Iron Bravo: Hearts, Minds, and Sergeants in the U. S. Army

Overview

Here is the reality of military life as Crane sees it: the constant wariness, bred in Vietnam, that Crane wears like a second skin; the grueling training in the Mojave Desert, where he watches raw young recruits learn state-of-the-art warfare. Then comes the call to the Gulf and the weeks of tedious waiting in the cold, barren Saudi desert ("Wall-to-Wall Fuck All" they name it), weeks that culminate at last in the exhilarating, terrifying dash across the sands into the teeth of battle, moments that change the men...
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Overview

Here is the reality of military life as Crane sees it: the constant wariness, bred in Vietnam, that Crane wears like a second skin; the grueling training in the Mojave Desert, where he watches raw young recruits learn state-of-the-art warfare. Then comes the call to the Gulf and the weeks of tedious waiting in the cold, barren Saudi desert ("Wall-to-Wall Fuck All" they name it), weeks that culminate at last in the exhilarating, terrifying dash across the sands into the teeth of battle, moments that change the men forever, especially those who witness the unspeakable spectacle of two thousand Iraqi soldiers buried alive by U.S. earthmovers. Here, too, is the story of First Sergeant Dee Crane, member of a vanishing breed, caught between the uncompromising traditions of Fort Riley's legendary history, from Custer to Patton, and the changing needs of a society that too often derides and discards the soldiers who protect it. And here is the face of modern war itself - its mask of high-tech marvels disguising the bedrock reality of grunts who must take and hold ground as they always have: with blood and bravery. Through it all Stroud weaves the distinguished fighting history of the Big Red One, christened in the fiery crucible of the First World War, tempered by its massive defeat at the Kasserine Pass in the Second World War, battered in the grinding carnage of Vietnam, and resurrected with the strategies of Air Land Battle that proved so devastatingly effective in Desert Storm.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The traditions, culture and spirit of the U.S. Army are here embodied in the person of First Sergeant Dee Crane, a ``lifer'' in the First Infantry Division. In pungent, whiplash prose, Stroud (Close Pursuit) chronicles Crane's experiences in Vietnam, peacetime duty at Fort Riley, Kans. (``Home of the Big Red One''), on maneuvers in the Mojave Desert and in combat during the Gulf War. The history of the division is skillfully woven into the narrative, including the WWII victories in Europe and the 1943 defeat at the Kasserine Pass in Tunisia, where General Erwin Rommel taught the inexperienced GIs a valuable but costly lesson in tactics. Because First Sergeant Crane is smart, thoughtful, funny, skeptical and articulate, his views on such matters as volunteers versus draftees, commissioned officers, female GIs, race relations, courage in battle and killing the enemy are consistently interesting and informative. (Feb.)
Library Journal
With the best-selling Close Pursuit: A Week in the Life of an NYPD Homicide Cop, Stroud established himself as a top chronicler of dangerous jobs. Iron Bravo, a portrait of a U.S. Army infantry sergeant, continues in the same vein.
John Mort
Stroud portrays the heart and mind of one Dee Crane, an army NCO so completely defined by his career that he is a kind of "military monk." Crane went to Vietnam with an MOS of 11 bravo--combat infantry--and, even though he had the talent for other, more technical specialties that would have translated into civilian jobs, stayed with it through the Persian Gulf War and to the brink, at age 51, of his retirement. He is glad to leave the army, finally, because he doesn't want to have to deal with women in combat units and because he knows that younger sergeants, however much they admire him, see him as a kind of fossil. He is the universal soldier and his unit, the Big Red One from Fort Riley, Kansas, is the heart of the infantry. Stroud feels that Crane carries on the tradition of Indian fighters--most of whom were based either in Fort Riley or Fort Leavenworth--and the noble, brutally slaughtered foot soldiers of the Battle of the Somme. Himself a Vietnam veteran, Stroud gives us the first truly impressive worm's-eye view of the Gulf War, from its awesome logistics to combat. He graphically portrays the contempt the Saudis had for American troops and the troops' disdain for the "ragheads." His soldiers' dialogue is a treat--for instance, a drill instructor screaming at a recruit that his rank in importance is "below soap scum but above Jane Fonda." The portrait of Crane, eternal sergeant and a complex, gentle man, is the best thing of all, however, in this solid, fresh look at war.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553095524
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/1/1995
  • Pages: 336

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