swagger_bob_lee_bk_dz cruz_ray_bk_st
Full Name: Ray Cruz
Nationality: American
Organization: U.S. Marine Corps
Occupation Military - Enlisted

Creator: Stephen Hunter
Time Span: 2010 - 2011


Ray Cruz is a Gunnery Sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps.

More specifically, he is a highly trained sniper in that branch of the service, perhaps the most skilled there is. On numerous occasions the question of whether he was as good as or possibly even better than the legendary Bob Lee Swagger was thrown out and different people had varying opinions but all agreed that there was no daylight showing between the two.

The interesting fact no one knew for the longest time was that they were related. You certainly could not tell by looking. Swagger was Caucasian. Cruz was Filipino. Until the events depicted in the first recorded adventure of Cruz and the seventh for Swagger, the elder Swagger had never heard of Cruz and Cruz only knew of Swagger as a bygone era sniper legend.

As far as Cruz knew, his full name was "Reyes Fidencio Cruz, forty-two years old, father a retired lieutenant commander, U.S. Navy, of Portuguese ancestry named Tomas Cruz, mother a Philippine national, Urlinda Flores Marbella. He grew up essentially on the big naval station at Subic near Cebu City, where his dad became head of the golf club as a second career. The kid should have been a pro golfer. Instead he became a sniper."

That was what Cruz had always believed but it was slightly inaccurate. Tomas and Urlinda were his adopted parents. His real mother was a Vietnamese woman who had married a GI during that conflict but had died during the Tet Offensive while the father was in Laos on assignment. Whatever became of the baby boy they had had was not known. While the father assumed the baby to have died as well, he had somehow ended up in the Phillipines where his new parents took him in and raised them as his own. That father was Swagger.

Cruz was "one of those rare men with a personality of hard metal-unmalleable, impenetrable, unstoppable. Back at battalion, he was called the Cruise Missile. Once fired, he kept moving until he hit the target. Since 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion was a Special Forces-rated unit, it got all the cool jobs, and he was the go-to guy on patrol security, Agency snatch-and-grabs and various countersniper and IED problems. He ran Sniper Platoon. He was always there, in the shadows on the ridge line or the village roof-sometimes spottered up, sometimes not, with his SR-25, a beast of a .308 semiauto with a yard of optics up top-paying out survival for his people at long range in packages that weighed 175 grains apiece. He never missed, he never counted or cared about the kills."


Number of Books:2
First Appearance:2010
Last Appearance:2011

1 Dead Zero Dead Zero
Written by Stephen Hunter
Copyright: 2010

An Afghan war lord is the target of a US hit squad named Whiskey 2-2. One of that group is a sniper named Ray Cruz. When the assault is detected, all but Cruz are killed. Now, a few months later, the war lord is considered a friend of the US and is being brought to America to be honored. A message is intercepted saying that Whiskey 2-2 is back in action and ready to finish the mission. Bob Lee Swagger is brought in to stop Cruz but the more he learns of the Afghan target, the less he likes.
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2 Soft Target Soft Target
Written by Stephen Hunter
Copyright: 2011

Ray Cruz is just starting to learn how to adapt in the civilian world with the help of his fiancée, Molly Chan. Visiting her family in Minnesota, they are taking a trip to the huge shopping structure known as "America, the Mall" when a group of Somali terrorists attack and take over one thousand shoppers hostage.
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My opinion, which as always nobody asked for but they get anyways, the terrific author that is Stephen Hunter should return to the Cruz part of his Swagger universe. Don't get me wrong; I really liked the Swagger tales a lot but I get a hoot from Cruz. A short, thin, wiry man in his late forties who is as sure of himself as his recently-discovered biological father as well as the father that raised him.

The first adventure was really good because it brought the two characters eventually together. The second adventure was even better because it was all Cruz, independent and self-sufficient and determined to get the job done despite a fair number of people who would rather sit on their backside and not take a chance.

I'm honest enough with myself to know I would be one of those seated but it is a hoot to read about someone who isn't and Mr. Hunter is a specialist at giving us that sort of character and Ray Cruz is most definitely one.

And he needs to be heard from some more. My opinion.


My Grade: A-


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