Declared Hostile

Kevin Miller

Declared Hostile

To my mother, Margaret, who taught us

how to forgive, and how to be forgiven


No sooner was Raven One published when both my editor and publisher said I needed to write another one.

The warm reception my first novel has received is gratifying, and I’m told readers appreciate the authenticity of the action and especially the inside politics of squadron life with real people, all of them flawed, as all of us are.

Declared Hostile will also pull back the curtain of my former world as we explore another theater of operations, this one in our own hemisphere, and no less important to our national defense than the actions taking place in the Central Command Area of Responsibility in the Middle East.

I am in debt to those who helped me research the geostrategic situation of the area in which this novel takes place and suggest improvements to the rough manuscript. My War College classmate Rear Admiral Vince Atkins, U.S. Coast Guard, was instrumental to my understanding of the region and the pol/mil interplay of the many and diverse state and non-state actors involved. My trusted shipmate Captain Will Dossel, USN (Ret.) provided valuable story edits and detailed knowledge of threat systems that serve to enhance the realism of a plausible future scenario. Captain Kevin Hutcheson, USN (Ret.), a loyal friend since flight school, freely shared his thoughts on the moral aspects of warfare, the subject of his remarkable and well-researched doctoral thesis. A friend and squadronmate for almost as long, Captain Bill Johnson, USN (Ret.), contributed numerous edits that forced me to reassess the meanings of my passages and tighten them down for greater impact. Admiral Tim Keating, USN (Ret.), another trusted shipmate and friend, provided fascinating insights into the exercise of national power and high level command and control. Captain John Stevenson, USN (Ret.), my flight lead and mentor of many years, offered his thoughtful suggestions on leadership topics and kind encouragement to keep going and tell a story that needs to be told.

Fellow author and friend Kevin Lacz, a former Navy Special Operator, was free with his time and most helpful on how Special Operating Forces could play into scenarios I was contemplating. Shipmates, thank you for your assistance and friendship.

Two trusted agents, Chandler and Count, were key to my ability to insert the cockpit realism of today’s naval aircraft into the flying scenarios when my experiences from the last century fell short. Thanks guys.

My superb editor and faithful friend Linda Wasserman of Pelican Press Pensacola did another outstanding job in editing this novel. Her love of and devotion to the English language is evident, and that coupled with her extraordinary attention to detail is a winning combination. Declared Hostile is Linda’s second “deployment” with me, and, as with my other shipmates, it is an honor and privilege to serve alongside a true professional. Linda, well done!

The genius of Jeff Edwards and his micro publishing labels Stealth Books (and the newly-launched Braveship Books) was not completely evident to me when I joined his stable of authors. An outstanding and accomplished writer, Jeff saw the possibilities of the digital revolution where an independent author could succeed while writing the book he or she wants. If you like naval genre fiction, Jeff’s USS Towers trilogy is a must, and readers of military action adventure and cutting edge science fiction should check out the offerings of Braveship Books and Stealth Books. Both imprints specialize in smart books for smart readers.

My family, led by Terry, has been supportive of my hours of solitary toil spent writing and editing. This is the same love and devotion she gave me during my years in uniform, allowing me to serve as I did. Without question Terry and spouses like her that kept the home fires burning served/serve our country and society. To paraphrase another noted naval aviation novelist, where do we get such women?

Military leaders seek responsibility and take ownership. Flaws found in Declared Hostile are 100 % my responsibility.

CAPT Kevin Miller USN (Ret.)

Summer 2016

Glossary of Jargon and Acronyms

1MC — ship’s public address system

5MC — flight deck loudspeaker system

20mm — Twenty millimeter cannon round, the size of an FA-18 and CIWS bullet, also known as “twenty mike-mike.”

AAA — Anti-Aircraft-Artillery; Pronounced “Triple-A.”

Afterburner — FA-18 engine setting that provides extra power by igniting raw fuel creating a controlled overpressure. Also known as “burner,” “blower,” “max,” or “light the cans.”

Air Boss — Officer in Primary Flight Control (ship’s control tower) responsible for aircraft operations on deck out to five miles from ship.

AMRAAM — Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AIM-120)

AMV Aviación Militar Nacional Bolivariana de Venezuela (current name of the Venezuelan Air Force).

Angels — altitude in thousands of feet. “Angels six” = 6,000 feet

ARG — Amphibious Ready Group

ATFLIR — Advanced Targeting Forward Looking Infrared. IR targeting sensor placed on fuselage mounted missile station.

AWACS — Airborne Warning and Control System; aka E-3 Sentry aircraft

Bandit — confirmed enemy airborne contact; also known as ‘“hostile.”

Bingo — emergency fuel state divert from ship to shore base.

Bogey unknown airborne contact

Bolter — tailhook flies past or skips over arresting wires, requiring a go-around for another attempt.

BRA — Bearing, Range, Altitude

CAG — Carrier Air Wing Commander; formerly Commander, Air Group

CAP — Combat Air Patrol

Cat — catapult

CDC — Combat Decision Center

CG — Guided Missile Cruiser

CIWS — Close-in Weapon System; surface ship 20mm gun primarily for terminal airborne threats.

CO — Commanding Officer; in aviation squadrons known as “skipper;” on ships, “Captain.”

COD — Carrier On-Board Delivery. The C-2 Greyhound logistics aircraft is known as “the COD.”

CPA — Closest Point of Approach

CVIC — Aircraft Carrier Intelligence Center

CVW — Carrier Air Wing

DCAG — Deputy Carrier Air Wing Commander

DDG — Guided Missile Destroyer

EP-3 — signals reconnaissance variant of P-3 Orion aircraft, aka Aires.

FAVFuerza Aérea Venezolana (former name of the Venezuelan Air Force).

Fire Scout — popular name of MQ-8C unmanned helicopter.

Flag officer — admirals or generals… but typically a navy term for admiral.

Flanker — NATO code name for Su-27 series aircraft, to include the Su-30.

FLIR — Forward Looking Infra-Red. Targeting pod that detects heat contrasts. Aka ATFLIR.

Fox — radio call associated with firing of air-to-air missile with type. “Fox-2” = Sidewinder.

Fragged — as planned or previously assigned. “Proceed as fragged.”

Fulcrum — NATO code name for MiG-29 series aircraft.

g — the force of gravity. “4 g’s” is four times the force of gravity.

GPS — Global Positioning System

Growler — popular name of EA-18G Airborne Electronic Attack aircraft, a Super Hornet variant.

Gunner — squadron ordnance officer; typically a Chief Warrant Officer specially trained in weapons handling and loading.

HARM — High Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (AGM-88) used to home in on radar energy.

Hawkeye — popular name for E-2C Early Warning aircraft, also known as the Hummer.

Hellfire — popular name for AGM-114 air-to-surface missile.

Helo — helicopter

Hornetpopular name for FA-18C Strike Fighter.

HS — Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron

HSC — Helicopter Combat Support Squadron

HUD — Head-Up Display. Glass display in front of FA-18 pilot that depicts aircraft and weapons delivery information.

ICS — Inter Cockpit Communication System

IP — Initial Point

ISR — Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnai ...

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