One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer
This book was recommended to me. It’s the memoir of Nathaniel C. Fick as he recounts his experiences training as a marine officer and then deploying for the first time — just before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Fick soon found himself in Afghanistan, and later at the “tip of the spear” during the invasion of Iraq. It’s a fascinating recounting of both war and the incredible challenges of becoming a successful “recon” marine.
In One Bullet Away Nathaniel C. Fick mentions a reporter who was embedded with his platoon during the Iraq invasion. That reporter was Evan Wright, the author of Generation Kill — an account of Wright’s experiences riding with one of the teams in Fick’s platoon. Generation Kill is a compelling and very graphic narrative that passes over none of the less savory aspects of infantry life during the invasion of a foreign country. It also explores the personalities of a fascinating assemblage of marines, good guys and bad guys.
Reading these two books back to back was an interesting experience. I was intrigued by the differences between Wright’s and Fick’s versions of events. Not in the raw recounting of events — both were in agreement on the facts so far as I could tell — but there were often significant differences between what each author chose to describe and discuss, and in the tone in which their recollections are presented. The rawest version of the invasion has to go to Evan Wright.