The OH-58D Kiowa Warrior-a deep reconnaissance scout and attack aircraft-was legendary to those it supported. Regularly flying mere feet off of the ground while intentionally drawing enemy fire, almost everyone called Kiowa pilots crazy. Responsible for hunting elusive enemy fighters and protecting those under their charge, Kiowa crews displayed a fierce and intense devotion that was unparalleled.
Through the vantage point of a Kiowa Warrior helicopter pilot in the U.S. Army's Air Cavalry, Scouts Out! offers a truly unique view of the war in Afghanistan. This is accomplished by revealing a deeply personal journey through two deployments, documenting the day-to-day life, struggles, combat, and extreme challenges faced. The after effects of these experiences can be witnessed as Ryan's outlook and very personality are forever altered and changed in unexpected ways. Drawing from copious journals and notes, everything captured in Scouts Out! is raw, real, and in-the-moment. In addition to Ryan's writing, other Kiowa pilots have contributed written accounts which add further balance and enhancement to the story.
Of critical importance to note, an approachable style was maintained that always kept the non-military reader in mind. The result is an immersive and rounded out experience which gives a fascinating glimpse into the little known operations of a Kiowa Warrior squadron participating in Operation Enduring Freedom.
Richly illustrated with 70 original photographs and maps, Scouts Out! presents an essential and accurate narrative of the conflict in Afghanistan, something that has rarely been shared with the public. Devoid of the filler and misleading propaganda that is so pervasive in modern media and writing, Scouts Out! is an engrossing true story from America's longest and least understood war.
A top-notch revelation about the American military through the eyes of a Kiowa pilot.
In slightly more than 400 pages, a Kiowa pilot Ryan Robicheaux recalls his path in the military service and two deployments in Afghanistan.
The author based his book, 'Scouts Out!: A Kiowa Warrior Pilot's Perspective of War in Afghanistan,' on the journal entries taken during his service. As the author reveals, it took years to transform the notes into a consistent narration, and the main force that pushed him forward was a promise to his grandmother to tell the world what had been happening in Afghanistan. The author couldn't have chosen a more appropriate time for his book's release: 2021 showed that there is no - and has never been - a simple, clear-cut resolution to the chaos in this Middle Eastern country. The book by Ryan Robicheaux illuminates the reckless steps that led to the disaster, evident to the people inside the military and concealed from the broad public.
The raw account of the everyday life of an Army pilot, of missions, both excruciating and full of camaraderie, of gradual changes in the policies; that's the elements that make the book a page-turner. The narrative is peppered sometimes with blatant humour, sometimes with heart-wrenching details. Children's letters sent to random soldiers serving in Afghanistan are placed at the beginning of some chapters to highlight the stark contrast between the children's innocent view of the war and the reality. To document the events that he wasn't a witness to, the author also uses recollections of his comrades.
The book's target audience is non-military readers who need to know the insider's side of the story to remember 'the forgotten war.' I'd gladly recommend the book to any reader, military or not, who is willing to think outside the media-sponsored box. You'll find in the book everything a well-written memoir can offer: a timely topic, fresh viewpoint on the subject, and the winsome style.
I received an advance review copy through Reedsy Discovery, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
"Scout's Out" is a heart-wrenching, emotional and adrenaline fueled first person account of US Army helicopter pilot's Chief Warrant Officer Ryan "Robo" Robicheaux', personal resilience and esprit de corps during combat Operation "Enduring Freedom " in Afghanistan. Battling the elements, terrain, US chain of command and "Rules of Engagement" (which at times appeared to provide the enemy with a tactical and strategic advantage) , Aviators of 3-17 Cavalry (Attack Helicopter) Squadron took the fight to the enemy in order to defeat and defang Al Qaeda and Taliban militants while stabilizing a rogue nation during two hair-raising one year deployments. From the get-go "Robo" takes the reader to flight on an adrenaline fueled high, following in the lineage of "Alexander the Great's" campaign to pacify the region in the 4th century and the Russian "Red Army's" efforts to control feudal Afghani Warlords in the 20th century, in his two seat Kiowa Scout Helicopter at 150 miles per hour over some of the most grueling terrain in the world. With the Hindu Kush mountain range towering at over twenty-four thousand feet dominating the Afghan Skyline to the Turkestan Plains where the "poppy fields " glow with opium, Robo takes the fight to an elusive enemy at an elevation as low as a few feet to heights of as high as ten thousand feet in support of an international coalition of countries (some their to fight and die and some nations simply their for show). Day after day, flying four to twelve hours a day in the cramped two seat helicopter, firing machine gun and rockets, Robo places himself (and his Kiowa Helicopter) in harm's way in direct support of conventional and unconventional/special operations forces units conducting combat and nation building humanitarian missions in support of the civilian Afghani population. Quite simply, Robo is an American fighting for freedom for others, like his forefather's in World War II, his father in Vietnam and his brother in Iraq. Robo's "Scout's Out" account of his personal day to day grind and stress of combat is simply the best recent military literary work on the unique conditions facing a warrior on today's 21st Century battlefield. Regardless of your personal stance on the war in Afghanistan, "Scout's Out" is a must read for any student of warfare or leader of men or women in the military or civilian professions. I have a better understanding of the complexity of war (from above) and stresses of war on Soldiers and Families because of Robo's "Scout's Out". Bravo Zulu/Well Done! Review by, Colonel Anthony Francia, US Army (Retired), certified Historian/Strategist, Social Studies Teacher/Educator and veteran of multiple combat tours to Iraq during 34+ years of military service (enlisted and commissioned)
Evermore poignant in these raw post war days, Robicheaux’s Scouts Out regales the journey of a modern soldier. From driven student pilot to contemplative veteran we ride aloft as our eyes are opened to what was Afghanistan’s ever present yet out of mind warzone.
Documenting two deployments to Afghanistan, we are told of adventures of danger-close air support to ground forces despite the hobbling and bureaucratic rules of engagement.
Readers will be left more aware of the complex and seemingly impossible dilemmas of war. Scouts Out is an effective primer to help us contemplate the problems ahead as a nation is rebuilt.
As a former service member and friend of Ryan Robicheaux, I purchased a hard copy of this book. I was there for the parts of the book beginning in the 2012 time-frame and then deployed alongside Ryan for OEF XIII.
This is a fantastic account of what we faced. Although his perspective differs from mine, it brought up memories and emotions that I had thought forgotten. It was real, visceral and challenging for me to read through. The rawness of what is written and how it is written speaks volumes of the unfiltered nature of the Kiowa Warrior community. This book gives, what I consider, one of the few accounts of the absolute nonsense and hardship that we went through - and not all from our enemies. This book took me back and I was damn-near reliving that deployment whenever I was reading it.
For those that were with us and those that have deployed to Afghanistan, if you have not read it, prepare yourself for an emotional ride that makes you relive those moments. For the non-military people, get ready for what the news and high-up Department of Defense leadership didn't want getting out. Truthfully this just scratches the surface, and it blew me away.
Excellent book. The battle accounts were both descriptive and gripping. The interactions with the locals and the descriptions of the scenery and locations made it easy to imagine how difficult the situation became. I highly recommend the book.
I find it difficult to find the words to adequately describe my feelings after reading this book. ‘Thank you ‘ really doesn’t do justice to the appreciation I felt for not only the team but the overall service members which we (Americans) sent them to accomplish. Much like the author, I’m ashamed by the politics and ridiculousness with which our military leaders shamelessly caved. There are two positive takeaways. 0ne - your efforts and endurance of the BS saved lives of the red white and blue. Two. You found your way through all this and have a wonderful family to enjoy. Lastly, someday I hope to ride on the back while you drive me with that same ethic and dedication to my destination served by your airline.
This is a firsthand account of everything that The War in Afghanistan was, told by someone with a unique viewpoint to all the bravery and stupidity that transpired. As a Kiowa pilot his unit acted much like a fire brigade, rapidly responding to any hotspot in their area of operations at a moments notice, with all the uncertainty and chaos that goes along with that.
This isn’t a book about strategy, or about how everything that we did there was right. This is an unflinching first person account of war, with all that it entails: bravery, stupidity, cowardice, incompetent leaders, absurd rules of engagement, brotherhood and sacrifice.
I was inspired to read this book because of the admiration I had of the Kiowa pilots I saw fly in support of my unit in Afghanistan. Despite us being from a different country, they flew with utter and complete disregard for their own safety in order to support us when we were in trouble. This book helped give me an insight into their culture and how they lived and fought.
This book also gives insight into how the war went wrong, about the policies and incompetence that led to the downfall of Afghanistan. But despite how things have gone in Afghanistan, stories like these are important, to understand what happened and the incredible bravery displayed by countless people despite a world that had all but given up on the war before it ever ended.
This is an important book. It is a grunt's experience, except he is not in infantry -- he's a Kiowa helicopter pilot, first in a more rural area and second in Kandahar, in Afghanistan. Thus there is all the explanation of how the Kiowas are made and what they can do and how they are utilized to help ground troops get 'the bad guys.' Then mission after mission after mission, which is rather 'grunt-ish' to my mind.
What is unique is the author's growing political awareness, not only of the Afghan government but also of our military milieu. The Afghans are corrupted by money; the higher ups in our military are corrupted by career advancement. The initial experiences are in about 2010, and yet what we have just seen in August of 2021 was observable even then. Our military was reluctant to get out because war is what they do, and since we had an undeclared war with unclear and ambiguous goals, it was easy to focus on what Ambrose in A Band of Brothers calls "chicken shit" -- making a big deal of not much.
Robicheaux survives with integrity, in great measure because of an off-the-wall macabre sense of humor and many many many good friends.
Ryan did a wonderful job of relating the humanity of the mission. The reader got to experience the frustrations and the triumphs...definitely opened my eyes to what was not said in the media. We do not realize the sacrifices being made every day for the privileges we hold dear...thank you!