The Story of Naval Valor During Operation Iraqi Freedom


Fortune Favors Boldness should be required reading at war colleges and warfighting pipeline schools for a new generation of maritime warriors who have not yet experienced what it’s like to fire weapons to kill an enemy-especially one who can shoot back.”

PROCEEDINGS April 2019 (book review)

This book details the historic deployment of the Constellation Strike Group as they trained for and fought in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Vice Admiral Costello presents his views on planning, preparation, and execution of wartime operations. Additionally, he provides leadership lessons that uniformed service members and business leaders can employ in their professional development.

Published under our Fortis nonfiction imprint:

Fortis - nonfiction imprint logo

Hardback ISBN: 9781937592851

Paperback ISBN: 9781937592868

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About the Book

“On the wind-whipped flight deck, where the roar of jets taking off and landing rattles teeth and sucks the breath from the body, the workers wear bright vests and shirts color-coded to tasks. Blue moves the aircraft. Brown maintains them. Green handles the catapults that thrust the aircraft into the sky. Purple fuels the jets. Red loads the weapons. Yellow keeps everyone moving, and white brings the aircraft in safely. When the jets takeoff or land, the whole vessel shudders and clanks. The men and women work untiltheir heads hurt and their muscles scream for a break.”

–article from a Los Angeles Times

Fortune Favors Boldness’ is the motto of the U.S. Navy’s Cruiser-Destroyer Group 1 (CCDG–1). That team led the Constellation Strike Group throughout 2002–2003. This is when “America’s Flagship,” USS Constellation (CV 64), made its historic last deployment to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. FORTUNE FAVORS BOLDNESS—this book—documents the incredible professionalism of our Sailors, Marines, and Coastguardsmen who operated successfully in the dangerous waters of the Northern Arabian Gulf, on the ground in Iraq and in the air over the country in 2003. This story of epic events and bravery of Sailors and Marines in harm’s way is told from the perspective of retired Vice Admiral Barry Costello, the commander of this force. It reflects his view on the planning, preparation, and execution of operations in wartime. Leadership lessons that can enhance the effectiveness of any organization are provided throughout this story.

“This will be a campaign unlike any other in history. A campaign characterized by shock, by surprise, by flexibility…and by the application of overwhelming force…You are now in harm’s way. Our task will not be easy, but we are fighting for a just cause, and the outcome is not in doubt. I am proud of you—all that you have done and all you will achieve in the days ahead.”

–General Tommy Franks, March 2003

“Soon, our nation will call upon you, the men and women of our Navy, to meet the next challenge in the Global War on Terrorism. When the president addressed the world Monday, he said, ‘The United States and other nations did nothing to deserve or invite this threat. But we will do everything to defeat it.’ Your efforts in leading the defense of the nation away from our own shores and our own homes is critically important to that safety. After all, we know about setting a proper course—and we are ready.”

–Admiral Vern Clark, March 18, 2003

About the Author

Vice Admiral Costello retired from the U.S. Navy in 2007 after serving 34 years on multiple ships, ultimately commanding the U.S. 3rd Fleet, responsible for naval operations in the eastern Pacific. While serving in the Pentagon, Vice Admiral Costello felt the building shake on September 11, 2001, when it was struck by American Airlines Flight 77, a cowardly act by terrorists. He led the Constellation Strike Group to war in 2003 during Operation Iraqi Freedom to execute the United State’s campaign in the Global War on Terrorism. Today, he consults with a various companies and pursues his passion for leadership by mentoring U.S. and international military leaders in courses sponsored by the Naval War College. He resides in Seattle, Washington.