Another testosterone-laced memoir of an elite unit kicking butt in Iraq, this one with a cheerful, politically incorrect British twist.
Having missed out on Operation Iraqi Freedom a year earlier, the author’s 15-man sniper platoon in the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment was thrilled to learn in April 2004 that it was finally shipping overseas on a “peacekeeping” mission. Soldiers whose enlistment was expiring eagerly signed up again. Arriving in Iraq, Mills and his men cringed at the heat, loathed the poor sanitation, pitied the poverty, despised Iraqi police, Iraqi soldiers and all civilian superiors, but loved the American forces’ vast arsenal and luxurious amenities. Their assignment took them to a large city—lacking, the author repeats, sewage and trash collection—where they quickly walked into an ambush and found themselves enmeshed in a vicious insurgency. Mostly, they defended their base in the city center and fought as infantry, but circumstances often required their specialty, so readers looking for technical details about sniping will not be disappointed. Mills, an 18-year veteran of tours in Northern Ireland, Kosovo and Bosnia, never conceals his and his men’s love of fighting. While American career soldiers have been known to admit this in their memoirs, they usually feel obliged to justify it by proclaiming their love of country and reminding readers of the sacrifices our troops make to protect us from hordes of suicidal maniacs. Mills has no interest in defending America’s invasion of Iraq, and he adopts the traditional British soldier’s view of the enemy as wacky foreigners, genuinely dangerous but terrible shots.
A military memoir refreshingly devoid of the usual patriotic overlay.