The Adventures of Duncan Hunter

The Adventures of Duncan Hunter

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!