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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 by [John R. Bruning]

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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

4.7 out of 5 stars 62 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


“Beside the fact that we absolutely love the book’s title, The Devil’s Sandbox strikes us as one of the more powerful unit histories from the Iraq War ... One thing's for sure, no one can ever refer to the men and women of the 2/126 as ‘weekend warriors’again.”
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

--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.

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.

Product details

  • 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
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 62 ratings

About the author

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John R. Bruning's latest book, "Race of Aces: WWII's Elite Airmen and the Epic Battle to Become the Master of the Sky" will be published by Hachette Book Group this January 14th. It chronicles the extraordinary story of five fighter pilots who competed furiously in the national spotlight to become America's ace of aces during World War II.

John is the collaborating writer or author of twenty-two non-fiction books, including four New York Times best sellers. A graduate of the University of Oregon, John was given a Department of Defense's Thomas Jefferson Award for best article by a photojournalist in 2010 after he wrote about a forced landing in the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan. He was embedded with 2-162 Infantry, Oregon National Guard during the stability and support operation in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in September 2005.

John lives in Independence, Oregon with his two kids, a couch-eating Jordanian dog and a cat who enjoys swimming, hiking in the Cascades, and bossing everyone around.

John can be found at Instagram at:


and writes about great Americans here:

Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
62 global ratings

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