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Danger Close

My Epic Journey as a Combat Helicopter Pilot in Iraq and Afghanistan

About The Book

Inspiring and “riveting…vivid and harrowing” (Sean Parnell, author of Outlaw Platoon), Danger Close is the first memoir of active combat by a female helicopter pilot in Iraq and Afghanistan. New York Times bestselling author Brad Thor raves, “Men and women alike will love this incredible tale of heroism, humility, and high-octane feats of bravery.”

Amber Smith flew into enemy fire in some of the most dangerous combat zones in the world. One of only a few women to fly the Kiowa Warrior helicopter—whose mission, armed reconnaissance, required its pilots to stay low and fly fast, perilously close to the fight—Smith deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan and rose to Pilot-in-Command and Air Mission Commander in the premier Kiowa unit in the Army. She learned how to perform and survive under extreme pressure, both in action against an implacable enemy and within the elite “boy’s club” of Army aviation.

In Danger Close, Smith “covers each mission with edge-of-your-seat detail and a coolness that demonstrates how she gained the respect of fellow pilots and soldiers on the ground” (Library Journal). Smith’s unrelenting fight for both mastery and respect delivers universal life-lessons that will be useful to any civilian, from “earning your spurs” as a newbie to “embracing the suck” through setbacks that challenge your self-confidence to learning to trust your gut as a veteran of your profession.

Intensely personal, cinematic, poignant, and inspiring, Danger Close is “the captivating story of one woman’s fight to serve her country in the direct line of danger” (Dana Perino, co-host of The Five on Fox News).

About The Author

Tom Williams

Amber Smith is a former U.S. Army Kiowa Warrior helicopter pilot and air mission commander who flew two combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. She frequently appears on national TV and radio networks, analyzing national security, military operations, foreign policy, politics, veterans’ affairs, and women’s issues. Her articles have been widely published in Forbes, The Washington Examiner, Aviation Week, and other publications. Smith has traveled across the nation to tell her inspirational story and to speak to military and corporate audiences, veterans organizations, at grassroots events, and on Capitol Hill. She lives in Washington, DC. For more information, please visit

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atria Books (September 6, 2016)
  • Length: 288 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781501116407

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Raves and Reviews

"Danger Close is absolutely fantastic. This is one of the most exciting and inspirational books I have read in years! Men and women alike will love this incredible tale of heroism, humility, and high-octane feats of bravery. Danger Close is the real deal!"

– Brad Thor, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Foreign Agent

"Danger Close is a riveting and intensely personal account of a woman who spent nearly a third of her life at war. Amber Smith goes beyond detailing the experience of women in the military and takes the reader into the cockpit with her to explore the vivid and harrowing world of being a combat helicopter pilot. Amber is one hell of a Soldier and an American hero on every level."

– Sean Parnell, New York Times bestselling author of Outlaw Platoon

“While the debate goes on about the role of women in combat, Amber Smith’s Danger Close reminds us that pilots are pilots and the American warrior ethos is alive and well, regardless of what restroom you use. When my squad was under fire in Iraq, the buzz of Kiowa rotors was our lifeline. The simple truth is that many children have fathers today because of the daring close support of Amber Smith and her elite colleagues. I am proud to be a part of an Army that produces pilots like Amber, who are unapologetic about the pure fury they unleash on a deserving enemy.”

– David Bellavia, author of House to House

"Danger Close is a fantastic view into the world of combat helicopter pilots as seen through the eyes of a successful and proven US Army female combat helicopter pilot. It is an exciting ride through training and combat operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan. I laughed at the antics only found in military training and operations and cried at the anguish experienced through combat loss. As a combat veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan, I and my team called in airstrikes from pilots across all services, including from some amazing women pilots. Amber Smith proves she is one of these pilots and that she has what it takes as an American warrior. Danger Close gives tremendous insight into the sacrifice our American men and women make every day for Freedom across the globe. Most importantly, Amber sets the example for all young women who aspire to serve our nation’s armed forces and I encourage any young woman looking to join the military to read this book."

– LT Jason Redman, Retired Navy SEAL, author of The Trident

"The captivating story of one woman's fight to serve her country in the direct line of danger. Amber Smith shows readers the true meaning of patriotism and how to survive under extreme pressure. This book will keep you on the edge of your seat and you won't want to put it down."

– Dana Perino, New York Times bestselling author of And The Good News Is..., Former White House Press Secretary, and co-host of Fox News' The Five

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