The inspiring and riveting first-ever memoir of active combat by a female helicopter pilot in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Amber Smith flew into enemy fire in some of the most dangerous combat zones in the world. One of only a few women to fly the Kiowa Warrior helicopter—whose mission, armed reconnaissance, required its pilots to stay low and fly fast, perilously close to the fight—Smith deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan as a member of the elite 2-17 Cavalry Regiment, part of the legendary 101st Airborne Division, the Screaming Eagles. She rose to Pilot-in-Command and Air Mission Commander in the premier Kiowa unit in the Army, repeatedly flying into harm’s way during her 2005 and 2008 deployments.
In Danger Close, Smith takes us into the heat of battle, enabling readers to feel, hear, and smell the experience of serving as a combat pilot in high-intensity warfare. This is an edge-of-the seat story of learning to perform under pressure and persevere under extreme duress—both in action against an implacable enemy and within the elite “boy’s club” of Army aviation. Smith’s unrelenting fight for both mastery and respect delivers universal life-lessons that will be useful to any civilian, from “earning your spurs” as a newbie to “embracing the suck” through setbacks that challenge your self-confidence to learning to trust your gut as a veteran of your profession.
Intensely personal, cinematic, poignant, and inspiring, Danger Close is a war story on one hand, and also the story of a brave pilot who fought for and earned a lifetime membership in the ranks of the best of the best.