“Sir, shit ain’t right here. This isn’t a good idea.”That's from Chapter 11, the story of Jeremiah Church who was part of the RSTA Platoon in Baqubah, Iraq. He won a Silver Star for his action that day and I'm not gonna spoil it.
I don’t know what our leadership was thinking, or what other information our company commander had, but from my position—and having spent most of the deployment in the field
fighting these guys—it all seemed like an obvious setup.
Then the Iraqi police said, “Hey, we know where this insurgent has a DShK heavy machine gun. Do you guys want to go get it?”
Everyone of the stories is literally pulse pounding. I guarantee that you won't put the book down and it'll have you mesmerized.
But since I've already spoiled the review with my little ditty above, let me get down to what I liked/loved and what I felt could have been expanded on.
1. Bryars doesn't give us the dry award citations. He gives you a rundown of the situation "in country" at the time. This is a part of the story that many historians gloss over. They fail to let you know the situation on the ground at the time. There is no understanding of why decisions were made. For example what were the dynamics that led to the rules of engagement that our forces were operating under etc...Bryars lays all that out at the beginning of each passage. We get an overview of the situation and what these guys...our guys were facing.
2. We get a look at the motivation of the men to join the military in the first place. Everyone of these guys were patriots (to be expected) but that's not the only reason why people join the military.
3. He gives a detailed view of the battle. Most award citations are painfully brief and don't give the harrowing details of the fight. Bryars took the time to get these heroes to talk about how they continued to fight even after being injured. That's refreshing. The words in the citations are often glowing but don't capture the bravery to stay in the fight after you've been hit. Just as importantly we get an idea of how these units maneuvered, what they saw and why they did what did. Its almost like an after action debrief by the intel bubbas.
What I wished he expanded on.
1. My only ding. The motivation to join the military was shorter than I would have liked and I wanted a bit more info on the units. The other members in the unit I would love to have heard more about. This is my only ding!
This is a must buy. Quite honestly if I was connected with HQMC I would recommend it for the Commandant's Reading List (do they still do that?). I would target it at E-1's thru E-5's. Why? Because it helps reinforce the message of what the Marine Corps expects from its Marines. Additionally its an easy read without being condescending and its subject matter is OOHRAH worthy. If I gave out stars it would get a 5 out of 5!
"American Warfighter" can be found on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/dp/0991324854 and also on Barnes & Noble’s website, Apple’s iBooks, and most other book retailers.