Against his father’s wishes, Robin Perry chooses the military over going to college in 2003. He finds himself near the border of Iraq, struggling to understand who he is and what he is doing there. Robin a young man waiting to join the army, figures since the war is pretty much over he can go there come back with a problem. His mother scared and wishing he never went writing letters to his mother and Uncle Richie. He leaves and goes to a place he soon wishes he never went to, the war, it’s not over and death is all around him.
Jonesy, a soldier from Georgia, is Robin’s best friend in the military. He plans to open a blues club someday and compares everything to music, but for now they have each other’s back. Jonesy, a soldier from Georgia, is Robin’s best friend in the military. He plans to open a blues club someday and compares everything to music, but for now they have each other’s back. Jonesy, a corporal who lives in Stone Mountain, Georgia, his hobbies are just one simple word, blue
,. Marla is a corporal who lives in Dix Hills New York and is probably the toughest soldier out of everyone else/ Robin is not too sure about Marla, who dubs him “Birdy” and seems to enjoy teasing him endlessly
Lastly of the main group, the leader of the squad Captain Coles, a tall thin man who wanted to listen to whatever you said, and the first place to go was Kuwaiti and which surprised me, even though it was right it next to the war in Iraq it had fast food places, a library, a theater built from the first Gulf war
They, along with Captain Coles, are assigned a Humvee for their work on the Civilian Affairs team. In between missions they enjoy each others’ company over meals and in the safe zones during downtime. They even try to play soccer against some Iraqis.
The Civilian Affairs soldiers are supposed to help the people living in a war zone by providing them with medicine, water, or assistance in developing a new independent political system after Saddam Hussein is gone. But the Rules of Engagement change frequently, and Robin and his fellow soldiers learn that some civilians are from different warring tribes or simply want Americans dead.
When some people in an ambulance try to kill Robin and his comrades, Robin realizes he can no longer relax anywhere. Another time he sees an officer from his company killed by an IED (improvised explosive device) set off from a cell phone. Pulling that man from the remains of his vehicle haunts Robin’s thoughts for a long time afterwards
Soldiers who Robin talks to one day are kidnapped (or worse) the next. The author refers briefly in the story to Jessica Lynch and her comrades who were abducted. Details are well researched and recognizable, and readers will relate to the young soldiers. Through translators and contact with locals, Robin struggles to understand the way of life for the people in this sometimes beautiful, sometimes war-torn land.
Marla pretty much a town boy, her personality and she joked around with the guys of the squad made it seem like it. Robin’s best friend Jonesy is a very calm person who always talked about the blues, he wanted to open up his own shop one day, that was his dream, but he never let anything get to him. Everyone was going there for only a few reasons, to find weapons of mass destruction were the main one. They were told to be careful because in this war a person who looks like a harmless or innocent civilian can probably be the last mistake of your life, most of the civilians could be trusted, the rest of the majority were not trusted, the squad would go house to house, searching for weapons or any suspicious behavior in that area, or if that was their orders. They were only permitted to shot if an enemy shoots at the first or attacked them, Ahme a person who can speak Islam and Muslim to help with to communicate with people to see what they were saying. But in the middle it a man got shot right by Robin and all he could do is stare in shock, this feeling was something he never thought could go through his veins, he was too scared to move but if he didn’t move for cover like everyone else he could be shoot next. After he watched at what happened war looked 100 times different to him, people were dying; he almost got killed just now. He didn’t want to be here anymore. Going to different town heading to where they were told an ambulance was in the middle of the road, stopped and all the lights off, no sirens, nothing, when suddenly two Iraqis in civilian clothing game out two rocket launchers and shoot, Marla was on the turret gun on top of their car and started to shot, all Robin could see was dust, it all ended as soon as it started it ended, there was bullet holes all over the ambulance body and all you could see was two dead bodies and dust. Robin never realized he was grabbing and gripping the side of the car door, inside the ambulance was a body on the ambulance bed. When they were in some kind of fight, they were either trying to find where to go, cleaning there equipment, getting to know more about each other or just watching the news on the portal T V if they got signal. But on their regular searching of houses, they find a rocket Launcher, young kids, and old women and old man. Another one had an AK-47, the old man from the other house was going to go with them but unlike the others in other trucks, he had his hands free, and his face didn’t have a rag over it, they thought the old man couldn’t do much harm, the old man was speaking in Islam and Ahmed told everyone the old man was saying “why are you doing this to me” the old man was also saying that he was told by several people that young men in his country are being told the Americans are flooding through here and we need men to protect our country, Robin realized people here were either thinking Americans were here to help or to attack them. Soon they were in Fallujah, but before that, they were hit by a deadly sand storm, and after all the weapons and vehicles were covered in sand, not only that but the people were bleeding and their faces were red and irritated from head to toe because the sand went everywhere, in their ears, eyes, nose, everywhere. After taking over an hour to clean everything all the equipment and themselves they headed in the war zone of Fallujah. The war was pretty with when they got there, there were bodies every so often and body bags and medics but most of the enemies and squads were an hour or so ahead of where they were at. The second situation where Robin got his first face to face experience with death was when Major Sessions got attacked in the ladies restroom by two Iraqis men; they were trying to rape her and when Robin got in the restroom he saw them and froze and when one reacted he aimed and fired but nothing, the safety was on, once he turned that off he aimed and fired again and got the first one right in the head, the second one on the side of his face. This was his first kills. All she could do is scream. He writes to both his mom and Uncle Richie about everything of what he did plus a little bit more of the story. After everything in Fallujah they got a new mission to head to Al Amarah, to take down a few guys talk to them about locations of people and to find weapons and bombs around the area and necessitate people. When this happened they got ambushed and Robin and everyone else ran while Jonesy notices a little boy and picks him up and saves the little boy but not himself, Jonesy was by the truck, down, hurting and bleeding while the little boy was safe under his body. They picked up Jonesy and the little boy and got out of there as quick as they could to their camp site. Robin got a deep cut on his leg and never realized it, and Jonesy died in the tent, eh was too wounded; he sacrificed his life for a small boy, who he didn’t even know. Robin got a purple heart for getting wounded in battle, but the sadness wasn’t over yet everyone was being reassigned, they did a final call…”Jones!”…”corporal Charles Jones!” was the only named. The last thoughts Robin had before he left was how he wondered how Jonesy’s blues place would look like, and if he could pull if off.
At one hospital, Robin is forced to act quickly to save a female Captain. With each new experience, he feels he has become a different person, doing things he never would have imagined doing back in Harlem. As a result of their good work, Robin’s unit is asked to help with a dangerous and highly political assignment. It changes everyone involved.