ADM.WILLIAM H. MCRAVEN, frmr Commander U.S. Special Operations Command
“… Never Mind We’ll Do It Ourselves, will give every American confidence that “the right stuff” still exists in the DNA of our intelligence and military professionals. Their boldness, ingenuity, courage and commitment changed the face of warfare forever and saved countless lives in the process. As a wartime commander, I will always be in their debt.”
GEN.DAVID PETRAEUS, frmr Commander of the Surge in Iraq, US Central Command, & US & Coalition Forces in Afghanistan, & frmr Director of the CIA
“… An extraordinary, riveting, page-turning account—finally cleared for publication by the CIA—of the once highly classified effort by the CIA and special military units to develop a truly game-changing, transformational capability: armed drones.”
JOE GALLOWAY (legendary journalist & author!) “We Were Soldiers Once, & Young”
“… What a stunning, fine read is Never Mind We’ll Do It Ourselves! Alec Bierbauer, Col. Mark Cooter, and Michael Marks tell the real story behind the birth of US drones, armed and dangerous, in the dawn of the War on Terror. The first shot came in October of 2001 when the World Trade Center was still smoldering in ruins. This is not about high-ranking poohbahs taking courageous decisions. It is about guys with nicknames: Boom Boom, The Man With Two Brains, Joker, Albert. How they used velcro and duct tape to wire together control systems and Hellfire Missiles strapped below Predator Drones, the Lawnmower Machine. Read it! Enjoy it! Learn from it!”
THE BOOK THE CIA DIDN’T WANT YOU TO READ
“Seldom am I at a loss for words, but this is one of those times. I just finished binge reading the book, and wow, did you guys ever hit out of the park! I was up until 2:00AM last night reading with my wife prodding me “when are you coming to bed?” to which I’d reply “just one more chapter” knowing that was a lie J I’d finished 250 pages before I got too tired to do anymore. So I went to bed, but my mind wouldn’t shut down thinking about all the things we’d seen and done during the those early days. I tossed, turned, and finally got a couple of hours of sleep before I woke up and started reading the rest of the story.
I can’t thank you guys enough for telling this story and getting it in black and white before our memories fade with time. I’d already forgotten some of the details that you guys captured, but it was like a light switch turning back on. Oh yeah, that‘s right, I remember that now. In a few more years it may not be that way.
I liked the format going back and forth between Alec and Mark and really enjoyed reading your stories Alec. I had no idea of how a many of the higher level decisions were made on your end, at times I though you guys asked a magic 8 ball and went with whatever it said to do J. But seriously, it was good reading, educational, and I’m glad that wasn’t the case. I wouldn’t have wanted your job, but the agency couldn’t have picked a better person for the job than you.
Coot, thanks for the kind words. I’ve never worked for a better leader in my Air Force career than you, and I mean that. The Air Force couldn’t have picked a better person to lead it. I’m thankful, honored, and humbled to have had the opportunity to serve with you, and the very best team of people our Air Force could put together for this project.
Michael, you did a fantastic job of stitching all these stories together into something that flows naturally and good doses of humor where needed too. I got a chuckle today out of firing the first shot at Robert’s ridge being described as a million dollar transnational weed eater. I’m honored to have had to opportunity to meet you.”
– Cliffy, Comm Team Leader
“Excellent read! While the pages spill over with technical jargon and concepts, the authors craftily decipher and explain their world in ways an outsider might find familiar.
Until now, popular perception of the Predator has been left to Hollywood and the media. If you’re looking for a perspective from the inside of this “unmanned” weapon system, this book shines a light on the small team of men and women who exemplify what makes us great.
Technology aside, there is a bigger theme that permeates throughout this fast read—stubborn disregard of the status quo—a lesson to gain and apply in all walks of life.”
– EJ, 5-star Amazon Review
“I ordered this book because I know some of the folks who were a part of it. I thought I’d just peruse it but I haven’t been able to put it down. It’s fast moving and full of insider info—I can’t believe it got government clearance. Very cool book.”
– JD, 5-star Amazon Review
Group of people going above and beyond the call of duty.
“Loved the real life story of group of multi talented people, working, through technical, bureaucracy,situational nature. Proud of brother Mark and all of the team for their commitment, drive and fortitude to make things happen and develop 21st century air warfare tactics.
Powerful account of modern ISR warfare.
“Brilliant account of the spirit of ingenuity and drive to break through the constraints of modern warfare to use ISR to get the job done. Quick, but extremely captivating read, a must for Intel and ISR professionals, and military warfare enthusiasts.”
– Jeanette R-B, 5-star Amazon Review
A true tale by some American Heroes, a real page-turner and must read.
“Amazing and a must read. Everyday Americans who have heard of drone strikes and seen drove footage on the news to Special Operators will all be engaged by this page-turner. I love the parallel chapters by the two main gentlemen who lived through working out the technical, strategic and tactical applications. Awesome job. Reinforces our Patriotic Pride in what our warriors do to make things work.”
– Robert Nagel, 5-star Amazon Review
Great book, well worth reading!
“Call me a flag-waving romantic, but I love old-school military stories like A Band of Brothers — stories that celebrate the fraternity of military service and the unbreakable American spirit. Stories about people that rise to a great challenge. Stories where the good guys win against all odds.
Never Mind, We’ll Do It Ourselves is one of those books — and its all true, too. As I read it I felt like I was sitting at a bar with authors Bierbauer, Cooter and Marks, listening to the highs and lows, the bloopers and the highlight reel moments alike. I laughed in places (like “We got Earl”) and dabbed at my eyes when reading about Americans tragically lost on the battlefield.
This isn’t some dry textbook on how to build a drone. It isn’t the detailed history of unmanned flight or a study on policy and tactics. This book is a ticket to sit in a pilot seat inside a steel box, flying a missile-armed remote controlled plane on the far side of the planet. It is a chance to walk inside the hallways of CIA headquarters as the planes crashed on 9-11, or stand in the rain in the middle of the street when the bodies of those killed on the USS Cole drive by in hearse after hearse. (The protagonist got mad as hell, and you will too.)
It is a chance to meet the people on the front line of the creation of Predator as an armed platform and see how people in EVERY role found ways to bring their own special talents to the game in one of those “dream team” stories. After what has been a long drought of negative tone and bad news in the media, this book was uplifting, enlightening and entertaining. I highly recommend it!”
– SigShooter228, 5-star Amazon Review
“This book came recommended by a good friend. Though I never worked with Mark Cooter, we met at Langley AFB 1994. His reputation is legendary in the ops intel world. This book gave so much insight into the RQ-1 program over Afghanistan. I’m sure this will require one or more rereads.”
– Kevin L. Hopkins, 5-star Amazon Review
A thorough, raw, authentic read!
“They finally arrived!! Thanks to Alec Bierbauer & Mark Cooter for making the journey to tell this drone warfare revolution story. Troy was on this team. I am looking forward to understanding what I was not allowed to know when we were deployed to the DC area after 911. Could not put it down!”
– Amazon Customer, 5-star Amazon Review
“One word “Inspirational”. I loved reading this amazing book. It is full of facts and the history of the period. Yet, the style of the writing and the humor makes it entertaining to read. You are with Mark and Alec as you are cheering for their team thru all the road blocks and unexpected joys of success. I have renewed pride in our military to see their ability to work together for the good of all Americans. This book is the outline for all kinds of groups and teams, business or political, to humbly work together to continue to create the “Made in America” innovations!”
– Liz M, 5-star Amazon Review
A must read if you are interested in……..
“…….the story behind the development of armed drone warfare (UAV) and the success of real teamwork. I could not put this book down it was so gripping. The story of multiple DoD and National asset agencies working together, at the worker bee level was fantastic. Tons of acronyms exceptionally well explained without detracting from the readability. A must read!!”
– Joseph Davis, 5-star Amazon Review
Well written, well paced, great read!
“As someone who had to work the bureaucracy (both government and corporate) to get things done and appreciated the important contributions the right mix of skilled people can make, and who also put the mission over the career, I had much to identify with and appreciate about this book. I was never in harm’s way as these folks were and very much appreciate their service and sacrifice and ability to help and support those who were in harm’s way. Still, this well told story of adapting whatever technology they could find, even if it had not been used that way before will resonate with many like myself. Great job guys in achieving your missions and in telling this story.”
– GH, 5-star Amazon Review
Could be a thriller–couldn’t put it down
“The fact that the CIA fought for four years to stop this book from being published tells you all you need to know — it’s the real deal. Reading like a thriller, but all real-life stories from the men who created the Predator program, it’s as close as you’re going to get to the inside of a CIA black program.
This book focuses on the period right before 9/11 and the years after that as this team figured out how to operate the Predator from across the world and then to arm it with Hellfire missiles. Despite equal parts of technical challenges and political challenges, they used every trick they had to “do it themselves”, finally proving that drones could be an effective weapon from afar.
If you like true cloak-and-dagger stories, this book is a must. It’s also a fascinating inside look at the future of war. Highly recommended”
– Chris Anderson, 5-star Amazon Review