"Fast-paced, exciting and informative, with a realism and authenticity that this old carrier aviator has not seen in a long, long time."
—Admiral J. L. Holloway III, USN (Ret.), Chief of Naval Operations, 1974-78
“A fine Tom Clancy-style account...From the start, the reader is in the cockpit.”
The book that straps you into the cockpit of one of the world's most exhilarating and dangerous occupations.
Slammed back into his ejection seat, catapulting from the heaving aircraft-carrier at 150 miles per hour in two seconds, he plunges into the darkness above the black waves. He is a rookie pilot on his first flight off the deck of the famed USS Midway, a "nugget" strapped in the electronics-crammed cockpit of one of the world's most expensive, sophisticated - and powerful - military machines. He is a member of the elite EA-6B Prowler squadron - call sign Ironclaw. And for Sherman Baldwin, a Yale grad turned navy carrier pilot on the eve of the Gulf War, the adventure has just begun.
Here is the real world of military aviation - a world far more exciting than the depiction in bestselling novels and popular Hollywood films. Baldwin records in white-knuckled prose what it's really like to make the grade as a navy carrier pilot: the high-stakes, high-pressure world of piloting multimillion-dollar aircraft, precision flying through enemy fire over hostile territory, and zero-tolerance aircraft landings in the dead of night, when one miscalculation could result in a fatal crash. He also offers a rare behind-the-scenes look at the humor and camaraderie that bind these special individuals together, characters with nicknames like "Beast," "Chief Rat," and "Simba." From the mission-planning room to chaotic action of the carrier deck to emergency midair refuelings and the outbreak of the Gulf War, Baldwin captures the G forces of the world's steepest and most dangerous learning curve.