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A Personal Look at a Deployment in Iraq
on August 10, 2013
This book succeeds as a story of a five-man sniper team in Iraq, but it is not a shoot-'em-up nor a more technical look at the art of sniping. It covers more of the mundane day-to-day life of the team.
The views presented by the author were not what I ever experienced in the military. Not all officers and staff NCO's were incompetent, power-hungry mini-Napoleons. Most I ever met were professional, competent individuals. And I never met group of Marines, sniper team or not, who exhibited such a disregard for military courtesy and demeanor. That is not to say that the author's sniper team was not rather disrespectful; I just never ran across anything like that during my time in service.
The constant demeaning of "pogues" got to be a little old. In the Marines, every man is a rifleman, and while the infantry might be top dog, I never experience the level of distaste for Marines in other MOS's. In Iraq, while many job specialties kept inside the wire more often, almost every Marine wanted to go outside of the wire, and they volunteered to do so. I know of one admin corporal who volunteered for numerous convoys until he was killed manning a machine gun in a truck turret.
The author was not a sniper himself. He was a SAW gunner, there to provide support to the actual snipers. As such, that may have contributed to the lack of technical detail I expected. However, as a member of the team, I would have expected a little more of the sniping and a little less of the hijinks in the book.
The author's brother was one of the members of the crew who put on the show "Jackass," and I could see much of that reflected in the author's view on his experiences. There was more of almost falling into canals, blasting away with his SAW, almost deafening one of his teammates with an ill-placed burst of fire and then waiting for the inevitable "pay back" from that Marine.
If you want to read about what the daily grind of combat is like, the poor food, the poor conditions, the boredom, and the like, this book works. If you are looking for something more specific on the art of sniping, it is not as good. Regardless, I thank the author for his service.