Rotors in the Sand

Non-Fiction - Military
400 Pages
Reviewed on 07/24/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Don was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He left Albuquerque in 1972 to attend the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York. After graduation, he was commissioned into the United States Air Force. He was assigned to pilot training at Williams Air Force Base, Arizona. His first flying assignment was flying C-130 aircraft at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. In April 1982, he was reassigned
as an Instructor Pilot flying C-130’s with the Air Crew Training and Test Wing at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico.

In 1985, Don left active duty and joined the Texas Air National Guard as a C-130 pilot. He was also hired by Delta Air Lines and started a twenty-five year “dual career” as an Air National guard pilot and a commercial pilot. His military assignments included Commander of the 181st Airlift Squadron, Commander of the 136th Operations Group, and Commander of the 136th Airlift Wing.

He participated in Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. Don was promoted to Brigadier General in 2008 and was assigned to be the Deputy Commander of the Texas Air National Guard. During that time, he also served as the Air National Guard Assistant to the Commander of Air Force Special Operations. He retired from the military in September of 2010 with 34 years of military service.

During his career at Delta Air Lines (34 years), Don flew Boeing 727, 737, 757, 767, and 777. He retired from Delta Air Lines in August of 2019. Don and his family reside in Fountain Hills, Arizona.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Anne-Marie Reynolds for Readers' Favorite

Rotors in the Sand by Don Harvel is the true story of the investigation into a CV-22 Osprey accident in Afghanistan in 2010. Follow the investigation crew as they try to figure out why the Osprey fell from the sky, for no apparent reason. The aircraft was on a midnight mission to drop a group of Rangers near a target when the accident happened. More than 100 interviews were conducted by the investigation team as they tried to find out what went wrong. They scoured the aircraft wreckage, looking for answers. Was it a mechanical fault? Pilot error? Engine malfunction? Were the crew told to keep their mouths shut? This is the true story of one of the USAF's most controversial accident investigations, revealing truths and details about what caused the accident, the 16 survivors, and the four casualties.

Rotors in the Sand by Don Harvel is a stunning story, totally compelling reading, grabbing you from the first page. Many accident investigation stories are long, drawn-out affairs that you get lost in; this isn’t. This is concise and to the point, easy reading, and engaging, written in a way that anyone can follow and understand, military or otherwise. Truth is often hard to find, especially in situations like this, when you know that things are being covered up and true heroes are being thrown to the wolves, just to save a higher-up skin or two. This reads very much like a novel even though you know it is fact. It is a fascinating insight into what happened that fateful night and, more importantly, what happened afterward, and why the families of the fallen and the survivors have had to wait so long to find out what really happened. Great book. You’ll enjoy it whether you are interested in the military or not.

Bruce Kosaveach

I'm a retired Navy Captain and Don was my friend. When I finished the book I called him to congratulate him on a very well-written story. To-the-point writing, understandable by a non-military reader, nicely laid out time line of events, and a compelling ending. In essence he gave up his second star for his convictions.

Bruce Kosaveach