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.