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Ironclaw Bookcover

 

 

 

Ironclaw
~ A Navy Carrier Pilot's War Experience ~
by Sherman Baldwin

 

Just ten days out of land-based training and on the eve of the Persian Gulf War, Lieutenant Junior Grade Sherman Baldwin was assigned to Air Wing Five's EA-6B Prowler Squadron - call sign Ironclaw - aboard the USS MIDWAY. Flying the Prowler attack aircraft, Baldwin, his crew of three flight officers, and the rest of their squadron were responsible for identifying, jamming, and destroying enemy radar.

Ironclaw is one of the most compelling accounts yet of life on a carrier at war. For the readers of Flight of the Intruder and Yeager, Baldwin brilliantly captures the excitement and risk faced by naval aviators. He takes the reader from below decks in the mission-planning room, where the day's combat assignment is handed out, to the deck of the MIDWAY, where jets are catapulted over the Persian Gulf, and into the cockpit - offering an unprecedented look at what it feels like to control one of the world's most sophisticated - and powerful - military machines.

Life on the MIDWAY is not without its lighter moments, however, and Baldwin shows how humor and camaraderie are a naval tradition. Populated with characters like "Beast," "Chief Rat," and "Simba," the bunk rooms, mess halls, and planning rooms present as much of a challenge to a "nugget," or rookie, as the cockpit of the Prowler.

Ultimately, Desert Shield becomes Desert Storm, and Baldwin propels the reader full force into combat. Whether he is refueling from a KC-135 tanker in midair, flying through flak over enemy territory, or landing on the pitching deck of the MIDWAY at night, Baldwin's experiences are as unforgettable as they are thrilling. Told with an intensity and expertise that even Tom Clancy would envy, Ironclaw is combat writing at its best.

 

 

 

Ironclaw Hardcover

 

Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 0688143032
September 1996
Publisher: Morrow/Avon
288 pages, Illustrated

Ironclaw Paperback

 

Format: Paperback
ISBN: 0553577484
September 1997
Publisher: Morrow/Avon
320 pages, Illustrated

Ironclaw Paperback

 

Format: Paperback
ISBN: 1450212581
December 2010
Publisher: iUniverse, Inc.
328 pages, Illustrated

This book is sold in hardcover, paperback and Kindle formats by many locations online. To find your copy, please perform an online search using the following keywords:

 

"Sherman Baldwin Ironclaw"

 

 

 

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Also by Sherman Baldwin ~ Growing Up with Harry

 

Growing up with Harry

 

Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 0595698077
May 2008
Publisher: iUniverse, Inc.
152 pages

Growing up with Harry

 

Format: Paperback
ISBN: 0595452914
June 2008
Publisher: iUniverse, Inc.
148 pages

Overview -


"What would Harry do?" is a question author Sherman Baldwin asks himself when faced with a difficult decision. Henry "Harry" deForest Baldwin is his father who died in 1997 at the age of sixty-six after a battle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. Harry was a man of character.

This personal memoir captures that character and the strong values Harry exhibited to his family and friends during his lifetime. Harry lived by the credos that character is what you do when no one's looking, to do the right thing when faced with a difficult choice, to be a good friend, and to persevere when life seems hard.

Growing Up with Harry represents a touching, insightful, and intensely human series of stories offering a glimpse of Harry's life in Roxbury, Connecticut - from his work as a lawyer, to his love of dogs, gardening, and the outdoors. The stories reflect his beliefs in honor, duty, courage, commitment, honesty, integrity, persistence, and love of family.

Offering universal life lessons, this memoir demonstrates that families are a sum of their stories. Whether the stories are happy or sad, they have value because they pass life lessons to the next generations.

 

This book is sold in hardcover, paperback and Kindle formats by many locations online. To find your copy, please perform an online search using the following keywords:

 

"Sherman Baldwin Growing Up with Harry"

 

Website: Growing Up with Harry

 

 

 

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~ Praise for Ironclaw ~

 

Sherman Baldwin is a superb writer whose descriptions of flying high-performance jets off the carrier MIDWAY in the Gulf War bring the reader right into the cockpit. Authentic, top-notch stuff."

- Vice Admiral James B. Stockdale,
USN (Ret.), former fighter pilot

 

 

 

"Ironclaw by Sherman Baldwin is a fantastic account of life in the Navy during times of peace and war. Ironclaw was outstanding to read!"

- Captain Scott O'Grady, USAFR,
coauthor, New York Times best-seller Return with Honor

 

 

 

"Ironclaw is a book hard to put down, fast paced, exciting and informative, with a realism and authenticity that this old carrier aviator has not seen in a long, long time."

- Admiral J.L. Holloway III, USN (Ret.),
Chief of Naval Operations 1974 - 78

 

 

 

"Sherman Baldwin presents us with a fast-moving and exciting account of Desert Storm from the inside - as a new naval pilot saw it and lived it. The book provides a fascinating look into the flying navy and the everyday events, teamwork, courage and acts of leadership (big and small) that make it so successful."

- John J. Gabarro, professor, Leadership and
Organizational Behavior, Harvard Business School

 

 

 

"Sherman Baldwin brings the carrier deck to life! A new pilot thrown directly into combat, he makes it real to the reader. When you finish this book you will know why I was so privileged to have led our naval forces in Desert Storm."

- Admiral Stanley R. Arthur, USN (Ret.), former Vice Chief of Naval
Operations and Commander-in-Chief of Naval Forces during Operation Desert Storm

 

 

 

"Climb into the cockpit and feel the adrenalin rush as you are catapulted into the night sky over the Persian Gulf. You are off on a combat mission against the Iraqis in the navy's electronic warfare EA-6B 'Prowler,' call sign 'Ironclaw.' Ironclaw is a thriller from real life. A great read."

- Lieutenant General Bernard E. Trainor, USMC (Ret.),
coauthor, The Generals' War: The Inside Story of the Gulf War

 

 

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~ Editorial Reviews ~

 

 

~ Wall Street Journal
"Ironclaw is an exciting memoir of [his] experiences. There are many books on the terror and glory of carrier flying but none offers a better account of what it is really like....Mr. Baldwin's understated style perfectly serves his stories of aerial combat."

'A fine Tom Clancy-style account of shipmates under stress and who deserve the traditional navy phrase, "Well done."

Baldwin was fresh out of pilot training as a lieutenant j.g. when, on Dec. 10, 1990, he was assigned to the aircraft carrier USS MIDWAY in the Persian Gulf. A skilled aviator, the young "nugget" a pilot on his first sea cruise nevertheless had much to learn before becoming proficient at carrier operations. The process would be short and intense: Operation Desert Shield had begun months earlier, and Baldwin, along with his shipmates, knew that the U.S. could go to war against Iraq at any time. When Operation Desert Storm was launched in January 1991, Baldwin found himself in the thick of the action. By then, he had logged numerous hours on carrier launches, aerial refueling and landings performed at night on the pitching deck of "the smallest carrier in the fleet." As related here, these tasks are as terrifying as the later wartime missions. Baldwin's account of his attempt to hook up to a refueling tanker in the dark, while running out of gas and hampered by nervous jitters, is among the most vivid in aviation literature. His running tale of his long-distance courtship of his wife is less engaging, but it doesn't hamper the appeal of this gritty and visceral memoir.

 

 

 

~ Booklist
Baldwin's seems to be one of the first personal narratives of naval aviation during the Gulf War. Newly qualified for carrier flying, Baldwin flew an EA-6 Prowler electronic warfare aircraft off of the smallest and most dangerous of the navy's carriers in the gulf, the U.S.S. MIDWAY. He provides edge-of-the-seat accounts of a pilot's responsibilities in the air and aboard ship, of nerve-wracking night landings and aerial refuelings, and of the hardly less stressful predicament of electronic warfare planes, which were at one and the same time defenseless, essential, and major targets. His thoroughly absorbing narrative of the one aspect of the war in which he was involved may well turn out to be also something of a swan song for U.S. naval aviation. Roland Green

 

 

 

~ Kirkus Reviews
A vivid memoir of the 1991 Gulf War, of an air attack squadron called Ironclaw, and of the high-pressure life aboard the US carrier MIDWAY. From the start, the reader is in the cockpit with Lieutenant Junior Grade Baldwin (who is currently pursuing an MBA at Harvard) and a three-man crew as, on the eve of war, his Prowler rolls off the flight deck toward the carrier catapults to be thrust from zero to 150 miles per hour in two seconds. One's body, Baldwin notes, never quite adapts to the severe strain of accelerating so fast. His first flight from the carrier is a training mission; he and his crew are supposed to seek out, jam, and destroy enemy radar used as a guide for SAM anti- aircraft missiles. When war comes, it will be a crucial task. Baldwin, qualified as a combat pilot after two and a half years of the toughest flight training, found himself looked down upon as a mere recruit in the fleet, where his every move was closely monitored by highly critical, seasoned officers. In this almost daily high-risk operation, where every man's life often depended on others, one mistake or a missed maintenance inspection could mean instant death to a flight crew. Landing-deck crews are pushed to the limit to avoid life-threatening fires and accidents in a swiftly moving, crowded area. Baldwin depicts the great spirit and close support of officers and enlisted men trying to achieve perfection in some tension-filled combat situations with a little-known enemy. Most missions were successful; not a single life or plane was lost. A fine, Tom Clancy style account of shipmates under stress and who deserve the traditional Navy phrase, "Well done."

 

 

 

~ From the Publisher
Just ten days out of land-based flight training and on the eve of the Persian Gulf War, Lieutenant Junior Grade Sherman Baldwin was assigned to Air Wing Five's EA-6B Prowler squadron--call sign Ironclaw--aboard the U.S.S. MIDWAY. Flying the Prowler attack aircraft, Baldwin, his crew of three flight officers, and the rest of their squadron were responsible for identifying, jamming and destroying enemy radar.

In Ironclaw, Baldwin gives a compelling, tension-filled account of modern carrier warfare. From the tactical mission planning room below decks to the cockpit of his Prowler launching from zero to 150 knots in two seconds, the reader is there. Midair refuelings, day and night landings on the pitching deck of the MIDWAY (at the time, our country's smallest carrier), and Desert Storm combat missions are all here just as he lived them.

 

 

 

~ Ingram
A former naval officer gives an insider's account of the war in the Persian Gulf from his experiences aboard the U.S.S. MIDWAY, where his squadron was responsible for identifying, jamming, and destroying enemy radar.

 

 

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~ Reader Reviews ~

 

~ Terrific look at America's best
This is an extraordinarily well written first person account of life as a Naval Aviator. Have you ever wondered what kind of men we send into harm's way, what they're like and where they come from? Are they different from the rest of us? What's it like to fly and fight a Naval aircraft in a real shooting war? Sherman Baldwin has your answers. Rather than the bravado common to other first-person combat stories, Baldwin's account is told with a great deal of humanity. Certainly there are the accounts of combat and carrier operations that will have you on the edge of your seat. But this is really the story of a man (not a machine) in an extraordinary situation doing extraordinary things on behalf of his country. I know men like this. They are my heroes, and Sherman Baldwin captures their lives and experiences as well as his. If you want to feel proud about America, read this book.

 

 

 

~ Pretty good
The main thing I got out of this book is a compelling need to ALWAYS send letters to our servicemen and servicewomen in overseas wars. I had no idea how much it meant to them. It was pretty interesting, and I don't understand why Baldwin's friends would criticize him for using his Harvard education on the Navy. What I don't get is how he can waste his Harvard education on what he's doing now (read the epilogue).

 

 

 

~ Mostly Interesting
When not distracted, Baldwin delivers an honestly written and interesting account of his experience as a naval aviator during the gulf war. His stories of the missions flown are both interesting and thrilling. The problem, in my eyes, is that it seems like he spends half the book telling us all how amazingly wonderful his then girlfriend, now wife, is. Certainly the connection to home and family are an integral part of any military story, but he takes it way too far. He crows on and on about how this girl is the most beautiful, wonderful, greatest thing on the planet. I have no doubt she is, but I was trying to read a book about Naval Aviation.

 

 

 

~ The Best Book About Carrier Life
I loved this book. It was very interesting to see how life on the carrier was in peace as well as war. A great read!

 

 

 

~ I was hooked on the very first page of the book
A spellbinding autobiography of a Navy pilot's experiences during the Gulf War. It was an eye opening account for me (I'm in the USAF) of the difficulties of aircraft carrier based operations. Although there is little discussion of Gulf War military strategy, this is a very easy reading, engrossing story that will keep you so spellbound, you will not be able to put it down.

 

 

 

~ Engrossing and fascinating yet not grandiloquent
I recently read Sherman Baldwin's "Ironclaw : A Navy Carrier Pilot's War Experience" and I was completely at a loss for words on what a great book it is. This book was action-packed and was to the point, unlike many other fighter books I have read. It also has an uncomparable description of what life on the aircraft carrier the "MIDWAY" was really like during Operation Desert Storm. When I read the first chapter, I really felt my head being thrown back into the seat as Sherman was catapulted off the deck of the old and worn aircraft carrier, and I felt the jolt of the Prowler slamming against the deck during landing. One word to describe the author's writing? Succinct. His writing was extremely clear and precise yet was not boring or grandiloquent. After reading Ironclaw, I felt a sense of pride for my country, and I have much greater respect for the men and women of today's armed services, especially the devoted people who risk their lives everyday for my protection and liberty. The chapters are rather short, allowing you to catch ten or so pages on a break or at school or anytime you have 15 minutes. Being only 15 years old, I still have a long way to go in my life, I hope. I am interested in fighter planes and this is above all the crème de la crème of fighter books, the best I have read so far. The plot is extremely riveting and action-filled. Please don't take my word for it: read it!

 

 

 

~ Better than a novel
This book was so exciting I had to force myself to stop in the middle of reading it in order to go to sleep. But it's not just an adventure story. Its message is, like the author, understated but audacious: character still counts.

 

 

 

~ A strap in, hold on thrill ride experience of a USN "nugget"
Sherman Baldwin, a United States Navy EA-6B Prowler pilot, portrays his experience as a "nugget" (first deployment pilot) aboard the USS MIDWAY. Baldwin used real life peace and war time experiences to create one of the most exciting and outstanding military novels of all time. Ironclaw straps you into one of the most sophisticated, electronically crammed, cockpits in the world. This book will take you to the edge and back. As an aspiring pilot, I recommend you pick up a copy today.

 

 

 

~ Inside the cockpit with Navy flyer
There has got to be a rush that comes from taking off from an aircraft carrier in a jet, being accelerated by a steam catapult and a pair of screaming afterburners to nearly 170 m.p.h. in less than 2 seconds. Nor does it take a Stephen King to imagine the stress involved in trying to get back aboard a carrier on an inky night in a plane low on fuel. Among naval aviators, this is what separates those who can "hack it" from those who cannot. For carrier pilots do not land their planes so much as slam them aboard heaving, yawing ships at sea. So it is that night landings, in which vertigo and optical illusion are routine and depth perception nonexistent, become "the practice of overcoming the fear of death," writes Lt. (j.g.) Sherman Baldwin, who spent his nugget - maiden - cruise aboard the USS MIDWAY during the Persian Gulf War. If Baldwin's introspection sets "Ironclaw" (the call sign of his squadron) apart from others of its ilk, make no mistake: This is a book about flying. It begins with the author's first night catapult shot aboard the MIDWAY and with great perception describes life for those who come and go on a seaborne aircraft carrier at war.

 

 

 

~ Vivid... gritty & visceral memoir
Baldwin was fresh out of pilot training as a lieutenant j.g. when, on Dec. 10, 1990, he was assigned to the aircraft carrier USS MIDWAY in the Persian Gulf. A skilled aviator, the young "nugget" - a pilot on his first sea cruise - nevertheless had much to learn before becoming proficient at carrier operations. The process would be short and intense. Operation Desert Shield had begun months earlier and Baldwin, along with his shipmates, knew that the U.S. could go to war against Iraq at any time. When Operation Desert Storm was launched in January 1191, Baldwin found himself in the thick of the action. By then, he had logged numerous hours on carrier launches, aerial refueling and landings performed at night on the pitching deck of "the smallest carrier in the fleet." As related here, these tasks are as terrifying as the later wartime missions. Baldwin's account of his attempt to hook up to a refueling tanker in the dark, while running out of gas and hampered by nervous jitters, is among the most vivid in aviation literature. His running tale of his long-distance courtship of his wife is less engaging, but it doesn't hamper the appeal of this gritty and visceral memoir.

 

 

 

~ Navy pilot courts danger & his wife from the USS MIDWAY
Navy pilot Sherm Baldwin ushers you silently into the cockpit of his Navy Jet Prowler in the Gulf War as he lands and takes off both day and night onto the smallest aircraft carrier in our fleet. You feel all his experiences at first hand, right along with him and his crew. My twelve year old son likes the book as much as I do ("the best book I ever read," he told me) probably in spite of the fact that "Tank" Baldwin courts his wife to be Alice by daily letter from the Gulf War. No surprise to me that the Military Book Club has chosen IRONCLAW as its lead selection this Fall. Give it a try ... the first chapter will have you gripping your seat wondering if he can land this damn plane.

 

 

 

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