This riveting memoir is the first book written by a female Marine about the war in Iraq and one of the only books written by a woman who has experienced combat firsthand. Deploying to Iraq in 2003, Jane Blair's aerial reconnaissance unit was assigned to travel ahead of and alongside combat units throughout the initial phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Throughout her deployment, Jane kept a journal of her and her fellow lieutenants' combat experiences, which she draws on to convey the immediacy of life in the military, not just for a woman but for all Marines. Jane's stories highlight the drama and chaos of wartime Iraq along with the day-to-day challenges every soldier faced: from spicing up a "pasta with alfredo sauce" MRE to keeping the insidious sand at bay. She also copes with a bullying superior officer while trying to connect with local civilians who have long been viewed as "the enemy." She recounts the struggles specific to women, including being respected as a Marine rather than dismissed as "the weaker sex" and battling the prejudices of male soldiers who don't believe women belong in uniform. And always, she fights the personal loneliness of being separated from her husband, balanced with the challenge and joy of stealing a private moment with him when his unit is close by. Jane describes not only her experiences as a young lieutenant and as a woman but also those of her fellow Marines, whom she lauds as the true heroes of her story. Ultimately, she learns from her commanding officer, and her fellows in arms, what it truly means to be a leader, both in the military and in life. Weaving her story together with the experiences of the ordinary people of Iraq, this book offers compelling insights into the profound impact of the war on the lives of soldiers and civilians alike. Her unforgettable narrative bridges the gap between those who have experienced the Iraq War firsthand and those in America who could only follow its life-altering events from a distance.
Jane Blair joined the United States Marine Corps in 1999. She spent several years in the enlisted ranks before reaching the rank of Corporal and receiving her commission as an officer. After mustering out of the Marine Corps in 2005, she rejoined the active duty corps again in 2006 and left as a Captain in 2007. She remains a Middle Eastern regional affairs officer and a Marine attaché in the Reserves. She lives with her husband and fellow Marine, Peter, in Washington, D.C. For more about Hesitation Kills, and to find out where Jane Blair will be appearing next, check out her website: www.janeblair.com.
Table of Contents
1 A Home and a Country 1
2 The Call 23
3 Matilda 31
4 The War Plan 39
5 Countdown 55
6 Dread Silence Reposes 65
7 Uncertainty and Human Factors 77
8 Red Ink 83
9 Time on Target 91
10 On the Shore, Dimly Seen 99
11 A Dangerous Position 111
12 A Fiery Crash 131
13 Garden of Eden 137
14 Killbox 149
15 National Geographic 155
16 A Turning Point 161
17 Their Blood Had Washed Out 177
18 Star-spangled Banner 185
19 Ashura 193
20 Occupation 199
21 When Free Men Shall Stand 209
22 Mortars in the Garden 221
23 Strategic Corporal 237
24 No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy 249
25 Ribbons 259
26 The Twilight's Last Gleaming 267
27 Home of the Brave 273
Appendix A Ranks in the United States Marine Corps 277
Appendix B Structure of the 1st Marine Division 279
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