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Archive for the ‘Marine Corps’ Category

A weekend non-fiction book review!  Because sometimes even Pastors need a break from heavy theological reading!

Jim Proser. No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy.  New York, NY: HarperLuxe, August 7th 2018. 416 pp.

4 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

This is the first book on James Mattis.  Mattis is probably our generation’s best combat general.  A career Marine who served in uniform for forty four years he also went on to become the Secretary of Defense and one who received nearly unanimous bipartisan support for his nomination which is quite impressive in a day and age of much political division and partisanship in the United States.  For years I have been amazed at how low profile General Mattis have been compared to how much public attention the US media has given other Army generals.  It seem overnight a few years ago Mattis started to finally receive a lot of attention and praise and usually through the medium of social media making jokes about his exploits and strength. Yet people’s hunger to know more about this tough talking and private general has only increased when news broke that Trump wanted him to be Secretary of Defense.  Personally as a Marine who served under General Mattis’ 1st Marine Division in Iraq I am glad that the author wrote this book.  I actually think it has been long overdue.

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I know for many summer vacation is around the corner so here’s my review of two military books for your summer travel…and also because Pastors also need a break from heavy theological reading!

For other suggestions check out also our previous post “2017 Memorial Day Weekend Lists of Recommended Readings.”

Robert O’Neill.  The Operator: Firing the Shots that Killed Osama bin Laden and My Years as a SEAL Team Warrior. New York, NY: Scribner, April 3rd 2018. 368 pp.

5 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

This is a book by the Navy SEAL who shot Osama Bin Laden.  This book not only tell the story of the mission to go after Bin Laden but also Robert O’Neill’s upbringing in Montana, how he joined the Navy and made it into the SEALs.  A fascinating book of a fascinating individual.

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I’m going to post this ahead of the Memorial Day weekend as a book I immensely enjoyed that is very appropriate for the weekend as part of my nonfiction leisure reading review…why?  Because Pastors also need a break from heavy theological reading…and also to appreciate the generations of people who have served in the past in the military and have given so much.

Chester Nez.  Code Talker: The First and Only Memoir By One of the Original Navajo Code Talkers of WWII. New York, NY: Berkley Caliber, September 6th 2011. 310 pp.

5 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

This is an incredible book on the legendary Navajo Native American who served in the United States Marines during World War Two.  Apparently this is the only memoir of the original first group of Navajo “Code talkers.”  The book is about the life and service of “Code Talker” Chester Nez who co-authored it along with Judith Avila, a historian of these incredible Marines.  In the beginning of the book Avila noted that at first Chester Nez was reluctant to write this book since he felt that others also have done their duty and also because he feared people would not find his life interesting.  Avila disagreed and encouraged him to tell his story.  I’m in agreement with Avila; Chester Nez and other “Code Talkers” lived an interesting life both in the Marine Corps and outside the Marine Corps.  I’m really glad this book was written.

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Some of you know that I’m a former Marine.  Since today is the Marine Corps Birthday I thought it is appropriate to share my weekend review of a story involving an incredible Marine that is part of the Marine Corps cherished heritage.

John Grider Miller. The Bridge At Dong Ha.  Annapolis, Maryland: U.S. Naval Institute Press, March 15th 1989. 224 pp.

4 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

This book tells the story of the Marine legend John W. Ripley.  I have heard the name “Ripley” before as a Marine, and some vague summary of him blowing up a bridge to stop invading North Vietnamese communist forces during the last years of the Vietnam War.  Recently I saw something on facebook about Ripley that sparked my interests to read more about Ripley and this book was what I picked up to learn more about Ripley and the famous incident with the bridge at Dong Ha.  It was a treat for me to read this book.  I was blown away (pun intended) with what Ripley accomplished against overwhelming odds.  His story is one of courage, commitment and mission above self.

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I’m not trying to promote nationalism and I have a spiritual point towards the end of this post.  I am not going to lie as a Marine veteran I am biased.  I think the United States Marine Corps make amazing commercials.  Even after all these years after seeing my first Marine commercial on TV as a kid every time I stumble upon a Marine ads it still manages to stop me and grab my full attention.

Here’s the latest Marines’ commercial that they have released:

I watched it several times.  Did you?

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Mattis Nomination

When I was a young Marine at the age of 19 General Mattis was in charge of the Marines on the ground in Iraq.  I definitely felt he was our generation’s Patton back then.  Now he’s Trump’s nomination for Secretary of Defense.

There’s many stories circulating about General Mattis.  One that stood out the last few days is the story of when Mattis was a one star general taking the place of another Marine’s much dreaded holiday “duty.”  Here’s the account as given by someone in 2010:

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The last few weeks has been heavy for me in the ministry front.  Here’s a light reading review for the weekend.

The Odyssey of Sergeant Jack Brennan

Bryan Doerries.  The Odyssey of Sergeant Jack Brennan.  New York, NY: Pantheon Books, April 5th, 2016.  160 pp.

This graphic novel is a retelling of the Greek classic The Odyssey but with a modern twist.  The author is a big advocate of using classical literature as a tool help military service members cope and heal with the aftermath of war.  Bryan Doerries founded a project called Theater of War that presents readings of Greek plays to service members and veterans.  The book itself takes that same concept but uses the medium of graphic novel.  It tells the story of an infantry squad of Marines heading home from Afghanistan and their sergeant Jack Brennan telling the story of the Odyssey to help his junior Marines transition back home from war.  A few pages into the book I was already thinking, “Man, this might be good for some fellow veterans I know…”

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