Item description for No Room for Error: The Covert Operations of America's Special Tactics Units from Iran to Afghanistan. by John T. Carney, Jr., Benjamin Schemmer & Patrick Girard Lawlor...
When the U.S. Air Force decided to create an elite special tactics team in the late 1970s to work with special-operations forces, John T. Carney was the man they turned to. Since then Carney and the U.S. Air Force Special Tactics units have circled the world on clandestine missions. They have combated terrorists and overthrown dangerous dictators. They have suffered eighteen times the casualty rate of America's conventional forces. But they have gotten the job done. Now, for the first time, Colonel Carney lifts the veil of secrecy and reveals what really goes on inside the special-operations forces that are at the forefront of contemporary warfare.
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Studio: Listen & Live Audio
Running Time: 630.00 minutes
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 6.4" Width: 4.18" Height: 2.72" Weight: 0.68 lbs.
Binding Audio Cassette
Release Date Oct 15, 2002
Publisher Listen & Live Audio
ISBN 1885408943 ISBN13 9781885408945 UPC 762458308649
Availability 0 units.
More About John T. Carney, Jr., Benjamin Schemmer & Patrick Girard Lawlor
Colonel John T. Carney was the first commanding officer of the USAF?s Special Tactics Unit.
Reviews - What do customers think about No Room for Error: The Covert Operations of America's Special Tactics Units from Iran to Afghanistan?
Outstanding - highly recommended Feb 20, 2007
The book is outstanding on several levels. As a chronicle of the evolution of the Air Force Combat Controller component of special forces it is an outstanding history of the creation and evolution of the Air Force special tactics units. As the story of a personal journey from wandering officer to a man with a mission it is a great story of achievement and sacrifice.
Action around the globe. If the US military was involved Carney was probably there. Reads like an travel plan from PJ O'Rouke's Holidays in Hell. Desert One in Iran, Grenada, Achille Lauro, Panama, Desert Storm, Somalia, Haiti, Balkans, Afghanistan and back to Iraq.
The book provides valuable historical insights along with an understanding of how the US special forces units operate. It also provides multiple examples of leadership, mostly good, in our military.
It is not an accident that praise for the book comes from deputy commander of Delta , former chief of staff of the US Army, former commander US Special Forces Command, Seymour Hersh and Army Times. This is the real deal.
The only blemish is that of production. The maps in the softcover are blurred and useless. Without that problem it is 7 Stars
A thorough and in depth look into the teams few know exist. Feb 7, 2007
I enjoyed this book immensely. "No Room for Error" is an open, straight forward look into the history and present day missions of U.S. Air Force Forward Air Controllers, Pararescuemen and Special Operations Pilots. Unlike many of the books written about Special Operations Teams, "No Room for Error" is short on ego but chalked full of mission specific tactical information and mission strength/weakness recaps. Mr. Carney gives the reader an amazing glimpse into life at the tip of the spear.
Not What I Expected Jan 26, 2007
This book has an unusual pedigree and an even more unusual main author. John T. Carney is a retired Air Force Colonel who served for more than two and a half decades "traveling mostly by parachute" before his retirement in 1991. He's written this book partially as an explanation of the Air Force's Special Operations component, or at least the part of which he was the commander, the Special Tactics units. In this, he largely succeeds, but the book isn't what I expected, and from reading the other reviews on this page, I get the impression a lot of people were surprised.
Carney's an interesting character. Most special ops guys start out in the military as gung-ho types who want to get right into combat. They wind up spending their whole careers fighting military bureaucracy, and of course wind up not having much luck except when they let their actions speak for themselves. In Carney's case, he started out wanting to be a professional football player, and when an injury cut short his career as a player in college, decided to go into coaching. He went into the ROTC program for the money, and chose the Air Force because the money was the same as the other services, but you had to drill less. From ROTC, he went into the Air Force directly, and since he had experience in college football, he spent some years as a uniformed recruiter for the Air Force Academy. Doesn't sound like a special ops type, does he?
Then things took an unusual turn, and he wound up commanding the first Air Force unit built around the special operations ideal. He was actually on the ground at Desert One in the Iranian desert in 1979, watched from offshore during Urgent Fury (Grenada) and commanded most of the Air Force assets involved during the Panama invasion. He retired just after Desert Storm, though he gives you a synopsis of what happened in Mogadishu, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Those last concluding chapters are rather short, but they do include the author's decision to help set up and administer a program to provide college funding to the children of special operators who die in combat. I'm not sure what I think of this last: it's certainly a worthy cause, but in Iraq, for instance, the majority of our casualties have been regular grunts, even auto mechanics and the like, and Carney's foundation does nothing for them. It's an odd dilemma: I suspect he would say they can't afford to support everyone's kids, so they're concentrating on their own.
Regardless, this is an interesting book. As others have noted, it's not long on action, because of course that's not what it's about. The author does provide valuable insight into the Desert One fiasco, recounting how he reconnoitered the field they landed on two weeks before the actual raid, and how things were different the day of the operation, with dust covering everything, and visibility reduced to a few feet. This part of the book is probably the most enlightening, along with the section on Grenada.
I generally found the book valuable, because among other things there's so little written on the airborne para-rescue types, and their ground controller counterparts. It's also, as you might expect, a good primer in inter-service rivalries and warfare, with the Army (especially) insisting that ground control of aircraft should be their mission, and various Air Force agencies being unwilling to give up the troops to Carney's units so that they're at full strength.
This was an interesting book, and I enjoyed it. Just don't expect a shoot-em-up.
Listening to/reading this book is not an error! Jul 17, 2006
I listened to the abridged version of this book over the course of a few days and found it to be quite entertaining and informative. Those who are intrigued by the special mission units of the US military should look no further than here for an insider's account behind the scenes as many of the heavy hitters were just getting started in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Carney is at his best telling the tale of small unit leadership in action as he fought tooth-and-nail to gain respect and a mission for his "Brand-X" airmen.
Another strength of the book is in showing how hard it was for US special operations forces (SOF) to really get their act together. His account of Desert One in Iran, which has been written about elsewhere, is still not easy to stomach. Grenada was not much better. It was not until Panama in 1989 that things were truly clicking on all cylinders. Special Mission Units didn't have much of a role in Desert Storm/Shield, at least, not at first, but later in Somalia and of course in Afghanistan they were much more than bit players. Carney calls Afghanistan the first "special operations war." But will it be the last? The book was published before Iraq kicked off, but I wonder what he would think about attempting to extrapolate the successes of SOF to that war?
The narrative loses a bit of its strength towards the end after the author retires from active duty and can only watch from the sidelines. In all, No Room For Error is a fast read/listen and quite interesting.
The Quiet Professionals Aug 7, 2005
No Room For Error fills a gap in military history. Such gaps have existed since the beginning of time whenever a 'special' operation was conducted. What Col Carney and the late Ben Schemmer have done is describe people, places, and events that bring to light the fact that the special ops 'community' before the 80s was a close knit family whose members and even kids often knew each other by name whether army, navy, or air force.
Col Carney brings faces and humanity to the facts. He shows what it was like to conduct special operations at a time when the majority of SOF was being disbanded after Vietnam and prior to Desert One.
Many Americans will never know the true sacrifice of some of the Quiet Professionals. Many Americans will never know how many fires were put out before they consumed nations. Read this book to discover heroes who don't see themselves as such. Unknown national heroes...of whom their families may never know of their accomplishments.
Col Carney has given credit to an honorable profession made so by honorable men...and today, honorable women.