David L. Robbins
Novelist, Educator, Playwright, Essayist
Djibouti/Gbriski AIr Base (Devil's Waters), 2012
by David L. Robbins on July 30th, 2014

After ten published novels, I decided to try my hand at a serial approach to books. And I wanted a contemporary setting, to leave history behind for a little while. I fell in love with a Special Ops branch of the US Air Force, known as the PJs, for pararescue jumpers. These are among the most highly trained warriors in any nations' military, except their mission is not CSAD (Combat Search and Destroy); the PJs are CSAR (Combat Search and Rescue). Their motto: That Others May Live. 

The PJs train to operate in every terrain on Earth, because that's where America's military and our allies work. They specialize in infiltration and evacuation, under any circumstances, from severe weather to heavy combat. I've been fortunate to befriend several PJs and Combat Rescue Officers (CROs) who help keep me factual and on target. In fact, a few of those guys will take credit for my plots. I'm not saying they don't deserve it. I'm just plain not saying.

For The Devil's Waters, I visited Gbriski Air Base on Long Island twice, and embedded for two weeks in Djibouti, at Camp Lemonnier with the PJ unit there. Because the book takes place on a giant cargo freight in Somali pirate-infested waters, I booked passage on a ship from Malta to Dubai, another two weeks. Onboard, I spent every day crawling around the bowels of the freighter with the crew and by myself, and nights at the captain's table or in his quarters debating with him and his chief engineer over the best ways to blow up their ship. Great guys, a once in a lifetime experience. 



The Blue Window, on Gozo, the small island off Malta. To sense the scale, see the small person in the upper right edge of the photo. 


CMA CGM Hydra. This was my first look at my home for two weerks and three thousand ocean miles. She is the third largest freighter in the world. A stroll around the deck was a quarter mile. 




The view from the pilot house. 




Croatian Captain Dado, Rumanian Chief Engineer Razvan. Dear friends, great guys, patient mentors. 




In the narrow Suez Canal, heading south. 


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