Over the years I have been blessed with the opportunity to meet and interview military leaders ranging from battle hardened warriors who earned their stripes to those who have been derisively called “perfumed princes” who came to leadership via one of the U.S. Military academies and never broke a sweat on the field of battle. I have spoken with military historians, educators and planners have developed and reviewed countless battle plans.
After reading Red Platoon: A True Story of American Valor, by Medal of Honor recipient Clinton Romesha and I came to two conclusions; one - Romesha is one of those battle hardened warriors, men who come by leadership not in the classroom, but as a calling and two – there is a reason why the term military intelligence has become an oxymoron.
Some may believe that Red Platoon reads like an action book, but the reality is, it is the telling of the kind of story that generations of military men have avoided telling. Even when asked about their experiences, most vets remain stoic and silent, choosing to keep the memories of what they encountered and more often what they lost, to themselves. Based on the courage he displayed the made him the recipient of the Medal of Honor we have a clear picture of Romesha’s courage, valor and bravery, but it is a different kind of courage he displays in committing to paper what he and his fellow soldiers faced at Combat Outpost Keating.
It is the positioning of COP Keating, certainly not at a critical locale of high importance, that makes me question what those charged with planning and placement of these outposts could possibly have been thinking when the decided to place Keating. It was that incomprehensible plan that lead directly to Romesha and his fellow soldiers to be placed into the situation he describes; an at times chilling and harrowing tale that found them outnumbered by a force of 5 to 1.
With all of the useless political chitter chatter about the 1% I think that all Americans, both those who are supportive of our military and those less than supportive types need to read Red Platoon to get a better understanding of the truly critical 1% of our population; those who sign on to take on the daunting task of defending our nation.