Just Another Soldier: A Year on the Ground in Iraq [NOOK Book]

Overview

This is not your father's war

This is Iraq, where a soldier's first duty is reinforcing his Humvee with sheet metal and sand bags. Or, in the absence of plumbing, burning barrels of human waste. Where any dead dog on the side of the road might be concealing an insurgent's bomb and anyone could be the enemy.

At age 17, Jason Christopher Hartley joined the Army National Guard. Thirteen years later, he is called to active duty, to serve in Iraq....

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Just Another Soldier: A Year on the Ground in Iraq

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Overview

This is not your father's war

This is Iraq, where a soldier's first duty is reinforcing his Humvee with sheet metal and sand bags. Or, in the absence of plumbing, burning barrels of human waste. Where any dead dog on the side of the road might be concealing an insurgent's bomb and anyone could be the enemy.

At age 17, Jason Christopher Hartley joined the Army National Guard. Thirteen years later, he is called to active duty, to serve in Iraq. Sent to a town called Ad Dujayl, made notorious by Saddam Hussein's 1982 massacre, Hartley is thrust into the center of America's war against terrorism. This is his story.

"If you are distrustful of the media and want to know exactly what's going on in Iraq, you'll have to pray for divine enlightenment, because only god knows what the hell is going on over here. However, if you want to know how it feels to be a soldier in Iraq, to hear something honest and raw, that I can help you with."

Sometimes profane, often poignant, and always nakedly candid, Just Another Soldier takes the reader past the images seen on CNN and the nightly news, into the day to day reality of life on the ground as an infantryman, attached to the 1st Division, in the first war of the 21st century. From the adrenaline rush of storming a suspected insurgent's house, to the sheer boredom of down time on the base, to the horror of dead civilians, Hartley examines his role as a man, as a soldier and as an American on foreign soil. His quest to discover the balance between his compassionate side and his baser instincts, results in a searing portrait of today's Army and a remarkable personal narrative written in a fresh and exciting new voice. Just Another Soldier is more than a war story; it delivers an intimate look at a generation of young men and women on the front lines of American policy.

Whether you're for or against the war in Iraq, this is essential reading.

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Editorial Reviews

People
“Exposes the tedium of war and the slow disillusionment of a veteran infantryman”
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Profane, insightful, funny, exasperating, occasionally philosophical, usually down and dirty and a book to be remembered.”
Charleston Post & Courier
“Often emotional, always full of vivid description and, above all, compelling.”
Deseret News
“This is, in Hartley’s words, ‘something honest and raw.’”
People Magazine
"Exposes the tedium of war and the slow disillusionment of a veteran infantryman"
People
“Exposes the tedium of war and the slow disillusionment of a veteran infantryman”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061746031
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/17/2009
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 738,008
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Jason Christopher Hartley is a member of the Army National Guard. He lives in New Paltz, New York. His website contains many of the photographs he shot of the war in Iraq.

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Read an Excerpt

Just Another Soldier

A Year on the Ground in Iraq
By Jason Hartley

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2005 Jason Hartley
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060843667

Chapter One

April 30, 2005

True American Hero

Getting dressed in my desert camouflage uniform is something I've done hundreds of times, but it felt weird to be putting it on again for the first time in four months. Since returning from Iraq, my National Guard unit hadn't had any drills yet. Typically a drill weekend for us consists of some sort of infantry training, but this one, taking place at Camp Smith, about an hour away from my apartment, was nothing more than taking care of some paperwork and attending an awards ceremony and a dinner. I was wearing one of the uniforms I'd worn in Iraq. It was well worn and comfortable; my boots fit my feet perfectly -- they were the only pair I'd worn for the last year. My roommate Matt, one of my platoon mates, was in uniform too now, something I used to see daily in Iraq. But being dressed in my uniform in our apartment in New Paltz, New York, made me feel fake, like I should be going to a Halloween party.

I'm very proud of the fourteen years I've served in the Army National Guard, but since we'd returned, I hadn't felt very gung-ho about being a soldier. In fact, I'd done everything I could to be as unmilitary as possible. I hadn't cut my hair for the entire four months we'd been back until a few days ago. I looked ridiculous with my mop of hair, like I should have been driving a Camaro and listening to an eight-track. My hair hadn't been that long in years; I just wanted to grow it as long as I could out of spite. I had also grown a goatee and a mustache that made me look more like a child molester than a hipster, two other things that had to be shorn before getting back into soldier mode.

Before I deployed to Iraq, I was part of an infantry company based out of Manhattan. There are a lot of infantry companies in the New York National Guard, but only a few are based out of New York City. Companies from the city are dramatically different in personality (and ethnicity) than companies based out of other parts of the state, creating rivalries based more on resentment than on competitiveness.

I was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah -- yes, I was once Mormon -- and spent nine years in the National Guard there, where 99 percent of soldiers were white suburbanites. When I moved to New York City in 2000, it took some adjustment to learn how to better interact with the personalities of soldiers who had grown up on the streets. I was one of only two white soldiers in my Manhattan unit, a company that was almost entirely Hispanic, with a handful of other minorities. The other white guy was this jovial, barrel-chested Irish cop from the Bronx named Willy, who quickly became one of the best friends I've ever had. After a few months in my new unit, I realized I preferred soldiers who grew up in the city to soldiers who grew up in the suburbs.

When my battalion was deployed to Iraq, different companies were combined in order to get us to full strength. My city company was merged with soldiers from other parts of the state, and the disparity was the source of a lot of friction that never got resolved, even after eleven months in combat together. Now I was on my way to drill, where I would see all these guys for the first time in months.

I had pulled my uniform out of the duffel bag where it had been stuffed since I'd gotten back from combat and put it on without ironing it. I'd cut my hair, but it was barely within military standards and nowhere near as short as infantrymen usually keep theirs. It was still long enough that my hat didn't fit because of it. My uniform carried no rank. For the past several years, I'd been a sergeant, but on the second-to-last day of our deployment I was demoted. On the last day of my tour of duty, while at Fort Drum, New York, before being released back into the wild as a civilian, I wore the rank of specialist. As I drove away from Fort Drum that day, I threw my pin-on rank out the window. I never bothered getting another set of pin-on rank or having them sewn on. The stories in this book, and their presence on the internet, were the reason I was demoted.

Matt and I weren't in any mood to take this upcoming drill seriously. Before getting on the highway we picked up a case of beer at a gas station and put the cans in a garbage bag full of ice in his backseat. We drank all the way to Camp Smith.

All the stories I've ever heard from vets about returning from combat are stuff like "You fight for the guy next to you" or "The friends you make in combat will be the best you ever make." Whatever. For the most part, I enjoyed my time in combat. I love being in the infantry. I served with a lot of good soldiers in Iraq, in a platoon with solid leaders. Fighting there was an incredible experience for me, the culmination of almost everything I've wanted to do as an infantryman, but the worst part was being surrounded by so many assholes. When we got to Camp Smith, it was good to see all the guys again, most of whom I cared for a great deal, but it also reminded me of how much I couldn't stand them as a group.

Since the company I was originally a part of in Manhattan had been disbanded while we were in Iraq, now, like it or not, I was permanently a part of this new company. I wanted to show my face, hug everyone, then ask to be transferred to another city-based unit again.

Continues...


Excerpted from Just Another Soldier by Jason Hartley Copyright © 2005 by Jason Hartley. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 8 of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 26, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    To serve your country with honor. Then to be singled out for honest and enlightening blog reporting from the sandbox. Conflict from being asked to do what is right in Theater Commanders minds, but not being given a direct order to do so.

    This is a telling tale a man. A man who sevres his country with honor. He is a confrontational person. Can a soldier be anything but? Trouble arrises in his life regularly because he writes his feelings honesty in blog form. Never can he be faulted for the truth, only for the gritty truth that colors war as dirty as it is.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2006

    The reality of war

    ¿Just Another Solider¿ chronicles the every day monotony and constant fear of living on the front lines in Iraq. The book follows the life of Christopher Hartley and his exploits during a recent tour in Iraq. Hartley describes his day-to-day activities in vivid detail, everything from clearing a home of insurgents to just sitting around ¿waiting for something to happen¿. The main goal of this book is to give a completely uncensored view of what life is really like for a grunt on the ground. I really liked the fact that the author did not hold anything back, which helped me to paint a clear mental picture and as close to reality as possible without having to enlist. I believe that everyone should take the time to read this book to really try and grasp how hard and dangerous life is for a common American solider.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2006

    Must Read

    This is a great book, it makes you feel as if you are in the authors' shoes. It is one of the most realistic war-biographies I have ever read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2006

    Raw and real

    Every American would do well to know this soldiers story of his experiences in the war in Iraq. A great read no matter what your intrests or politics.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2005

    Not just another soldier

    This is an awesome book. I am military myself and the author pulls no punches. He tells it like it is, the good, the bad and the ugly. A good read with a lot of insite.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted August 17, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 8 of 7 Customer Reviews

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