Tuesday, September 29, 2009
R - Iron Bravo by Carsten Stroud
Subtitled "Hearts, Minds, and Sergeants in the U.S. Army" this is a fictional account of one sergeant's experiences in the Gulf War (Desert Storm). Mixed in with it is a fair bit of military history, also told through the viewpoint of the sergeants at the time. The real story, however, is the classic tale of a man growing older and confronting the limitations and changes imposed by the calendar. Sergeant Dee Crane has fought in Vietnam and served faithfully in the so-called "peacetime Army", but now finds himself getting ready to go to war again, but this time his comrades in arms aren't his contemporaries, but a bunch of volunteer men and women who are young enough to be his children. The gap between them grows more evident as combat looms nearer, but Crane's respect and even affection for the young soldiers under his authority grows as they face that test together.
I can't speak to the accuracy of the military parts of the book, but the emotions of a middle-aged man looking both ways at his life are all too real. It is a good solid read, but I caution you that you may never look at pencils the same way again.