Saturday, October 13, 2007

Home of the Brave

When Home of the Brave: Honoring the Unsung Heroes in the War on Terror by Caspar W. Weinberger and Wynton C. Hall was released in May 2006, I bought a copy for my father for his birthday. It being bad form to read the book before giving it as a gift, I only just recently read it (after reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows a couple of months ago). I've been busy with other things, so I only just finished reading it today. If you aren't already familiar with it, here's the synopsis from the book jacket:

They are nineteen of the most highly decorated soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines in the United States military, and yet most Americans don’t even know their names. In this riveting, intimate account, former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger and Wynton C. Hall tell stories of jaw-dropping heroism and hope in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Based on candid personal interviews, and other sources, Home of the Brave takes readers beyond the bullets and battles and into the hearts and minds of the husbands, fathers, and brothers who are fighting terrorists overseas so that America doesn’t have to fight them at home. These are the powerful, true-life stories of the hopes, fears, and triumphs these men and women experienced fighting the War on Terror. But more than that, these are the stories of soldiers who risked everything to save lives and defend freedom.

*Lieutenant Colonel Mark Mitchell, the Green Beret leader whose fifteen-man Special Forces team took five hundred Al Qaeda and Taliban prisoners, and posthumously repatriated the body of the first American to die in combat in the War on Terror, CIA agent Johnny “Mike” Spann.

*Army National Guard Sergeant Leigh Ann Hester, the first woman ever to be awarded the Silver Star for combat, whose sharp-shooting and bravery played an enormous role in fighting off over fifty Iraqi insurgents while her ten-person squad protected a convoy of supplies on the way to fellow soldiers.

*Sergeant Rafael Peralta, a Mexican immigrant, enlisted in the Marines the same day he received his green card. Wounded from enemy fire, Peralta used his body to smother the blast of an enemy grenade and gave his life so that his marine brothers could live.

These real-life heroes remind us of American history’s most enduring lesson: Ours would not be the land of the free if it were not also the home of the brave.

This book attempts to help fill the void left by mainstream media reporting: for the most part, the MSM doesn't tell the stories of these heroes unless those same heroes can be portrayed as victims. Also, Mr. Weinberger and Mr. Hall give a shout-out to milblogs, specifically Blackfive and Mudville Gazette, among others. I can't get close to doing this book justice. All I can do is highly recommend you take the time to read it.

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