DPJ Book Review: Centerline

David (Dave) McIntyre, a name well known in the field of homeland security, has written his first novel. Many in the U.S. armed forces who have already read the book have highly recommended it.

The concept of “Centerline” was created when Dave spoke with his son Sam shortly after the young soldier had returned from his second tour flying C-130s in Iraq. Sam told his dad about racing a huge sandstorm to an airbase just outside Baghdad. In most circumstances, he would have diverted, but the medical crew in the back said that several of the aircraft’s more critically injured passengers would die if they did not get to the base’s critical-care facility immediately.

As Sam talked about landing in what are called zero-zero conditions – i.e., no visibility, either vertically or horizontally – Dave suddenly remembered that only five years earlier he had been reluctant to loan the family car to this immature college student. Dave was now listening to a different man – a professional military officer, mature far beyond his years.

“Centerline” is a fact-based, fictional account of a C-130 flight, and its medical crew, taking wounded warriors home for Christmas. It tells the arresting story of the last leg of that journey through the eyes of the patients, the crew, and the medical caregivers. Each person on board has a unique individual story of hopes, dreams, fears, and even a few regrets as the aircraft wings its human cargo home through dangerously bad weather – frequently punctuated by emotional flashbacks and difficult in-flight emergencies. “Everybody who goes to war gets shot,” one soldier says. “Some in the body. Some in the head. Some in the heart.”

McIntyre has all of the professional credentials needed to write such an inspiring and insightful novel. He taught English at West Point (and wrote his master’s thesis on American war novels). He also served as the Dean of Academics and Faculty at the U.S. National War College in Washington, D.C. In writing “Centerline,” he worked in close collaboration with Jay Lavender, a Hollywood writer/producer. McIntyre’s two sons – Roy, a third-generation Army ranger, and Sam, a U.S. Air Force pilot who recently returned from his 11th combat deployment – assisted in the technical editing.

There already are plans to turn “Centerline” into a movie or a television mini-series. An “author’s discussion” about the series, and about the novel itself, is scheduled, as a major feature, on 18 September, of this year’s AFA (Air Force Association) Convention in Washington, D.C. The official release of “Centerline” (the novel) is scheduled – most appropriately – for Veterans Day, 11 November 2012, but advance copies and e-book versions are already available for purchase. Following, provided by the publisher, are a few comments made by other early readers of this outstanding book:

“Centerline” is a great novel … a thrilling, high-action page-turner that also captures the story of what many Americans fail to appreciate – the post-9/11 sacrifices … [made by] our armed forces and the families who support them. The tactical flight operations and ground combat scenes are real – not Hollywood, and the stories of wounded warriors and the military medical teams that care for them are unforgettable.” – General William (Bill) J. Begert, USAF (Ret.), former Commander, Pacific Air Forces

“Centerline” captures the passion, dedication, heartbreak, and triumph of combat medicine and aeromedical evacuation in a way no reader can forget. Not every hero is at the front. Not every act of valor takes place under fire. This is an important story. I am glad to see it told right. – Lieutenant General Paul K. Carlton Jr., USAF (Ret.), former Surgeon General of the Air Force

“Centerline” is the realistic and compelling story of the “battle” after the fight is over. … Military members, some injured and some not, yet all having to deal with the issues of career, family, health, recovery, and frequent exposure to the trauma of combat. An excellent story highlighting aspects of sacrifice … frequently hidden from public view. – General William S. Wallace, USA (Ret.), former Commander, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command and Commander, U.S. Army V Corps, during the ground invasion of Iraq

“Centerline” is a superb fast-paced novel that realistically captures the spirit and emotion of Americans involved in seeing that our wounded warriors are professionally cared for. The artful description of a C130 flying low level brought back many memories … of bouncing around in a darkened cargo hold, tethered to the floor by a sling rope, as we approached an unlit airfield. The story of how our wounded return to their loved ones is told in a very powerful way … “Centerline” is an awesome read. – Command Sergeant Major Michael A. Kelso, USA (Ret.), a member of the Ranger Hall of Fame

I was a combat medic on the front end of the global military medical system that McIntyre describes – until an RPG [rocket-propelled grenade] made me a critical-care patient. As someone who has experienced an arduous medical journey through this system – from serving in Afghanistan to treatment at Walter Reed (40 operations) and, finally, back home to Mississippi, I learned a great deal of all the processes unseen to me as a casualty. – C. J. (“Doc”) Stewart, Former Medic in the 101st Airborne Division, Wounded in Afghanistan, 15 June 2010


For additional information on: Purchasing an advance copy of “Centerline,” visit www.centerlinethebook.com.

The 2012 AFA Convention in Washington, D.C., visit https://www.afa.org/

Randall (Randy) Larsen

Colonel Randall (Randy) Larsen, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), is the founding director of the Institute for Homeland Security and the author of “Our Own Worst Enemy: Asking the Right Questions About Security to Protect You, Your Family, and America” (Warner Books, 2007). He retired from the Air Force in July 2000 after serving in both the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force (USAF) for a combined total of 32 years. His flying career, which included 400 combat missions in Vietnam as an officer in the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division, began as a 19-year-old Cobra pilot. His Air Force service included a tour as commanding officer of the USAF’s fleet of VIP aircraft at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.



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