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The U.S. Military in the Persian Gulf, 1987-1988
  • ISBN/SKU: 9781591149705
  • Binding: Hardcover & eBook
  • Era:
  • Number of Pages: 272
  • Subject:
  • Date Available: May 2007
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Full Description:

In May 1987, an Iraqi plane fired two missiles into USS Stark, a lone U.S. Navy frigate on patrol in the Gulf.  The missiles severely damaged the ship and killed thirty-seven sailors.  This deadly attack, which Iraq claimed was accidental, brought heightened attention to the Persian Gulf and heralded the beginning of a new era in U.S. Middle Eastern policy.  From then until the end of the Iran-Iraq War, American forces carried out an unprecedented series of military operations in the Gulf.  A planned tanker protection mission evolved into a naval quasi-war with Iran and culminated in the largest sea-air battle since World War II.

Inside the Danger Zone is a history of U.S. military involvement in the Persian Gulf in 1987 and 1988—a time of burning ships, air strikes, and secret missions—the prelude to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, Desert Storm, and the most recent U.S. invasion of Iraq.  Based largely on first-hand accounts from veterans of that era, it is an up-close, detailed report from the front lines of "a guerrilla war at sea."  Many of the dramatic incidents of this period are told in depth, with new information and details never before seen in print.

Harold Lee Wise is an adjunct history professor at Elizabeth City State University in Elizabeth City, N.C.  A native of Stumpy Point, N.C., he is a graduate of the College of Albemarle (1999), East Carolina University (2002), and Sam Houston State University (2005).  His thesis topic was the Iraqi attack on USS Stark.  An early draft of the thesis won the Ben H. Powell writing award at Sam Houston State.  He is a frequent contributor to military history encyclopedias.  Wise lives in Manteo, N.C., and is married with two children.

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"…a Tom Clancy thriller—or, rather, better."  —Christopher Dickey, Newsweek's Paris-based bureau chief and Mideast editor    
"By including sufficient background and detailing the strategic aims of Washington policy makers as well as the tactical moves by the on-scene commanders, Wise conveys both the complexities of U.S. operations and the fighting and dying that routinely occurred. A fast-moving page turner, Inside the Danger Zone is a must read for the naval history buff or anyone seeking to probe more deeply into the complexities of American involvement in Middle East war and politics."Rear Adm. Harold J. Bernsen, USN (Ret.), Commander, Middle East Force, 1986-88
"Between the occupation of the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979 and the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, the United States Navy navigated the dangerous waters of the Persian Gulf, protecting the sea lanes and the flow of oil while Iran and Iraq slugged it out in a bloody war for supremacy in the region. Inside the Danger Zone is a clearly written and thoughtfully conceived account of naval operations there during the late 1980s. Harold Wise interviewed the key figures on the American side and has seamlessly blended their accounts with the relevant U.S. Navy documents. For anyone interested in understanding how the politics of oil, international rivalries, and naval policy intersect, Inside the Danger Zone is a must read." James S. Olson, Distinguished Professor of History, Sam Houston State University

More by this Author

In May 1987, an Iraqi plane fired two missiles into USS Stark, a lone U.S. Navy frigate on patrol... Read More

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Customer Reviews
2 Reviews
Average Customer Reviews
4.50 Stars
Reviewed in Defense Technology Int'l., July/Aug 07
Monday, August 6, 2007
By: David Axe
"The U.S. involvement in the so-called Tanker War saw the breathtaking combat debut of the Army's 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment and the first combat use of night-vision goggles by helicopter pilots. But perhaps most impressive was the rushed outfitting of a 1960s-era oil support platform as an ad-hoc 'sea base' supporting choppers, patrol boats and signals-intelligence troops. The unorthodox floating base inspired a fair amount of hand-wringing among senior Pentagon officials who felt it was too vulnerable and too weird, but the idea not only worked, it presaged the Navy's current sea-basing and "Global Fleet Station" concepts. Wise deserves kudos for highlighting this nearly forgotten, but important, naval development." "In Wise's compelling book, the tense escorts, daring special forces raids, and intelligence operations represent the tentative first steps of the reborn post-Vietnam U.S. military that would go on to trounce Iraq's army twice in 12 years and successfully invade land-locked Afghanistan with a tiny sea-based force of Marines."
Reviewed in Nav District Washington, The Waterline
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
By: Youssef Aboul-Enein
Wise writes about Kuwait?s role in securing a commitment from the United States to protect oil shipping in the Persian Gulf during the Iran-Iraq War. Kuwait played the United States and the Soviet Union against each other to ensure one superpower came to defend vital Persian Gulf sea lanes. During that time, Kuwait set a precedent of providing fuel to the allies who protected its oil shipping lanes. Understanding the political dynamics and U.S. Naval operations in the Persian Gulf of this time period offers valuable insight for our continued presence in this volatile area.


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