Brotherhood, Survival, and Uncommon Valor in Iraq, 2003-2011
J. Pepper Bryars
J. Pepper Bryars, 2016, 350 pages
Book Review published on: May 19, 2017
Throughout history, elements of the U.S. military have been engaged in combat operations while our strategic and political leaders continue to develop and implement winning strategies. America Warfighter: Brotherhood, Survival, and Uncommon Valor in Iraq 2003-2011 is a great example of how this occurs. The book is comprised of firsthand accounts of significant battles that took place in Iraq between 2003 and 2011 interwoven with exactly what was transpiring in the political and strategic arenas during the timeframes of those specific battles. J. Pepper Bryars does a great job in highlighting the pros and cons of the strategic plans that were used throughout the war in Iraq during the time period. He also captures how those strategic plans impacted both the political support of the American people and the elements deployed forward in direct contact with the enemy.
The firsthand accounts from soldiers that were involved in some of the significant battles in the Iraq war are the main attraction of this book. Each chapter of the book highlights what is occurring in the political and strategic arenas then breaks into a warfighters story; some of the warfighters were involved in multiple major engagements of the Iraq war, and their stories are eye opening. The firsthand accounts of the experiences of the individual warfighters are great stories of brotherhood and valor. The author also does a great job in establishing the human element of the warfighters that he interviews by capturing where they came from and the paths they took joining the military, moving through the ranks, and continuing on after their service in the military. The warfighters provide their own in-depth accounts of their actions during specific battles in Iraq, and most of them had a common theme: they all relied on their training to survive.
Overall, I thought this was a great book, and I would primarily recommend it to military leaders to incorporate into their leader development programs. It is an accurate account of the longest war the U.S. military has been involved in and gives an accurate account of what was occurring in the strategic and political arenas. More importantly, it gives very specific examples of what our ground forces went through before, during, and after significant battles throughout Iraq. I myself have used the examples of what those warfighters did in this book to assist in developing my platoon leaders, referencing the training tactics as examples of what we can do to train and prepare our soldiers with limited time and resources.
Book Review written by: Capt. Daniel M. Jansen, U.S. Army, Fort Hood, Texas