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VADM Barry Costello's well-written and comprehensive Fortune Favors Boldness is an easy-to-read narrative of his tenure as the USS Constellation Strike Group Commander during Operation Iraqi Freedom. So often the naval component of conflict receives short shrift or is all but ignored. Costello's fascinating account gives the reader insight into high-level planning sessions and inter-service and coalition coordination, but also includes perspectives of junior personnel, from aviators to deck plate sailors that he was attuned to. Filled with photographs and charts, and names familiar to those who served during this time, Fortune Favors Boldness fills a void, and is valuable not only to historians and military professionals, but also imparts leadership lessons to those serving in any complex organization. Enjoy.
Whether or not you are interested in our military, U. S . history or just plain life lessons, this factual, detailed and intense book of what transpired after 9-11 should be on your list to read. It will also serve as an amazing tool for anyone in a leadership or teaching role...............or if you just need some simple guidance in your daily life. Vice Admiral Costello is outstanding in his attention to detail with not only a very personal look from his perspective but from dozens and dozens of others - and recreating those very important moments in our history. It is awe inspiring, it will bring tears to your eyes, but also smiles to your face and your heart will swell with appreciation and gratitude and pride for all the men and women serving our country - people like Petty Officer 3rd Class Chad Runge whose letter is printed on page 145/147. Yes, it's a must read for everyone including those who may be thinking of serving our country...and maybe more importantly for those who don't think it's their duty.
Total disclosure, I know many of the senior officers mentioned in Vice Admiral Costello's excellent telling of his experience as a strike group commander. I believe it could match "Assignment Pentagon" by MGEN Perry Smith (which was essential reading for those assigned to the Pentagon) as a "must read" for any USN or USMC officer or senior enlisted assigned to a large staff. VADM Costello covers the complex interaction between the many battle staffs that play a role in any joint/coalition engagement. He deals with the "fog of war" and how personalities and relationships are so important in large military operations. His personal touch, discussion of his family background, and "thank you" for the leadership of others makes this an easy and interesting read.
Fortune Follows Boldness is a fascinating memoir of the much-televised bombing of Iraq during the early days of Operation Iraqi Freedom in March, 2003. VAMD Costello makes you feel part of his leadership team, from the intricate planning and preparation of the 147 vessel strike force, to the dangerous activities of the air wing squadron, to the strategic discussions taking place in “The War Room.” The book culminates with the firing of 892 Tomahawk missiles into Iraq. VADM Costello modestly shares some valuable leadership techniques and skills that served him well in commanding the Operation Iraqi Freedom strike force. These same leadership techniques and skills would also prove useful to leaders outside the military. I thoroughly enjoyed reading VAMD Costello’s book despite not having a military background.
Even for a non-military person like myself, I was able to understand a lot of the information in this book. It was written by a man from my hometown of Rutland, Vt., and made me very proud of him. Did not know that someone who attended the same high school I did (though he did not graduate from there), was a Rear Admiral in the Iraqi Freedom War. Way to go Barry! (from one of the Reilly clan)
This book should be required reading for all people in leadership positions, civilian or military. It is the true story of the good, the bad and the ugly that happened leading up to and during Operation Iraqi Freedom from the perspective of one of the Navy's Strike Group Commanders. The attention to details, media reactions and the personal stories of sailors and marines allow the reader to come away with a much better appreciation of life aboard a US aircraft carrier during wartime. I especially enjoyed the importance of having good relationships among our military leaders up and down the chain of command and how critical those relationships were in assuring victory!
Having served with VADM Costello on his staff during this deployment, I'm very grateful for his excellent and accurate accounting of the events we experienced during this deployment; I even learned a few things that I didn't know about. Not only is his book written for the naval professional, but it is also written for those without military experience who have an interest in naval operations. Well done Admiral!
It was great reading about the way our troups worked together to accomplish the mission assigned to them. Admiral Costello and his team is a credit to the United States. I was especially appreciated a long over due shout out to the Vietnam Vets on his return from tour. Job well done Admiral!
Thank you and bravo zulu to VADM Barry Costello, USN Retired for reminding all of us who have had the great honor of serving our nation at sea. As I read FORTUNE FAVORS BOLDNESS, I could taste the salt spray, feel the anxious moments, and relive the days and nights at sea. Anyone wishing to understand the impact of our Navy during OIF and have a better appreciation for how our Navy operates, needs to read this book. It should be mandatory reading for all who seek to serve at sea and command at sea. Well Done Admiral. RADM Sinclair M. Harris, USN Retired.
Reviewed in the United States on December 16, 2018
Have known Admrial Costello for many years, this book has a tremendous amount of time and work invested in it to make it very special. I’ve had the good fortune to hear in person a couple of the stories of events that took place in this book. Admiral Costello Has a great way of bringing events to life in a fascinating manner.