Friday, May 16, 2014

Combat and Other Shenanigans


Date Published: February 25, 2014

War is hell…but sometimes it’s also funny as hell.
Combat and Other Shenanigans is Lieutenant Piers Platt’s firsthand account of his year as a cavalry platoon leader in Iraq. Wry, action-packed, and poignant,Combat and Other Shenanigans is the absurd-but-true story of the antics the world’s finest soldiers get up to when no one high-ranking is watching.

 The American soldier is known for being resourceful and innovative, which is generally true, but is also a euphemism for being good at breaking the rules when necessary.  Every unit has individuals who are even more resourceful than most, and we were no exception.  Sergeant First Class Peterson was leading fuel convoy escorts later during our tour when one of his Humvees blew a tire.  As usual given our supply woes, he was totally out of spares.  He happened to be near a major support FOB at the time, and after a brief search at the supply depot (who wouldn’t resupply him because all of their tires were ear-marked for other units already), he found a motor pool with four or five Humvees in pristine condition, each of which carried a spare.  Given how clean they were, the Humvees were clearly not used for missions outside the FOB – they were glorified golf carts that got washed weekly and never left the wire.  Peterson and his men were in the midst of stealing two of the spares when a Sergeant from the unit that owned the tires strolled into the motor pool.

 “Woah, what are you guys doing?”

 Peterson had to think fast.  “Hm?  Oh, I talked to your NCO inside and he said to take them.”

 “Sergeant First Class Johnson?”

 Peterson smiled.  “That’s the guy.”

 “Oh, okay,” the soldier said.  “Lemme give you a hand.”

 Charlie Troop was similarly short on spare tires on another occasion, so they found a massive pile of them at their nearest support FOB.  Their Executive Officer, Dan Cho, argued for a while with the depot personnel, begging and pleading to get even a few of them released, to no avail – they were all reserved for other units who hadn’t shown up to get them yet.  Being a resourceful, adaptive individual, he thanked them and left.  Then he took his cargo truck to the opposite side of the depot, well out of sight of the depot offices, sent two scouts scrambling over the fence, and used his cargo truck’s crane to hoist the spare tires over the fence.

My Review: 

This was definitely not my usual genre to read, but I thought it looked like a very interesting book. I'm not at all a military expert, but I do have family that serves in various branches. So I'm vaaaaggguuueeely familiar with some of the basics.

This was a quick, funny, and eye opening story. I really enjoyed the humor laced in with the serious bits. Platt's writing style is pretty basic, but instead of being a detriment to the book I felt that it brought an authenticity to it. It was more like someone sitting across the table telling his story, than reading a book. 
All in all I was surprised how much I like this book!

Piers Platt

Piers Platt grew up in Boston, but spent most of his childhood in various boarding schools, including getting trained as a classical singer at a choir school for boys. He joined the Army in 2002, and spent four years on active duty, including a year-long deployment to Iraq in 2004 as a tank and scout platoon leader.
He now works as a marketing strategy consultant in New York city, when he's not spending time with his lovely wife and daughter.

Twitter: @piersplatt

1 comment:

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