pakistan and she got to interrogate him.  Her resume is full of accomplishments finding terrorists that don't want to be found or she interrogates them in Guantanamo Bay.  Or other places.  She didn't just renounce Islam, she escaped or some would say she defected.  Much the same way senior intelligence officials defected from the Soviet Union or Eastern Bloc countries and came to work for the US or British intelligence communities, Nazy followed that career path.  She escaped from an abusive radical Muslim husband and returned to America; embraced Christianity. 

Nazy is the antithesis of a politically liberal woman.  She loves America.  America is the only country founded on great and noble ideals.  She embraces America for what it is in the world, the last great hope for freedom loving people everywhere.  She is on the side of America that is continually being attacked from every quadrant of the globe where evil tries to propagate and allow totalitarianism to take hold and reside.  She has seen the face of evil, having been drawn into the politically evil side of Islam through a forced marriage, and has committed herself to do the ugly work necessary to uncover evil, root it out, and make and keep America safe.  She is growing into becoming an exceptional American and patriot.  And as a senior intelligence executive, she is entrusted with managing some of the nation's most incredible and damaging secrets.  Sometimes a few of those most secret of secrets need "outside action."  When those rare situations arise, she is the conduit for Greg Lynche as the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency to become aware of a particular problem which threatens the USA.  Nazy is also, sometimes, the conduit for Duncan Hunter to execute the special access or the blackest of the "black" programs. 

Nazy's life has been a remarkable one.  Her path to America as a safe haven was turned upside down when she is forced to spy on a man.  With no training, she was a crappy and unmotivated spy.  When she met the man she was to spy on, she found peace, comfort, and safety in the arms of Duncan Hunter.  The spark between them was virtually instantaneous.  Nazy and Hunter are soulmates.  They only have eyes for each other.  Their work keeps them apart for operational and practical reasons.  But when they are able to push work to the side and get together, you know sparks fly.

Maverick out!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Nazy Cunningham Character

The idea for Nazy Cunningham came from several sources.  Like the other characters in the Duncan Hunter books, she is a composite character.  In my travels to the Middle East I ran across/met a young Jordanian woman who was the personal secretary for a senior government official.  Her name was "Marwa."  Her English was the formal King's English--without a British accent.  I was taken aback that she graduated from the Yale University Law School.  She wore a head scarf.  I saw her several times when I visited the office and each time she would greet me with a hearty handshake and a smile.  Then she got married and the next and last time I saw her, of course she could not shake my hand nor could she be touched by a man that wasn't her husband.  I knew the rules and that was ok.  But the rest of the story was she had married poorly and her husband was a jealous man and beat her.

Then I came across an interesting woman on Al Gore's amazing internet.  Before she was George Clooney's wife, Amal Alamuddin was another Arabic lawyer who was sort of an Islamic apologist and more of the type of person I wanted Duncan's Hunter's love interest to be like.  Tall, good looking, and the "apologist" in her appealed to me as I was looking for a situation where the future love interest would question her Muslim faith after being blackmailed into spying on an infidel.  The infidel being Duncan Hunter, of course.  She renounces Islam, he turns her and off she goes to the CIA to be an analyst.

But Nazy Cunningham had to be stunning.  Someone who would literally make the racquetball-happy Duncan Hunter stop in his tracks at the first sight of her and then, also literally, flip over onto his back as he tried to recover from chasing a racquetball in a court to spying the woman in the stands.  Imagine Roger Federer chasing a tennis ball and right before he swings at it with his racquet, in the corner of his eye he sees this beauty in the stands and for a split second he forgets what's he's doing on the court to "take a peek" at her.  When he blinks, he realizes he is supposed to be swinging a racquet at the ball, misses wildly, and the momentum of the distraction causes him to cartwheel onto his back.  That is what "Marwa" did to Duncan during their first encounter.  Add some green eyes to reflect her royal Persian ancestry and a cover name, given to her by the CIA.  In Persian, Nazy means "cute." 

What does Nazy really look like?  When I saw the 2014 Miss Netherlands walk out onto the stage during the Miss Universe Pageant in a yellow low-cut dress, I about fell out of my seat as I said aloud, pointing like a fool, "That's Nazy!"  Duncan's favorite color is yellow.  Synchronicity.  No brainer.  That dress might make an appearance in book #4. 
Maverick out!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Airplanes

One of Duncan Hunter's most amazing talents, right behind uncovering the deepest of the undercover spies and driving Nazy Cunningham wild, is his uncanny ability to stumble upon rare aircraft or airplanes that have been lost to history.  Often these are one-off designs or "special purpose" aircraft, such as a Bugatti racer that was designed for an "across Europe" race in the 1930s.  I read recently this lost Bugatti racer will actually take to the skies in the very near future.

In my fourth book, another 1930s-era aviation race sets the plot for the remaining novel.
Why bother?  For starters, Duncan Hunter's YO-3A almost never got built.  Like countless other interesting and fantastic designs that never made the leap off the drawing board to the runway, I think these historically-significant airplanes should be part of the discussion.  When I flew a jet, I rarely had time to think about the aircraft that had come before mine or the pilots who braved the elements to advance the fledgling aviation industry, one airplane at a time. 

So expect to see more unusual or rare aircraft when Duncan Hunter least expects to find a lost aviation treasure.

Maverick out!
Old CIA Files

Not just any CIA files but old files.  Files that should have been sent to the archives or the burn bag but somehow managed to pop up in the most unusual settings or at the most inappropriate times.  The old CIA files Duncan Hunter is exposed to are, with apologies to Thomas Alva Edison, 90% inspiration, 10% perspiration.  An illegal alien that becomes the President--there just has to be a hidden file on him-- and the CIA and all the President's men are looking for it.  The President does negotiate with terrorists and pays the terrorist billions--again, there just has to be a file because there has to be a black program that has CIA agents facilitating the payments.  In No Need to Know, several unrelated old files come together for an explosive story.

Purposely, there is a little bit of truth in these imaginary old CIA files.  They are ripped from today's headlines.  Today we learned the current CIA Director voted for the 1980 Communist Party Presidential candidate, Gus Hall.  The book on the DCI is that he also converted to Islam many years ago, and the news he had voted for the Communist Party" while taking a polygraph, was simply stunning.  In Shoot Down readers are introduced to Dr. Bruce Rothwell, CIA Director who is not only a closet Communist but converted to Islam to better infiltrate terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda.  Some things you can make up only to find out they are true--change the name of course.

And then there is the President.  In book four, Blown Cover, readers are introduced to the man whose file was released by one Duncan Hunter.  He is described by his name, for he was named after a famous Russian, a famous Muslim, and his African family.  Maxim Mohammad Matabaa.  A Soviet-style  socialist at heart, he once described the Muslim call to prayer as “one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset.” 

And some files come from unusual sources, like defectors.  These can often provide a treasure trove of old intelligence that is relevant for today's world view and foreign policy.

Old files, old pilots, old airplanes, old CIA guys, old SEALs.  And one young incredibly beautiful CIA senior executive that is in the middle of them all. 

Maverick out!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Terrorists, Communists, and Bad Guys--Oh My!

In Duncan Hunter’s world there are three major nemeses that he confronts: master international terrorists, cunning communists, and those closet terrorists and communists who have infiltrated the government and whose policies are wreaking havoc on regular Americans.  In Special Access, a democratic President is discovered to be not only an “illegal alien” but consorted with the world’s worst master terrorists.  Shoot Down, a democratic President first ignored a legitimate threat posed to commercial aviation.  Then when an aircraft is shot out of the sky, he pays the ransom to stop the killing  but doesn’t go after the terrorists who shoots airplanes out of the sky for profit.  In No Need to Know, the former CIA Director is both a former KGB officer as well as an Islamic sympathizer before he is run out of Washington DC for sexual misconduct.  In Special Access, Shoot Down, and No Need to Know, Duncan Hunter is responsible for the downfall of the high-ranking officials who had been successful infiltrating the highest levels of the US government.

In my next book, the actions of communist leaders in the 1930s set the stage for all future aviation espionage and terrorism.  Like all of my books, there’s a significant element of truth (factual aviation history) to set the stage for the story and plot line.   The old Soviet Union really did steal British and American aircraft plans.   Sometimes Russians and the French would collaborate to hide the truth of a tragedy when it suited both parties.  And again, the real truth is hidden behind a curtain of top secret security clearances and old CIA files.

Maverick out!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Developing a Nemesis that Cannot be Spoken

My Duncan Hunter books operate in the clandestine world.  Spyplanes, top secret clearances, black programs.  The routine bad guys are the usual fare of Islamic terrorists the KGB and their communist buddies.  With that group there's not a lot of work needed to develop an antagonist or two.  And then there is the press.  Specifically today's press.  In the 1920s, 30s, 40s the relationship between the U.S. government and the press was different in those days.  Many reporters were routinely trusted with secret information to be used as "background" for stories.  As an example, journalists would never consider discussing or reporting on President Franklin Roosevelt’s paralysis after contracting polio.  Few know the KGB was well aware of this relationship and worked tirelessly to exploit the confidential access of American reporters.  The USSR sponsored coursework in Moscow to teach editors the fine art of propaganda.
From the 50s to the present day, the USSR and Russia have continually recruited and used journalists across the world as spies.  Newspapers across the country, and even Time magazine was a hotbed of spies and pro-Soviet activity.  Whittaker Chambers, a Time editor, was a Soviet spy and courageously switched sides and blew the lid off on the communist network and their influence in the press and the government.  In Duncan Hunter's world, there is an abundance of evidence that journalists continue to work on behalf of the KGB and now the Russians.  In Duncan Hunter's world, he despises the media.  The media today makes it about themselves.  They are celebrities.  They're on late night shows and magazine covers.  They think they are kingmakers, to a degree.  Politicians from both sides kiss up to the media and the media actually thinks they're important; the media today think that what they say really matters.  Duncan Hunter is fond of saying, "The greatest power of the media is its power to ignore."  Instead of guys reporting the news, these guys selectively report what they want and then spin what they report.  In Duncan Hunter's world, the media is a criminal enterprise disguised as a legitimate business.  In Duncan Hunter's world, the media is an extension of the criminal enterprise that is the democrat party.

When Duncan Hunter is "working" he has to worry about the KGB, the terrorists, and the media.  The former two just want to kill him; the latter would just be happy to expose him.

Maverick out!
The Idea for a Nemesis

Leaving the adventure of a lifetime and not being able to fly the Beast was devastating.  I threw myself into my new work.  I was a burgeoning champion racquetball player and I was winning medals running, riding a bike, and playing racquetball.  New ideas came to me when I was running.  I started attending grad school and worked on an MBA.  Much of my new job involved writing and of course, homework was an every night affair.  I did boatloads of homework and there was no time to write.  One of the stories banging around my head, like a BB in a boxcar, involved a murderous pilot.  With no computers, word processors or typewriters available—I wrote out a plot longhand.
When everyone in my class turned in their 35-page papers, my master’s thesis was a 105-page monstrosity.  I argued that there will never be another airplane like the supersonic Concorde, for a variety of reasons. 
One of the more interesting reasons no one would build a follow-on airplane, no “Son of Concorde,” was because of the growing influence of environmentalists who railed at anything and everything, and somehow convinced a body of politicians that the jets were so bad, that if they were built, they would pollute the upper atmosphere and extinguish life on Earth.  These Luddites seemed to be related to the morons I encountered in Boulder, Colorado.  And these guys were deadly and dedicated.  Some of the things the left and the environmentalists did to stop the Concorde was to try to damage it before takeoff or during landing; they would try to throw ball bearings into the engine intakes. 
Few airport incursions by these wackos were ever officially reported.  Why write about a murderous pilot when there were potential murderers seemingly always trying to take down a jet?  Over the years, environmentalists, hijackers, and terrorists have all tried to down or attack jets or aircrews or passengers in their own evil way.  I bundle them all together and call them "aviation terrorists."   And because these guys (in the real world) are supported and bankrolled by radical and oftentimes communist elements, they are the villains in my books.  
James Bond fought world-dominating megalomaniacs with his crazy toys.  Duncan Hunter fights aviation terrorists with his YO-3A spyplane. 

Maverick out!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Duncan Hunter's Political Awakening

I left the Marine Corps to attend college.  Enrolled at the University of Colorado.  I had been accepted at the Denver, Colorado Springs, and Boulder campuses.  I thought Boulder would be a nice beautiful place to live and study.  As I toured the school, I encountered a phalanx of filthy dope-smelling hippies.  Nasty critters.  They didn’t want any part of me with my short haircut and they were more than vocal that a baby killer like myself would never be welcome in Boulder.  That day was the beginning of my political awakening.  I went to school at the Denver campus.

A year later I was back in the Marine Corps.  I soon received an officer’s commission and I headed to Pensacola for flight school.  Three years later I was scheduled for my first flight in the F-4 Phantom.  The date was January 28, 1986.  My instructor and I walked to our jet one hour after the Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart, 73 seconds after liftoff.  After countless hours in the simulator, I flew that jet like a pro.  My instructor even accused me of being an Air Force pilot.  How many people can say they attained one of their childhood dreams?  But my dreams of flying the F-4 soon turned into a nightmare. 

In the high G environment of dogfighting, my hands and feet would go numb, and I would lose my sense of touch.  The coordinated use of stick, throttle and rudder is all a function of touch and as long as I wasn’t pulling Gs, I was a fairly stellar pilot.  However, in a high-G environment, I couldn’t feel what I was doing and I had suddenly become very dangerous to my fellow pilots.  No more supersonic jets.  Goodbye F-4 pilot.  Hello aircraft maintenance officer.  I was off to fly a desk.  Oh joy.  I needed a distraction and if you can no longer fly the big badass jets, yellow Corvette convertibles are wonderful things.

Next, life after jets.

Maverick out!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

More Duncan Hunter Adventures

It wasn’t long after my Dilbert-dunking episode that I was back on my bicycle, avoiding the pond, exploring the woods and the trees that enveloped the air base.  One day, deep in the woods, I came across a hill to race down, only to have the ground fall out from under me.  A thick pile of leaves broke my fall.  Stunned I was still alive, I found myself staring, upside down, into the maw of a cave. 

After somewhat cavalierly escaping death from the frozen pond, for some internal reason now I was scared shitless.  I flipped around, still flat on my back, when I noticed high above the cave’s opening, drilled into the rock face the intricate design of an eagle with elongated wings clutching a wreath.  Inside the wreath, a swastika.  I had seen Nazi bunkers before along the autobahn but the cave was unlike anything I had seen before.  I had no idea what I tumbled into and after the ass-chewing I received after escaping the pond, I wasn’t about to find out the hard way.  I dragged my bike out between the two concrete rocks, pedaled out of there as fast as my high top Converse shoes could spin that bicycle crank.  I never shared my little-kid adventure with the Nazi bunker with anyone until I incorporated it into my book, No Need to Know.  I had so many more "less lethal" but "wild adventures" that I didn't know what "normal" was.

We moved back to the "States."  My friends in Texas and Colorado had never experienced anything remotely or tangentially to those, what I called "my wild adventures" in Germany.  No one ever believed me; it was best to just keep my mouth shut and do my thing.  They grew up in the suburbs with a park with a swing set and a park bench nearby.  I looked at the world I was now living in much more differently.  No more forests to ride through, no more fighter jets to excite me, no more free ranging fun and adventures except those I "manufactured" living in the suburbs of Denver.  How I didn’t get caught doing incredibly stupid and risky things and got hauled off to jail are still some of the greatest mysteries of the universe.  My mother was grateful I turned my pent up energies to work.  My greatest passion remained the bent winged jets.  With no air base nearby,  I couldn’t see them.  I delivered newspapers, made pizzas for Shakey’s Pizza Parlor, shoveled snow, cut grass, and worked in the yards of my neighbors.  While my friends were stealing money from their folks to smoke dope, I was buying audio equipment, records, models, Hardy Boys books, and nice clothes.  I had crushes on the best looking girls in school.  Of course they didn’t know I existed.  When I signed up to join the Marines, my father said, "They'll kill you."

They didn't.  I got my pilot wings.  The ultimate adventure.  One of the best decisions of my life. 

Maverick out!


Friday, September 16, 2016

The Adventures of Duncan Hunter

It is not an unfair analysis that like me, Duncan Hunter was largely a typical boy with typical 1950s parents.  When you're a kid you don't know what is abnormal unless you see something that is clearly outside your world of normal.  Living in Germany in the 1960s I came aware of airplanes and cars.  Our next door neighbor drove a light blue Corvette Stingray.  1963 "split-window."  It was the most beautiful car I had ever seen, and it was next door!  I obviously smeared the man's windows when I tried to look inside.  All the time.  No garage, it sat outside.  I saw the German cars, some French cars.  By comparison, there was no comparison to the Corvette.  Then a 1964 black Jaguar XKE showed up on the base, then a red 1965 Mustang.  A 1959 Mercedes SL and a 1963 Porsche 356 were very nice.  But for me, it was over.  The Jag and the Corvette were the cars.  Sleek and fast.  V-8 and V-12 noisemakers.  In addition to building airplane models, I started building car models of my favorite cars.

On Sundays I'd get a dime to buy a comic.  More adventures with Superman and Spiderman.  There is no doubt I had one of the original Spiderman comics in my possession.  And then, with the Hardy Boys, the adventure and mystery bug was firmly planted in my head.  I knew the Corvette owner was a pilot.  So was the Jag's owner.  Seemed to be part of a club that only the adults understood.
At Ramstein, I was allowed to run free.  Few places were off limits as I rode my bike all over the heavily forested air base.  With freedom came a sense of the adventurousness I found in the books that my mother and I would get when we visited the library.  That adventurousness nearly killed me one day when I tried to walk across a frozen pond.  When I found myself at the bottom of the pond, I was more surprised than panicked.  I distinctly remember that the hole in the ice high above my head shone like a yellow beacon.  Like I would push off from the bottom of the base swimming pool, I pushed off from the bottom of the pond and I shot straight up through that hole like a submarine’s emergency blow and breaching the surface.  It’s one of the few memories that is still very clear in my old mind.   I busted ice with my elbows and clawed my way across the ice to get out of the freezing water.  I was hypothermic; shivering uncontrollably, and I didn’t really know I close I came to dying.  But I lived through it.  A new car to discover, a new jet to identify, and living through a near-death experience was the essence of adventure for a kid.  My experiences are where Duncan Hunter get's his sense of adventure.
Maverick out! 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Yes, there's a little aviation history in my books.

I've always been nuts about airplanes, jets, and helicopters.  Learned aviation history and built models of Air Force fighters and WWI tri-planes as a kid.  Read about the adventures of Manfred von Richthofen and Eddie Rickenbacker.  I read everything I could get my hands on if it pertained to planes, pilots, and patriots.  The family moved to Ramstein Air Force Base about the same time the US Air Force introduced the F-4 Phantom II fighter jet into Germany.  I was struck dumb and mute at first sight of that jet.  Up close it was huge, imposing, and intimidating.  As long as a semi with a forty-foot trailer.  I made a commitment to one day fly the magnificent aluminum animal with the funny bent wings.  I was sure the men who flew them must have been some kind of gods.  Every opportunity I had to see the big bad jets, I took it.

When the weather was crappy, I’d write a little bit about pilots and planes and spies.  Why couldn't there be a pilot that was also a spy?  Gary Powers was shot down over the USSR.  Pilot, plane, spy.  It took a while before I learned enough about the CIA and the airplanes they had built for their use.  But passively flying the airplanes wasn't going to be enough.  The pilot in my books had to be actively "involved" in secret missions.  In the air and on the ground.  Thus was the idea for my protagonist and hero, Duncan Hunter. 

Wandering through my books you'll notice there are actual airplanes few people have heard of.  Some have been lost to history.  The quiet YO-3As, a special-built "racer" Beechcraft Staggerwing, even a Bugatti fall into that category.  I taught an aircraft and spacecraft development course, which is a cleverly disguised aviation history class.  The difference between spyplanes and the others are numbers.  McDonnell built over 5,000 F-4 Phantoms.  Only a handful of "special purpose" are built.  Everyone knows about the SR-71 and maybe the U-2, but when only 11 YO-3As were built and flown for a very short period, hardly anyone even knows they exist.  The folks at the Quiet Aircraft Association knows all about the publicity-free YO-3A and the Quiet Thruster family of powered gliders. 

Aviation history.

Maverick out!