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The Devil's Sandbox: With the 2nd Battalion, 162nd Infantry at War in Iraq: With the 2nd Battalion, 162md Infantry at War in Iraq Kindle Edition
Witness some of the fiercest fighting of the Iraq War and some of the most rewarding and forward-looking civil affairs projects aimed at rebuilding the broken nation of Iraq. Read how the town in Oregon struggles to do without the people - the accountants, lawyers, mechanics, et. al. - who went to serve in the war.
The Devil's Sandbox offers a rare insight into what this war means for the citizen-soldier at home and abroad, and chronicles a battalion that earned the respect of the regular Army soldiers who fought alongside them in some of the toughest battles in the Iraq war.
Military Book Club
“With a gritty flair for storytelling and blunt style, this work is not just another story about the Iraq War … More than a war story about an infantry battalion, The Devil’s Sandbox represents an intimate reality for thousands of Army National Guard soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan … Bruning does not neglect the sacrifices and bravery families and friends of the deployed soldiers exhibited during the deployment. He explains the hardships and stress on those that remained at home as their loved ones went to war … John Bruning’s work is the best book written about the Army National Guard since 11 September 2001 … The nation’s citizen-soldiers have been an integral part in the War on Terror, and their sacrifice, as well as their families’, is vividly brought to life in this new work.”
On Point: The Journal of Army History
From the Inside Flap
It is well known that substantial numbers of the Army National Guard have been deployed to Iraq for extended tours of duty. Less appreciated is the fact that these National Guardsmen are primarily combat soldiers. The Devil’s Sandbox tells their story.
Specifically, this is the story of the 2nd Battalion of Oregon’s 162nd Infantry Regiment (2-162), who are known as the “Volunteers.” They were called up in the summer of 2003 and moved to Fort Hood, Texas, for training in October. The next spring found them in combat in Iraq. Upon entering the country in April 2004 they saw heavy fighting in Najaf, Fallujah, North Sadr City, and while “trolling for terrorists” in the Sunni Triangle. The occupation of Iraq, as seen through the eyes of these Oregonians, brings the realities of the war home for the reader.
In one battle, a platoon of the Volunteers found itself deep behind the lines of the Mahdi militia in Najaf. In the fighting for the six-story hotel that became known as the “Apache Hilton,” eighteen Oregonians fought a multi-day pitched battle. When the dust settled at the end of a week of combat and the Volunteers withdrew, over three hundred dead enemy militiamen littered the battlefield. And this was just one battle by one platoon.
On average the National Guardsmen are older and more mature than their regular army counterparts. Many of them have years of active-duty military experience. They also bring high-level civilian skills with them to Iraq. With a substantial complement of experienced craftsmen and contractors, the Volunteers of 2-162 were able to engage in direct civic action through the rebuilding of the ancient marketplace in downtown Baghdad as well as constructing roads, rebuilding mosques, repairing sewer and power lines, and establishing schools in the Iraqi communities they served in.
The Volunteers’ year in combat in Iraq is told largely in the words of the soldiers themselves. Author John Bruning interviewed virtually all of the members of the battalion as well as many family members. He even deployed with the Oregonians as an “embedded historian when they were sent to New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina. This brings the reader a remarkably intimate and immediate experience of “being there” as the infantrymen of 2-162 go into battle, The Devil’s Sandbox is replete with the valorous stories of these Americans in combat on the mean streets of Iraq.
John R. Bruning has been a professional military historian and writer since 1990. He is the author of Crimson Sky: the Air Battle for Korea; Jungle Ace; Elusive Glory; Ship Strike Pacific; Luck of the Draw; and The Devil’s Sandbox: With the 2nd Battalion, 162nd Infantry at War in Iraq. He served as an embedded civilian historian with the 2-162 Infantry during Operation Southern Comfort, the post-Hurricane Katrina relief operation in New Orleans. Bruning also has numerous articles, documentaries, multi-media CD-Rom programs, flight simulators and museum displays to his credit. He lives in Independence, Oregon, the heart of 2-162 country.
--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B001JQLU7G
- Publisher : Zenith Press; 1st edition (October 15, 2006)
- Publication date : October 15, 2006
- Language : English
- File size : 4194 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Not Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 352 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,444,871 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
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I got to know the men as human beings first, and then as soldiers. No matter how much I feel they should not have been there in the first place, the book gave me an understanding of why they fought (mostly to protect each other), and I felt their hearts were in the right place. They never seemed to lose their humanity, or their caring for the innocents in Iraq, and took some gambles to spare innocent Iraqi lives.
There is a lot of death and it touches you, because you do feel that you know the guys. It was an easy read, yet a difficult one, because senseless death and destruction is difficult for me to read about, but it is an honest story of combat, and certainly never boring.
There are numerous examples of extreme bravery and courage, there are stupid decisions made from above that the men have to follow, there are a LOT of battles in which they took part, and you almost feel as though you're there watching.
I got angry at times, because of the equipment these guys were forced to use - unarmored trucks, which caused one or two unnecessary deaths, lack of support sometimes from the "regular" army, and just some really bad decisions made by leaders. I hope the guys who made it home alive will be okay - they all have a lot to live with.
I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in the realities of what our soldiers go through, on either side of the political fence.
The separation with their loved ones and then the journey thru life and death for some and injuries and mutilations for others.
The aftermath of re-adapting to life when back to the US. Re-adapting to family life with anger, guilt, trauma and physical pains is not only part of war consequences but the threat of PTSD is also extremely damaging to the individuals and their immediate surroundings. May God bless these heroes for they are truly heroes. My family and I are indebted to them for the freedom we are enjoying and we are so sad when this same freedom is abused by "anti-war" individuals. God bless America.