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Outlaw Platoon: Heroes, Renegades, Infidels, and the Brotherhood of War in Afghanistan Paperback – February 26, 2013
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A riveting story of American fighting men, Outlaw Platoon is Lieutenant Sean Parnell's stunning personal account of the legendary U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division's heroic stand in the mountains of Afghanistan. Acclaimed for its vivid, poignant, and honest recreation of sixteen brutal months of nearly continuous battle in the deadly Hindu Kush, Outlaw Platoon is a Band of Brothers or We Were Soldiers Once and Young for the early 21st century--an action-packed, highly emotional true story of enormous sacrifice and bravery.
A magnificent account of heroes, renegades, infidels, and brothers, it stands with Sebastian Junger's War as one of the most important books to yet emerge from the heat, smoke, and fire of America's War in Afghanistan.
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“The range of emotions that Sean Parnell summons in Outlaw Platoon [is] stunning. A nuanced, compelling memoir . . . Parnell shows he’s a gifted, brave storyteller.” — Pittsburgh Tribune
“Outlaw Platoon put me back on the battlefield again. It’s a heartfelt story that shows how very different people can be thrown together in combat and find a way to make it work. Parnell and the soldiers who fought beside him are all courageous heroes―real bad asses.” — Chris Kyle, author of American Sniper
“Two of the most intense tales of courage under fire I own are Black Hawk Down and Lone Survivor. I now have a third, Outlaw Platoon. It’s an absolutely gripping, edge-of-your-seat ride.” — Brad Thor, author of Full Black
“Outlaw Platoon is an utterly gripping account of what our soldiers endure on the front lines―the frustrations, the fear, the loneliness. . . Here, in these pages, are the on-the-ground realities of a war we so rarely witness on news broadcasts” — Tim O'Brien, author of The Things They Carried
“Outlaw Platoon is an exceptional look into the mind of a platoon leader in Afghanistan; Captain Parnell shares his experiences of leadership, loss, and aggressive military tactics. You can really feel the bonds forged between these brothers in arms as the battle plays out” — Marcus Luttrell, author of Lone Survivor
“At times, I forgot I was reading about a war as I was drawn up in the drama the same way you [are] when reading Krakauer’s Into Thin Air . . . This is a book of probing honesty, wrenching drama and courage.” — Doug Stanton, author of Horse Soldiers
“[A] soulful story of men at war . . . Outlaw Platoon shows us that the love and brotherhood forged in the fires of combat are the most formidable quaities a unit can possess.” — Steven Pressfield, author of Gates of Fire
“Outlaw Platoon is expertly told by a man who braved the heat of battle time and time again. An epic story as exacting as it is suspenseful, it reveals the bravery and dedication of our armed service men and women around the world.” — Clive Cussler
“This book is more than just a rip-roaring combat narrative: it is a profoundly moving exploration into the nature and evolution of the warrior bond forged in desperate, against-all-odds battles. A significant book, not to be missed.” — Jack Coughlin, author of Shooter: The Autobiography of the Top-Ranked Marine Sniper
“Outlaw Platoon is the real deal. It’s a terrific tale of combat leadership that deserves to be studied by all small-unit leaders. The narrative goes beyond the battlefield to depict the maddening nature of the war and the grit of those who selflessly protect us.” — Bing West, author of No True Glory
“Sean Parnell reaches past the band-of-brothers theme to a place of brutal self-awareness . . . [he] never flinches from a fight, nor the hard questions of a messy war.” — Kevin Sites, author of In the Hot Zone: One Man, One Year, Twenty Wars
From the Back Cover
At twenty-four years of age, U.S. Army Ranger Sean Parnell was named commander of a forty-man elite infantry platoon, the 10th Mountain Division—a unit that came to be known as the Outlaws. Tasked with rooting out Pakistan-based insurgents from a valley in the Hindu Kush, Parnell assumed they would be facing a ragtag bunch of civilians until, in May 2006, a routine patrol turned into a brutal ambush. Through sixteen months of combat, the platoon became Parnell's family. The cost of battle was high for these men. Not all of them made it home, but for those who did, it was the love and faith they found in one another that ultimately kept them alive.
- Publisher : William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (February 26, 2013)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 416 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0062066404
- ISBN-13 : 978-0062066404
- Item Weight : 11.2 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.31 x 0.94 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #94,488 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Reviewed in the United States on December 28, 2020
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There was a part when one of Outlaw Platoon's young soldiers was trying to fire a .50 caliber machinegun that had been loaded incorrectly during a firefight. It was basically a huge, .50 caliber bolt-action rifle. The exact same thing happened to Corporal Robert Duncan (2/A/1/32) during a firefight in the Korengal Valley.
When I read the part about the dog's, which were such a huge morale boost to the U.S. troops, being euthanized, because higher thought it prudent, it reminded me of what Corporal Shane Wilkinson (2/A/1/32) and SGT Bill Wilkinson (no relation, mortars/A/1/32) and so many other soldiers said when they returned to the KOP and found that all the dogs (on orders from battalion) had been killed. The dogs that hated the Afghans and loved the U.S. troops; the dogs that warned them when there was anyone on a nearby ridgeline, and made them feel like they had a piece of home with them while in Afghanistan.
Then there was a part in Outlaw Platoon where the soldier who kept everyone's morale up was killed in a HMMWV going out on mission. That reminded me of Doc Angelo Vaccaro (3/A/1/32) and was just as devastating to the morale of the entire Third Platoon, A/1/32.
I read a review that expressed anger that Parnell didn't give enough credit to the rear echelon, or what the front line troops called "fobbit's". As true as that criticism may be, it was still very honest of Parnell. In fact, every combat vet has heard, and probably knows the lyrics to the song "fobbit". If you talk to any line infantry combat veterans, they all have a dislike and a distrust for men behind the line. That is the Afghanistan War, WWII, and probably any Legionnaire during Roman times. If you take offense to that, you must take offense to almost every combat vet, and that is simply not right.
Outlaw platoon also talks about how Parnell was on leave and all he could think about was getting back to his men. That reminded me of SGT Dan Haff (3/A/1/32) and SPC Manuel Ferreira (and so many other soldiers) when they were wounded and evacuated to Jalalabad. All they could think about was getting back to their respective platoons--so much so that they hitched a ride back before they were healed. Haff had no use of his arm, which was in bandages from a PKM wound, and Ferreira couldn't sit without pain due to the bullet wound through his lower-back and buttocks.
When Parnell gets home, the things that the average American finds important (going out partying, or even vacationing) just seems so trivial. That very thing has been stated by Brandon Camacho (1/B/1/32) and Jeff Levesque (1/B/1/32) and almost every other veteran I have spoken to. In fact, SGT Josh Lomen (2/A/1/32) simply could not understand many of his fellow students at the University of Washington when he got back after his deployment. He felt so much older, even though many were his same age.
The book was so real: trouble communicating with the ANA (which every unit has); good Terps and bad Terps; animosity between platoons within a company; good officers and bad officers. There are so many more examples and what happened to Outlaw platoon has happened to a lot of American units. Read this book and be grateful for veterans who give so much. Like Parnell, each of them has suffered mental anguish almost daily after the war. I only hope they can find someone, like Parnell did, to help them put the war behind them, if that is possible.
In my opinion, Ryan's Atticus prescribes for a loner to get off your butt, stop crying, accept love from other beings and set a nearly impossible challenge for yourself - and you will get better. In my opinion, from what I have seen, he appears to have succeeded with his recipe in his own cure. His personal courage is without question.
In my opinion, the Woodruffs' In An Instant prescribes for those who have it all and nearly lose it all. It prescribes to accept love and help from all family, friends, rivals (who now admire you) and the resources of the Nation. The absence of the latter medecine for most of us rules it out as a resource for our complete cure. There will be some of the medecine for us vets for a little while before political demands elsewhere suck it away.
It is already time to suck it up and help yourself with help from your family and buddies as it has been in every war. It is evan more so now with many vet's suffering literally from multiple wars - and I mean more than two in many cases. From what I see on TV, both Lee and Bob Woodruff appear to have succeeded. There influence to seek more affordable cures is needed Their personal courage is without question.
In my opinion, Parnell and Bruning's Outlaw Platoon is the answer for many as it was for me. Both Parnell and Bruning are heros. Bruning's traumas are softer than Parnell's physical brain damage but clearly have effected him nearly as much. Many lament the absence of the draft so that we can understand the horror of war. Yet too large a number refuse to read this book necause they say it is so gruesome. We need to toughen up and learn to react to help as so many did in Boston on Patriot's Day. Absorbing Outlaw Platoon can sure help you there!
Both Parnell and Bruning experienced and re-experienced Outlaw Platoon in its writing. Parnell is doing the courageous thing now. In my opinion, he is at a physical and mental plateau and struggling to stay there so that he can help his buddies. He is attending Duquesne University for his Phd in Clinical Psychology. As I understand it, that is essentially treating things as they are, not delving into deeper causes.
In my opinion, Parnell wants to continue to be a buddy to those who have been through what he has. His potential help for fully PTSD patients (male, female, civilians, first responders, and vets) is awsome. He is a person to supply what you need to help yourself as Wounded Warrior amputees helped Boston's civilian amputees recently. Succinctly but kindly, get medically as squared away as this Nation will help to do. then get off your butt and help yourself. As such, he is truly a national resource. For those who need his help and can use it, take it and leave, unless you are mutually helping each other as did Bruning and Parnell.
Many different types of examples of mutual help abound in this book. It is the typical result of the intensity of the 16 month experience rare in ordinary civilian life - now becoming less so.
I thank the authors of all three books for their help in my own stormy voyage. I know it can help others. I would welcome any comment.
Top reviews from other countries
Here's the thing. Never forget the sacrifice of our soldiers sent into harms way, even though the Taliban will infiltrate right behind our exfil from Afghan. We will always respect and admire the personal sacrifice our soldiers have made and hopefully continue to make going forward as our existence in this world gets murkier and murkier going forward. God bless them all.
Those without operational experiences this book is wrote in a way for you to understand a soldiers experience of war.
Veterans this book took me home!!!
Well done Sean.