Book Review: ‘Stinger: Operation Cyclone’ by Bill Fortin

Angie's Book of the Week | Angie's Diary
Edition #94 – July 1, 2018
Book Review



Rick Fontain is back.  “Stinger” is a Cold War adventure that peers inside the exploits of Congressman Charlie Wilson and CIA’s Task Force Chief Gust Avrakotos. Strange bedfellows they were…. Their alliance proved to be one of the most successful partnerships in the history of the CIA. “Stinger: Operation Cyclone” centers on the results of their efforts.
The adventure begins with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1979. This was the same year that the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. Early in 1982 POTUS called for a plan of action to arm and finance the Afghan Freedom Fighters known as the Mujahideen. Operation Cyclone was the code name assigned to this project.
CIA Officer Mike Vickers, not a participant in this story, was solicited by Avrakotos to help design and roll out the blueprint to equip the Mujahideen. Included in this Covert Action program was the Stinger guided missile. This weapon system would be credited as the major factor in the Russian withdrawal in 1989.
General Gerald Bushman returns as the Director, Defense Intelligence Agency. Rick Fontain, who is now a Member, Technical Staff, of AT&T’s Bell Labs, is brought in for his expertise with the Stinger technology. His familiarity with the Russian gunship, the Mil Mi-24 is just icing on the cake.
Rick is re-united with his Redeye instructor, Andy Davis, and together they lay out a plan to kill buku Russian aircraft. However, the operation stalls in 1982 and does not move forward until Rick thwarts an assassination attempt on one Maalouf Torki bin Taisei. Mr. Taisei is a Malaysian government official. He is also the largest arms dealer on the Pacific Rim.
The KGB gets wind that the Pakistan ISI has agreed to support Operation Cyclone. Their attacks are fierce. However, the result is not what they expect. President Reagan issues a change to the original operation requirements. The gloves come off. Rick Fontain is told to do whatever it takes to get Stinger into the hands of the Afghan Freedom Fighters.
In 1985, Pakistan’s President Zia finally OK’s the American plan to provide the Stinger technology to the Mujahideen. American Special Forces, the Green Beret and DELTA, are assigned to the training center at the ISI’s Ojhri Camp. The CIA’s LTC Jim Pezlola and CWO Gary Larson solicit the Mujahideen Command to provide students for the very first class of Stinger shooters.
Rick takes the graduating class into Afghanistan to the Russian airbase at Bagram. The rest, as they say, is history. Operation Cyclone may not have ended the Cold War, but it certainly weakened the Soviet Union’s resolve. So much so, that in 1993 it financially collapsed.




By Bill Fortin

Passage from Chapter 25

Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport
Wednesday, July 2, 1986, 15:50 Hours
Car Park – Ground Level
Subang International Airport
47200 Subang – Selangor, Malaysia

… Hammad spoke first, “Watch from here, Doctor,” he commanded. “Let’s go,” he said to the driver. Both doors of the Land Cruiser opened, and both men rounded the vehicle parked next to them and headed for the zebra-striped walkway that led the way from the car park to Subang’s main terminal. Instead of crossing the driveway, Hammad and company turned to the right as they exited the car park. They walked casually along the sidewalk until they were directly across the road from the vehicles of interest. The occupants of the vehicles were parked curbside and were entirely focused on the four individuals who had just exited the main terminal.

Hammad turned towards the vehicles and picked up the pace. Hammad and the driver unbuttoned their suit coats and let the sling take the full weight of their .45 CAL ACP Uzi Machine guns. These particular weapons had been upgraded with a conversion kit manufactured by Vector Arms. This modification allowed the Uzi to accept the same style 30-cartridge magazine as the US Army’s M3, better known as a “Grease Gun.” Everyone attending today’s gathering was carrying two spare magazines. Hammad headed directly towards the driver’s side of the Opel, while his driver, Ahmad Haqq, adjusted his angle of approach and walked towards the van parked directly behind. The driver of the van recognized the coming threat and laid on the horn. But it was a split second too late. At a distance of five meters, Hammad crouched slightly, bringing the weapon up to level with his chest. Mr. Haqq repeated the same movement. Hammad fired first, emptying half of the magazine into the front seat of the car. The occupants of the front seat started to jerk uncontrollably. Blood, tissue, and brain matter splattered everywhere within the vehicle. The faces of the two rear occupants registered pure horror as Hammad turned his attention to them.

Mr. Haqq altered his trajectory slightly bringing his weapon up directly in line with the driver’s side window of the van. With his weapon on full automatic, he emptied his entire magazine into the front of the van. The result was so devastating that it was hard to recognize that the former occupants were ever human. Without breaking stride, he continued on his way alongside the vehicle. Mr. Haqq, once the magazine was emptied, pushed the release and flipped the position of the taped together magazines. With his left hand, he pulled back on the charging handle. This action immediately allowed him to empty the second magazine into the side panel of the truck. As he moved to the rear doors of the truck, he was joined by Hammad. The yelling and bloodcurdling screams had ceased halfway through Mr. Haqq’s second clip.

Hammad and Mr. Haqq recharged their weapons as they arrived at the rear doors of the van. Hammad brought his weapon up as Mr. Haqq dropped the weight of the UZI onto its sling and pulled the right-side door to a fully opened position. There were five more individuals contorted in a variety of poses throughout the cabin.

Everyone was quite dead.


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Author Bio

Born September 13, 1948 to William and Dorothy. I received 14 years of Catholic education starting with 8 years at Saint Marks. My high school years were spent at Mount Saint Joseph followed by only one and a half years at Loyola College. This ended abruptly in April of 1968. My friends and neighbors sent me an invitation. I had been drafted.

I served in the United States Army, 3rd Armor Division, from December 1968
to the first part of 1970. That same year I went back to work for the Bell System’s C&P Telephone Company. It wasn’t until 1979 that I received an Associate’s Degree in Programing Languages and in 1981 a Bachelor’s in Business.
In 1980 the Bell System was divested into several different entities. I was recruited into a new AT&T company called American Bell. By 1983 I was just finishing up the Master’s program at the University of Baltimore. I received an advanced degree in the Management Science’s. In 1989 I was asked to join Bell Laboratory’s headquartered in New Jersey.

Bill Fortin

By 1990 I was living and working internationally. AT&T divested once again
and I was recruited into a new branch of the Bell Labs. It was a company
called Lucent Technologies. The next twelve years I supported a sales territory as large as the planet earth. In July of 2001, 2 months before the attack on the World Trade Center, I and 2 other Bell Labs members started a private corporation called Integrated Building Solutions, INC. I still run this company today.

By 2012 I had settled my family in the western part of Maryland. It was that
year while transporting Redhawk, a Quarter horse, to a medical facility in
Pennsylvania; I had a flashback to 1970. That was the year I had been discharged from the Army.

The cause of my memory recall was the turnpike signage that pointed to the VA Hospital at Perryville. I knew at that moment that the exploits of my Cold Warriors of 40 plus years passed had waited long enough to be told.

The result was a novel entitled Redeye Fulda Cold. I had retired from Bell Labs in 2001, I’m currently the CEO of IBS, Inc., specializing in systems engineering. My wife Judy, a gaggle of Border Collies, and other 4 legged and featured companions reside in the rolling hills of Westminster, Maryland.

The novel Redeye Fulda Cold is a complete accounting of my time in service told through the fictional
character, Rick Fontain

Find Bill on:
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