“Spotlights the career of a fascinating modern warrior, while also shedding light on some of the conflicts that have raged throughout the world” (Tucson Citizen).
A former South African Air Force pilot who saw action throughout the region from the 1970s on, Neall Ellis is the best-known mercenary combat aviator alive. Apart from flying Alouette helicopter gunships in Angola, he fought in the Balkan war for the Islamic forces, tried to resuscitate Mobutu’s ailing air force during his final days ruling the Congo, flew Mi-8s for Executive Outcomes, and piloted an Mi-8 fondly dubbed “Bokkie” for Colonel Tim Spicer in Sierra Leone. Finally, with a pair of aging Mi-24 Hinds, Ellis ran the Air Wing out of Aberdeen Barracks in the war against Sankoh’s vicious RUF rebels. As a “civilian contractor,” Ellis has also flown helicopter support missions in Afghanistan, where, he reckons, he had more close shaves than in his entire previous four decades.
From single-handedly turning the enemy back from the gates of Freetown to helping rescue eleven British soldiers who’d been taken hostage, Ellis’s many missions earned him a price on his head, with reports of a million-dollar dead-or-alive reward. This book describes the full career of this storied aerial warrior, from the bush and jungles of Africa to the forests of the Balkans and the merciless mountains of Afghanistan. Along the way the reader encounters a multiethnic array of enemies ranging from ideological to cold-blooded to pure evil, as well as examples of incredible heroism for hire.