Read A Nightmare's Prayer: A Marine Harrier Pilot's War in Afghanistan by Michael Franzak Online


The first Afghanistan memoir ever to be written by a Marine Harrier pilot, A Nightmare’s Prayer portrays the realities of war in the twenty-first century, taking a unique and powerful perspective on combat in Afghanistan as told by a former enlisted man turned officer. Lt. Col. Michael "Zak" Franzak was an AV-8B Marine Corps Harrier pilot who served as executive officer ofThe first Afghanistan memoir ever to be written by a Marine Harrier pilot, A Nightmare’s Prayer portrays the realities of war in the twenty-first century, taking a unique and powerful perspective on combat in Afghanistan as told by a former enlisted man turned officer. Lt. Col. Michael "Zak" Franzak was an AV-8B Marine Corps Harrier pilot who served as executive officer of VMA-513, "The Flying Nightmares," while deployed in Afghanistan from 2002 to 2003. The squadron was the first to base Harriers in Bagram in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. But what should have been a standard six-month deployment soon turned to a yearlong ordeal as the Iraq conflict intensified. And in what appeared to be a forgotten war half a world away from home, Franzak and his colleagues struggled to stay motivated and do their job providing air cover to soldiers patrolling the inhospitable terrain.I wasn’t in a foxhole. I was above it. I was safe and comfortable in my sheltered cocoon 20,000 feet over the Hindu Kush. But I prayed. I prayed when I heard the muted cries of men who at last understood their fate.Franzak’s personal narrative captures the day-by-day details of his deployment, from family good-byes on departure day to the squadron’s return home. He explains the role the Harrier played over the Afghanistan battlefields and chronicles the life of an attack pilot—from the challenges of nighttime, weather, and the austere mountain environment to the frustrations of working under higher command whose micromanagement often exacerbated difficulties. In vivid and poignant passages, he delivers the full impact of enemy ambushes, the violence of combat, and the heartbreaking aftermath.And as the Iraq War unfolded, Franzak became embroiled in another battle: one within himself. Plagued with doubts and wrestling with his ego and his belief in God, he discovered in himself a man he loathed. But the hardest test of his lifetime and career was still to come—one that would change him forever.A stunning true account of service and sacrifice that takes the reader from the harrowing dangers of the cockpit to the secret, interior spiritual struggle facing a man trained for combat, A Nightmare’s Prayer brings to life a Marine’s public and personal trials set against "the fine talcum brown soot of Afghanistan that permeated everything—even one’s soul."...

Title : A Nightmare's Prayer: A Marine Harrier Pilot's War in Afghanistan
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781439194980
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 304 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

A Nightmare's Prayer: A Marine Harrier Pilot's War in Afghanistan Reviews

  • Chrissy
    2019-04-10 12:51

    This book covers the author's personal experiences during his one year deployment to Afghanistan as a Marine Harrier pilot. It becomes apparent early on in the book that using the guns or dropping bombs is a very rare occurrence for VMA-513 Harriers during this deployment, so if you're looking for lots of action tales you may be disappointed. The author's couple of active missions he describes late in the book did get my senses tingling, but most of it is monotonous missions of flying in circles waiting for something to happen (which is typical of deployments to be fair). The author spends some time pondering his thoughts on the war, on killing, on the meaning of it all, etc which is supplemented from the journal he kept while deployed. I found the author's frankness at certain times refreshing as he clearly lays out some of his faults, challenges, and errors he's made. I enjoyed the book, but felt it lacked the oomph to push it into 4 star territory. If you have an avid interest in aviation and the Afghanistan war, then I would recommend it. However, to everyone else I would probably suggest you pass.

  • Jimmie Aaron Kepler
    2019-04-21 15:00

    I highly recommend "A Nightmare's Prayer" by Mike Franzak. It is a wonderful memoir of the early days of the Afghanistan campaign. You get the feeling you are with him as you go through the deployment from Yuma, AZ to Bagram.I was shocked to learn that the Harrier cannot take off vertically about 5,000 feet elevation. His description of the scary take off from Cherry Point, North Carolina had the hair standing up on the back of my neck. I loved the Blues Brothers call signs of Jake, Elwood, Blues, and Joilet. I was floored at how they aircraft struggled to stay above 400 KPH with a load and at altitude. It will provide a profound reminder of how lethal mines are ... and how they don't know who they are killing.I shook my head at the policy makers since that speed is the maneuver speed needed to avoid the Surface to Air Missiles (SAM). When reading the book I jotted down a couple of things that caught my attention. First was "The generals and policy makers had grown so risk-averse, they tied the hands of those charged with enforcing the policies". The second was when he was landing at night and wrote, "I saw the base, but not the runway..." That was pretty profound. The tiny IR lights had been obscured by the generator powered lights of Bagram Air Base. So much for night light security.The chapter Prayers and Promises is riveting, heart-pounding and action-packed. And you too will see after reading that chapter that "This time God had answered a Nightmare's Prayer."The book is wonderful. It will making a lasting contribution of the literature and history of the Afghanistan War. You get Mike Franzak's story. And the story is gripping. It will have you cheering the Nightmare's actions and shaking your head at the big picture decision makers. Mike Franzak's memoir will grip you and hold your interest. It will have you turning page after page. You get a nice picture of the soldier on the ground form the pilots point of view. Bravo Lt.Col (Ret) Mike Franzak for a telling you story. Recommended for all military history buffs and aviation buffs.

  • Joseph
    2019-04-08 11:59

    An outstanding memoir of the yearlong deployment of a section of Harriers from VMA-513 to Afghanistan in 2002-2003. While most of the memoirs that I have read regarding the War on Terror have been from the viewpoint of troops on the ground (mostly special operators), it was very interesting to read a memoir from the perspective of one of the aviators providing the air support mentioned so frequently in those other memoirs. LtCol Franzak goes over the highs and lows of the deployment, and puts an incredibly human face on the generally faceless aviators that provide protection for troops on the ground. From the perspective of those on the ground, the aviators are always calm, cool, collected and deliver precise attacks when requested in almost machinelike fashion. In this book, Franzak provides the emotions behind the calm radio transmissions. A Nightmare's Prayer is written as a journal/diary, with both the highlights (arriving in-country, combat missions, returning home) and the everyday drag of deployment (having missions called off, endless XCAS sorties) both told in great detail. The juxtaposition helps to bring the reader into the mind of LtCol Franzak throughout his deployment, so much so that you start to feel the highs and lows as Franzak retells them, day by day, chapter by chapter.I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in modern military history, especially if you have read any of the memoirs from ground troops that mention air support, this book helps to give greater perspective on operations conducted in Afghanistan.

  • Dustin
    2019-04-24 11:45

    Excellent. This is one of the more insightful military aviation memoirs you'll probably read. The author definitely is not the typical gung ho type marine usually written about or depicted. In fact, there isn't any inter service rivalry crap in this book. What you have is a Harrier pilot sent to a remote corner of the world to partake in a war that isn't as definable as a thinking man would prefer. We read this with the hindsight and understanding of how poorly planned and executed the joint wars in Afghanistan and Iraq II were. The really cruel irony in this book is how American military policy and command are still so woefully misguided, from the president all the way down. The same pitfalls and short comings that doomed Vietnam have repeated themselves all over again, and the men bold enough to actually think about why that's the case are prone to over thinking a hopeless situation. It's enlightening to read about a pilot that questions the futility and stupidity of the situation as a whole while still doing his job and making sure he protects the men on the ground doing the dirty work. There's nothing one sided here. You definitely think through the entire story. As an aside, if you're looking for anything Harrier specific, you won't find it here. His choice of aircraft is secondary to the story. Certain details about the weapons systems are mentioned, but the jet itself is a bit player.

  • Michael Alexander Henke
    2019-03-26 11:54

    Having seen movies like Top Gun, I'm sure most people see the life of a fighter pilot as being quite glamorous. Fly your multimillion dollar jet, shoot down some bad guys, land, and off to the officer's club for drinks and dancing all night. This book puts the kibosh on all of that.The author was the Executive Officer of VMA-513, a squadron of AV-8B Harrier jets that was deployed to Afghanistan for nearly a year. It quickly becomes apparent that the life of a fighter pilot in Afghanistan was one of hardship, tediousness, and danger. The weather was unforgiving, making every take off or landing a life-threatening event. The nature of the war meant that many times it was difficult, if not impossible to locate the enemy. That means the pilots would fly Combat Air Patrol, and basically just circle for hours waiting for someone to call. Most times they didn't. In fact it isn't until somewhere around 10 months into the tour that the author actually utilized his weapons for the first time.We also get to see how physically, as well as emotionally draining the tour was for the pilot. Flying night missions for months, then day missions, then night missions, really screws up your sleep schedule and just exhausts you. The author is pushed to the limits of his endurance, and he invites us along for the ride.

  • John
    2019-04-06 15:57

    A USAF fighter pilot friend once scolded me when I commented that one of the aircraft he flew was an infamous 'widow-maker.' "Bullshit," he said, "Any plane can be a widow-maker just as easily." For good or ill, though, the Harrier has that reputation. Franzik's deeply personal journal of a combat tour flying the AV-8B over Afghanistan is filled with tales of both the aircraft's limitations and abilities, and you walk away with a sense of awe that these Marine maintained, flew and fought the Harrier in such an austere environment, with such ludicrous legal and operating restrictions.As an aside, and as an astronomy buff, I personally loved his frequent references to the Afghan environment, particularly the clear night skies that revealed a blanket of stars, many of which he used as personal guideposts to measure the length of time of the deployment as they progressed through the heavens with the seasons. It's not the smoothest book I've ever read, but it's a rarity to see a book about the manned air war over Afghanistan in this time period, so it's hard not to recommend it. A good read for fans of non-fiction, aviation, history or current events.

  • Kristin
    2019-04-09 18:53

    I devoured this book in about 3 days—it was completely engrossing! It’s about Franzak’s experience as a Marine Harrier pilot in Afghanistan in 2002. The book just came out last year, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in aviation, the Marines, or the war in Afghanistan.At times, the book was brutal. Franzak didn’t shy away from portraying his thoughts and actions truthfully—including the good, the bad, and the ugly (this book is definitely not for people sensitive to reading lots of profanities). But I really appreciated his honesty, because I felt as though I’d gone through the year-long deployment with Franzak and the members of his squadron. I liked Franzak’s style. The book was extremely readable, the story compelling. The main story arc encompasses the deployment of his Harrier squadron, the Flying Nightmares, to Afghanistan in late 2002 to 2003. Most of the power comes from the book being written from the author’s own experience and point of view. He recounts events as he experienced them, including his thoughts, emotions, and reactions.

  • Lauren
    2019-04-14 15:43

    Mr. Franzak is clearly erudite, but neither wordy nor haughty. His description of his experience as a Harrier pilot in the early Afghanistan war is well-told and surprisingly humble in tone, and he is generally at pains to give his colleagues and even the powers-that-be a fair shake, even when it was sometimes clear he didn't agree with them.Although there is a fair amount of flying involved in the story, relatively little detail is disclosed, most likely to keep the general audience's attention. Aviation buffs will fill in many of the blanks, thanks to cues given by the author.Perhaps Franzak wanted to convey a more cohesive, overarching tale of the changes in his attitudes toward the war, but - and I feel this is appropriate - instead he relates where he was, what he did, and what happened to him during his tour, to the exclusion of nearly all philosophizing and speculation about the merits of the war. He touches on that primarily near the end of the book, but is not heavy-handed.

  • Brandon u
    2019-04-10 16:58

    This book is a great read. Like Jarhead and Generation Kill it's a soldiers first person account of the Second Gulf War. The book written by Michael Franzak, is about a pilot, named, Michael Franzak. In the book Franzak recalls his memories of flying over Afghanistan during the Second Gulf War. I really liked this booked for many reasons. The true story is interesting and you really begin to feel like you were right by Franzak's side during his experiences, and when you begin reading about his time with insomnia you feel for him and its pretty sad. The writing is easy to read, which is always good. And the plot is good, since it was real, it has to be interesting. I would deffinitly reccomend this book to anyone interested in a first person account of America's air war in the Middle East.

  • a.t.m.
    2019-03-27 13:53

    Marine harrier pilot tells his story.Marine harrier pilot tells his story.great book about a marine pilot flying over the skies of Afghanistan. his recollections, his feelings, and his doubts are honestly written. He allows himself to be human to care for his marine's, to share his feelings about children that have lost limbs due to Russian landmines, and educates the reader on what the day to day is like in the life of a marine pilot, while stationed in Afghanistan. Great book, welcome home and I wish you and your family peace, Marine!

  • Mike
    2019-03-28 19:49

    All the pilots in my squadron had to read this book, to learn a few lessons for our upcoming deployment to Afghanistan. I figured that if it taught them lessons, I might learn something as well. I really didn't though. The writing was not poor, but it was dull, for lack of a better word. It wasn't anything special.

  • Wes F
    2019-04-16 17:10

    Great read, especially after having visited Bagram AFB in 2014, where Lt. Col. Franzak was based in 2002-2003. Lots of things have changed since then, though the need for close air support in fighting the Taliban insurgents is still needed and on-going.

  • Christopher
    2019-04-12 15:58

    An excellent account of what it's like to live day-in/day-out in a war zone from the vantage of a fighter cockpit. His stream-of-conscious accounts are telling of the pressures and inner-conflicts that a fighter pilot struggles with daily. I love the honesty of the account.

  • David
    2019-04-17 19:43

    A superb first book, this memoir covers a little-known aspect of the combat in Afghanistan; the air war.Franzak was in the thick of things during his twelve-month deployment and his writing captures the frustration that bedevils many of our fighting units in that forlorn and primitive land.

  • Roni Cowell
    2019-04-14 19:45

    While I purchased this book about a year ago, i just picked it up after my son, a USMC harrier pilot deployed. It gave am a great sense if what he could be doing. Clearly written, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

  • James Denny
    2019-03-26 20:05

    Awesome story of Marine Aviation and CAS. Follows the Nightmares from deployment, Trans-Atlantic crossings x 2 and the missions in Afghanistan. Good aviation story.

  • Baniza
    2019-04-02 11:45

    love it ... a story of a great fighter