A Great Story
Flying Airplanes From Half a World Away
The Stories Are Amazing
Warfare Has Changed
Helps Explain Both Iraq and Afghanistan
It was a job with extraordinary challenges – in the early days of the occupation, various Iraqi exiles returned to Baghdad to declare themselves mayor or sheriff, and tempers flared during the endless summer power outages. But King found success through bringing faith to the battlefield. He estimates that he met with over 3,000 sheiks, praying with them and asking for their help to rebuild Iraq. Those relationships earned him a reputation for fairness and respect for Islam that led several people on the “most-wanted” list to seek him out and surrender to him personally. He even met with Muhammad Saeedal-Sahaf, a.k.a. “Baghdad Bob”, the former Iraqi Minister of Information.
King also writes with pain at the memory of close friends who were killed in combat, both from his battalion and the Iraqis who worked with them, and he reflects with frustration on dealings with military bureaucracy and critical blunders that cost him some of that hard-earned trust.
R. Alan King was awarded two Bronze Stars for Valor, two Bronze Stars for achievement, and the Combat Action Badge. He is an active reserve member of the U.S. Army, and returned from his most recent service in Iraq in October 2007. He has appeared on NBC, CNN, Fox News, and other networks as a military commentator.
Twice Armed won the 2008 Colby Award, which recognizes a first work of fiction or non-fiction that has made a significant contribution to the public’s understanding of intelligence operations, military history or international affairs. Named for the late Ambassador and former CIA Director William E. Colby, the Colby Award has been presented annually by the William E. Colby Military Writers’ Symposium at Norwich University, the nation’s oldest private military college, since 1999.
Love My Rifle More Than You by Kayla Williams is about being a young female in the US Army and her deployment to Iraq for a year with the 101st Airborne.
Kayla Williams was an Arabic linguist. Thirty-four years ago, I came off active duty as an US Army officer. Ms. Williams’s book made me reflect back to all the women soldiers I worked with, lead, and knew.
This is a good military memoir. While grit and rough language are on almost every page, what shines through is an intelligent young woman serving her country and putting up with all a woman experiences in the military. It appears little has change since back in my day.
We learn of her role as an Arabic linguist. She tells us how she feels her skills could have been used better with direct contact with the population as oppose to routine intelligence gathering. Particularly interesting are her experiences with leadership while in Iraq as well as her questioning the war in Iraq’s day-to-day conduct without looking at the logic and underlying rationale.
On the light side – her tale of the birth control glasses is funny, but true. Put those military black framed Drew Carey or Woody Allen styled glasses on any man or woman and instantly they are effective birth control. Why? They make people unattractive thus scaring off members of the opposite sex. It is a book worth reading.
Do not mourn, soldier, for war is not fair.
A large IED is planted by the roadside.
It waits patiently for a Humvee or a Bradley.
Caring not who is inside or whose life will be destroyed.
It cares not that you are there as a volunteer trying to give them a better life.
Do not mourn, family, for war is not fair.
The IED by the roadside blows up the Humvee or Bradley.
Bits of metal, flesh, smoke, and stench fill the air.
The destruction rains not caring who is destroyed.
It cares not that it kills, cripples, breaks hearts, and destroys families.
Do not mourn, parents, for war is not fair.
The IED destroys the dreams you had for your children.
George W. Bush took us there and Barack H. Obama keeps us there.
Caring not who is serving or whose life is being destroyed.
The politics of war is most unkind.
© Jimmie A. Kepler 2009
Originally published in:
WORDS..RHYMES..POETRY & PROSE!