May 28, 2010

Book Review – KABOOM

Written by Captain Matt Gallagher, KABOOM - Embracing the suck in a savage little war, chronicles his time in Iraq. From his arrival in late 2007 to his departure in early 2009 Gallagher details the exploits and stumbling blocks of his Cavalry Platoon the Gravediggers and reminds all of us what is good about the Army, and what is bad about the Army.

KABOOM isn’t just a story about a platoon leader in combat for the first time, out front with the troops, but also an analysis of what the US did to win in Iraq and almost lose it all – from the point of view of those who had to implement Big Army’s at times incredibly stupid policies.

If you ever served in the military you will recognize that Gallagher is telling it exactly like it is. He isn’t making this stuff up, craziness this extreme can’t be made up, it can only be experienced. Unsurprisingly the craziness he experiences at the hands of his senior leaders is the same craziness that I experienced at the hands of mine, and my father experienced at the hands of his. The fucked up middle management of the military is still the same unintelligent wasteland that it always has been, and through it all, the front line managers: the Buck Sergeants and Staff Sergeants and to some extend the Sergeants First Class along with the Lieutenants and Captains operating at the platoon level slog on through continuing the mission and fighting for the buddy next to them. Gallagher writes about these men, for he is one of these men. He lives with them, eats with them, sleeps with them and fights with them. KABOOM is their story, and it is one that demands attention.

“Embracing the suck…” is how these men get through each day, and come out the other side.

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