It is 1986, and the Soviet Union is five years from collapsing bringing an end to a nearly fifty year standoff with the United States. The differences causing conflict are fundamental. The arms race has ramped up to unbelievable proportions, and both sides are threatening action soon if deeply contentious issues are not resolved. The USSR is also in the midst of a protracted war of conquest in Afghanistan. Leftist groups such as the Red Army Faction (RAF) of West Germany and Action Direct (AD) of France are threatening to attack NATO installations in the Federal Republic of Germany and throughout Europe as they have in the past. Thousands of protestors are surrounding nuclear storage sites and are becoming more aggressive each year. It appears nothing can end this standoff except nuclear annihilation or capitulation by one of the antagonists.
One company of infantry stands between the entire Soviet arsenal and live Pershing II nuclear missiles which are the threat used by President Ronald Reagan as he orders Mr. Gorbachev to "tear down this wall".
In this brutally honest and irreverently funny account, one of the men who stood the perimeter describes what it was like. You will be taken to the field, inside the towers, and out on the town. You will be carried through the two year tour of one very young Infantryman as he arrives in Germany straight out of Infantry School and gradually navigates his way through the mind numbingly tedious and insanely active life of a tower rat. The author pulls no punches; he shares with you his mistakes and his achievements as he earns his way back to "the world". You will live the roller-coaster life that was 2/4 Infantry. You will feel the tremendous toll living in the boiler-pot of the Cold War in Western Europe took on the lives, bodies, hearts, and souls of the young men who volunteered to stand between the Bear and the Eagle. You will also experience the incomparable brotherhood of the Infantry which was only made stronger by the unique conditions in Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment (Pershing). Tower rats were as flawed as they were marvelous. It was a life that, until now, had to be experienced to be fully understood. For possibly the first time, a person who was actually there relates the amazing bond forged in the towers of Waldheide Nuclear Weapons Storage Area. You will see it through his eyes. You will live it.
The Cold War is an often overlooked era of our history. Although it saturated the culture for the second half of the twentieth century, it is often relegated to a footnote at the end of history books. An entire generation of Americans only vaguely remembers hearing something about the Cold War. SAT & BAF: Memories of a Tower Rat is possibly the first attempt to correct that.
|Publisher:||Outskirts Press, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.55(d)|
About the Author
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
AT, BAF, SOG, SAW, OSUT, and PRP. Do you know the lingo of the US Infantry? If not, you'll learn it and a lot more while reading this new memoir by Doug DePew. Recounting his four years stationed in West Germany during the Cold War years of the mid to late 80s, this is an eye-opening look at what daily life was like for our soldiers stationed overseas. The story begins as DePew steps off a 747, having just arrived in Frankfurt, West Germany. Taking his father's advice, he immediately heads over to a nearby bratwurst stand to sample the local cuisine. Next, he's taken through processing where he is repeatedly asked if he objects to working with nuclear weapons and if he'd "honestly never used LSD." Repeatedly answering no to both questions, he soon learns that his primary mission while stationed in West Germany will be to protect the Pershing II nuclear missiles. After a few chapters in which the author tells of exploring the area, he moves on to his first day as a "Tower Rat." The nuclear missiles were protected by three perimeter fences, set about 30 feet apart, with razor wire on both top and bottom of each fence. DePew's job was to serve as a lookout, stationed high above the fences in one of several towers. Each tower held a single soldier, 24/7. At just 10' x 10', no place to sit, and nothing to do but watch and listen, it was a lonely job. To relieve the stress and fatigue, the men had plenty of escapades during their off time. While Memories of a Tower Rat contains plenty of information about the responsibilities and risks of soldiers stationed in West Germany in the 80s, it is the bond these men shared that really shines through and makes this a book well worth reading. From the unauthorized use of a "protective mask water-proof bag" to the appearance of a snowman on top of a tower, it is clear that DePew and his fellow soldiers shared a special bond that grew stronger through the stress and loneliness of being tower rats. There are also many exploits recounted during off-hours for the men of "Charlie Company" that add a lot of humor to this book. At one point, DePew and a few friends went duck hunting with their M-16s after they discovered how to convert the weapons into spear guns. While they had a great time, they failed miserably at getting any ducks for dinner. DePew also enjoyed attending several Oktoberfest celebrations and takes the reader through the boisterous festival. There is the time his fellow soldiers snuck some British ladies onto base and also several confrontations with "the engineers." Why infantry and engineers needed to fight wasn't known, they just had to one-up each other. The author recounts these events and many more in a lighthearted, easy-to-read style that will keep the military enthusiast entertained. The author decided to pen this memoir in part to honor his buddies in "Charlie Company" as well as because the experiences of those stationed in West Germany during the Cold War went largely unnoticed by the mainstream press. He has done a good job of recreating the life and atmosphere of that long-ago era of Soviet/US tensions. Like many military memoirs, this one is filled with colorful language, numerous amorous situations with young ladies, and, as the author admits, debauchery. Be prepared for a writer who tells it like it is and doesn't mince words. Quill says: A fitting tribute to those who served as tower rats during the Cold War.