Monday, March 8, 2010

My Men are My Heroes by Brad Kasal

My Men Are My Heroes: The Brad Kasal StoryThis is the story of Brad Kasal, a First Seargent with the US Marine Corps, who fought in and was grievously wounded in the battle for Fallujah. I really got involved in some of the early part of this book, as Kasal went into the Corps as an infantry "grunt", trained at MCRD San Diego, went to SOI at Camp Pendleton, was assigned to the anti-tank gunner MOS, got his permanent duty station at Camp Horno, and spent his first overseas deployment as part of a Marine Expeditionary Unit in the Far and Middle East. My son spent his first couple of years as a Marine in almost exactly the same way, so this all hit pretty close to home.
After that, Kasal was deployed for Desert Storm, and later, Operation Iraqi Freedom. Desert Storm was over much too quickly to suit him, and he saw very little action there before returning stateside. However, he and his fellow Marines saw more than enough action when the US returned to Iraq in 2003.
Kasal's ghostwriter spends a lot of time getting all of the details right. So for anyone who's a big military equipment and organization buff, this book is going to be great. Every bit of weaponry used is described in loving detail, and the movements of every batallion, every squad, and nearly every individual Marine is laid out for all of the battles described in the latter half of the book. There's a ton of information about all of the other enlisted men, non-coms, and officers that served with Kasal, their personal inclinations, leadership style, and even the color of their boxer shorts, in some cases.
The shootout in which Kasal is injured - seven gunshot and 48 shrapnel wounds - is graphically described and really gives a good picture of what Kasal and some of the other leaders were thinking about as chaos roared all around them.
The book is really enjoyable for those of us who have military family members, I think, but sometimes the amount of technical details included seemed to bog down the story. I label this one a must-read.

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