About the first two books written by Colonel Jim Roper, USAF, Retired    




Laos Secret Air War Revealed in Action Memoir

The Air Force lost 493 aircraft in Laos, dropping more bombs than on Germany in World War II. Jim Roper served in the thick of the secret air war in 1970, and he tells all in Quoth the Raven, released in June, 2002 under the AmErica House logo.

Like U.S. Special Forces in recent Afghanistan operations, his job was to locate targets. Roper was a Forward Air Controller, or FAC, piloting the O-2, O-1, and U-17--unarmed spotter planes--searching for the North Vietnamese enemy. And he found them.

"All this stuff really happened," Roper says. "I wrote the book to remember fallen FAC brothers." Roper is a retired USAF colonel living in Virginia.

Roper's first assignment to Pleiku, South Vietnam, places him on a collision course with his commander, who issues nonsensical orders and refuses to fly combat. By night, Roper dodges gunners on the Ho Chi Minh Trail. He also flies top cover for Special Forces teams. These three battle fronts reach a furious pace until Roper volunteers for duty with the legendary Raven FACs, who wore civilian clothes, flew unmarked planes, and lived at remote sites in Laos.

He dodges fire in close support of Laotian forces, and after his boss is killed, he takes a hard look at what he's doing, and where his life is going.

"I've written two books," Roper says. "The second is also a memoir of flying and fighting. Both won awards at the Pikes Peak Writers Conference, and I couldn't have reached the publishable level without the help of another retired Air Force colonel, Jimmie H. Butler."

Roper is married to the former Elizabeth McCarthy, an Air Force officer. He lives in Colorado Sprigs as a military spouse.


Fighter Pilot Memoir Shows Early Days of Army Generals

Author Jim Roper, announces the April 9, 2004  release of his second book, Aardvarks and Rangers, the story of a fighter pilot immersion into the infantry─and not the the regular force, but the elite Army Rangers. Generals John Abizaid and Dave Barno, prominent in the war on terror, were captains who commanded rifle companies in the First Ranger Battalion.

"I completed the book before these gentlemen came to national prominence," Roper, a retired Air Force Colonel, contends. "Captain Abizaid always led from the very front, and Dave Barno showed strong feelings for his troops. Several others in that great battalion earned stars."

They were all tested in Grenada, the short notice rescue of American medical students on the island of Grenada in October, 1983, Operation Urgent Fury. "We were our own worst enemy there, much like Vietnam," says Roper, whose first book, Quoth the Raven, shows his part in the  secret air war over Laos. "But ingenuity and the self-generated momentum of a Ranger Battalion overcame planning shortfalls."

Roper begins as pilot of the supersonic F-111 (called the Aardvark.) Being grounded by the personnel system, he changes his battle cry from "hair on fire" to "hooah," dodging a desk in favor of liaison duty with the Rangers. His weapon is his radio, not his rifle, but he endures the daily Ranger regimen so he can keep up and provide air support. Danger, misery, and a stream of self-deprecating humor swirl together as the author reveals modern American warfare up close. Much of his special operations experience evolved the techniques used in today's war on terror.



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