One Million Steps: A Marine Platoon at War

One Million Steps: A Marine Platoon at War

by Bing West


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Battalion 3/5 suffered the highest number of casualties in the war in Afghanistan. This is the story of one platoon in that distinguished battalion.
Aware of U.S. plans to withdraw from the country, knowing their efforts were only a footprint in the sand, the fifty Marines of 3rd Platoon fought in Sangin, the most dangerous district in all of Afghanistan. So heavy were the casualties that the Secretary of Defense offered to pull the Marines out. Instead, they pushed forward. Each Marine in 3rd Platoon patrolled two and a half miles a day for six months—a total of one million steps—in search of a ghostlike enemy that struck without warning. Why did the Marines attack and attack, day after day?  
Every day brought a new skirmish. Each footfall might trigger an IED. Half the Marines in 3rd Platoon didn’t make it intact to the end of the tour. One Million Steps is the story of the fifty brave men who faced these grim odds and refused to back down. Based on Bing West’s embeds with 3rd Platoon, as well as on their handwritten log, this is a gripping grunt’s-eye view of life on the front lines of America’s longest war. Writing with a combat veteran’s compassion for the fallen, West also offers a damning critique of the higher-ups who expected our warriors to act as nation-builders—and whose failed strategy put American lives at unnecessary risk.
Each time a leader was struck down, another rose up to take his place. How does one man instill courage in another? What welded these men together as firmly as steel plates?
This remarkable book is the story of warriors caught between a maddening, unrealistic strategy and their unswerving commitment to the fight. Fearsome, inspiring, and poignant in its telling, One Million Steps is sure to become a classic, a unique and enduring testament to the American warrior spirit.
Praise for One Million Steps
“West shows the reality of modern warfare in a way that is utterly gripping.”—Max Boot, author of Invisible Armies
“A gripping, boot-level account of Marines in Afghanistan during the bloody struggle with Taliban fighters.”Los Angeles Times
One Million Steps transcends combat narrative: It is an epic of contemporary small-unit combat.”—Eliot A. Cohen, author of Supreme Command
“A blistering assault on America’s senior military leadership.”The Wall Street Journal
“A heart-pounding portrayal . . . a compelling account of what these men endured.”—The Washington Post
“Stunning, sobering, and brilliantly written.”—Newt Gingrich
“One of the most intrepid military journalists, Bing West, delivers a heart-wrenching account of one platoon’s fight.”—Bill Bennett, host of Morning in America
“Bing West has reconfirmed his standing as one of the most intrepid and insightful observers of America’s wars. . . . One Million Steps reveals the essence of small-unit combat, the very soul of war.”The Weekly Standard
“A searing read, but it is one that all Americans should undertake. We send our sons into battle, and few know what our warriors experience.”—The Washington Times

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780812980912
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/09/2015
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 156,694
Product dimensions: 7.90(w) x 5.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Bing West, a Marine combat veteran, served as an assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration. He has been on hundreds of patrols in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. A nationally acclaimed war correspondent, he is the author of The Village; No True Glory: A Frontline Account of the Battle for Fallujah; The Strongest Tribe: War, Politics, and the Endgame in Iraq; and The Wrong War: Grit, Strategy, and the Way Out of Afghanistan. Most recently, he was the co-author of Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer’s memoir, Into the Fire. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Infantry Order of St. Crispin, West is the recipient of the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service, the Colby Award for Military Writers, the Andrew J. Goodpaster Prize for military scholarship, the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation award (twice), Tunisia’s Médaille de la Liberté, the Marine Corps Combat Correspondents Association Award, the Father Clyde Leonard Award, the Free Press Award, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars News Media Award. He lives with his wife, Betsy, in Newport, Rhode Island.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Excerpted from "One Million Steps"
by .
Copyright © 2015 Bing West.
Excerpted by permission of Random House Publishing Group.
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.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Introduction xix

Table of Organization xxxi

1 Shock 3

2 Leader Lost 17

3 With the Old Breed 24

4 Leaders Found 45

5 Toe-to-Toe 61

6 Thanksgiving 84

7 Gone 103

8 Enemy Respite 109

9 Midway to Home 126

10 The Routine 150

11 End of Tour 174

12 The Endless Grunt 191

13 Who Will Fight For Us? 202

Acknowledgments 219

Appendix A Address by LT. Gen. John Kelly. JSMC, November 13,2010 221

Appendix B 3rd Platoon and Kilo Company 3/5 Excerpts From Daily Logbooks 225

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One Million Steps: A Marine Platoon at War 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ex State Trooper here and consider this a super well written tell how it is book. Thank to all of those who serve this country in the miserable conditions every day.
BillA More than 1 year ago
This is an outstanding recounting of the life of Marines in Afghanistan. You feel you are right there with them, awe-struck by their courage, skills, and still very human personalities. I've read several books of this genre, but this is the best for that very personal grunts-eye view of life in Afghanistan. Bing West's view is very genuine and authoritative; and his blending of snippets of similar situations in Vietnam a generation earlier sharpened insights into this war. This is an awesome book, without special pleading or broad programs, that captures the very real and fearsome events that our Marines and other grunts deal with every day. It makes me very proud of them and very grateful, and encourages me that all is not lost with our younger generation, after all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A good read for understanding the soldiers, the battlefield, and what defines them. Recommend
Anonymous More than 1 year ago