"Being able to save their life so they can live, I think is rewarding. Any of them would do it for me."

Two days ago I finished reading Sebastien Junger‘s War (amazon | kobo), his recounting of the time he spent in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan embedded with a single platoon. For those two days I have not been able to stop thinking about the book, and the men.

Second platoon are described in the book as “the tip of the spear. They’re the main effort for the company, and the company is the main effort for the battalion, and the battalion is the main effort for the brigade.” They occupy serious, dangerous ground, with soldiers living rough in little more than sandbags and temporary walls dug into hillsides, constantly fighting the Taliban for control of a remote valley.

I won’t get into much more detail than that. But the fact that I burned through 268 pages in a week (and it’s not like I can usually find much time to read for fun) and can’t stop imagining this place I’ve never seen should tell you how compelling it is. I’m desperate to watch Restrepo (imdb | rotten tomatoes), a documentary by Junger and photographer Tim Heatherington about their time with second platoon and one of the top-rated movies of last year, so that I can put faces to names.

4 thoughts on “"Being able to save their life so they can live, I think is rewarding. Any of them would do it for me."

  1. It was a great book, I found it more insightful than the documentary, but it is a good way to understand the landscape and living conditions they had. It seemed to me that the movie was a little out of sequence with the book, but maybe I just misremembered it. Still no wonder these guys have a hard time adjusting back to life outside of a uniform…

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