Book Review: Outlaw Platoon

The book is a must-read if you want a first-hand account of what combat was like in Afghanistan when there was only one Army Combat Brigade in all of the country trying to bring the fight to the enemy. During that time we felt and were correct in our feelings when we called ourselves the new “Forgotten War”. The US media focused on purely Iraq and forgot there was a war going on in Afghanistan. See I was there at the same time, in the same place and doing the same things that Sean and his platoon were doing. That is what made this book so personal to me, to have that extra special insight into the stories in this book. I can tell you there is no embellishment in this book and the stories, actions and experiences are valid and true.

This book will open your eyes to the things America’s sons went through without her ever knowing it. Sean talks about that first day on Bermel, and carrying the little dying girl in his arms and how he had to lock it away as his troops arrived over the following days. He takes you into monotony of every day life in a combat area. You get an idea of what life is like living in the B-huts of a remote FOB, the guys who are “heroes” back home, but are less than stellar soldiers in the field and are truly not contributing to the greater good of the mission.

Sean will also walk you though some of the darkest and horrific events that our young men and women have to experience. It is one thing to see bodies blown apart and have death all around you. As soldiers we tend to build a callous around our heart for such things, however there is pure evil in our enemies and Sean will show you an example of that in a young boy and what the enemy does to him. I consider myself able to handle about anything. I have seen, smelled, and held some of the grossest things on this planet with no problem. However even with all that it was difficult and disturbing to imagine what he and his men went through when they found this young boy stumbling down the road.

I think you will be surprised to learn about the battle after battle they went though in and around that little place called Bermel, Afghanistan. I remember being on operations and hearing Sean’s company and platoon being in contact. I remember thinking “wow those guys are getting shit on today” when I would hear their calls for air support and medevacs. I remember seeing their blown up and shot up Humvees back at the Battalion maintenance area and saying a prayer that hopefully everyone made it out alive.

Sean will also take the reader on a journey into his own tribulations and the miracle of not dying when he easily should have. Many men have quickly died from the proximity of explosives and shrapnel that Sean experienced and to read how he lived through it is truly a miracle. Couple that with how he should have sought and been given aid, but refused and what he went through after that and I am sure you will have a new-found respect for this man.

Lastly you will see not only the exterior battles that our warfighters go through in fighting with the enemy, but also the interior threats they have to deal with when the people they are forced to trust turn on them.

I have tried to wet your appetite as much as I can in order to entice you to read the book, but at the same time not give everything away. If you truly care about what our troops have went through in Afghanistan at the start of the resurgence of a deadly and determined enemy then this is a book for you. Many say they honor and are proud of our fighting men and women, but I don’t think much of America really knows what they should be proud for. This book will help you understand a little more of how awesome they are and the level of fortitude, sacrifice, courage and guts they display every day on the battlefield.

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3 thoughts on “Book Review: Outlaw Platoon”

  1. Great review. One of the aspects I liked about the book was the lack of ‘sugarcoating’,(not to say that other books do this). I retired in 97, so didn’t deploy, but Outlaw Platoon made things come to life. The sacrifice is real, but some typically rigid ‘big Army’ policy is depicted, as well as the age old practice of shamming duty (by a few). I caught myself thinking…yes, I can see the Army doing this, or I bet I know why that was the practice. The book also made me think about the big picture, what if the powers-that-be in DC made different decisions in the early 2000’s, would the outcome have been different in the late 2000’s? And our interaction with Pakistan…guess we won’t know the answers to those questions.

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