They Fought for Each Other : The Triumph and Tragedy of the Hardest Hit Unit in Iraq
Charlie 1-26 confronted one of the worst neighborhoods in Baghdad and lost more men than any battalion since Vietnam
Based on "Blood Brothers", the Michael Kelly Awardnominated series that ran in Army Times, this is the remarkable story of a courageous military unit that sacrificed their lives to change Adhamiya, Iraq, from a lawless town where insurgents roamed freely, to a secure neighborhood with open storefronts and a safe populace.
Army Times writer Kelly Kennedy was embedded with Charlie Company in 2007, went on patrol with the soldiers and spent hours in combat support hospitals. During that period, one soldier threw himself on a grenade to save his friends, a well-liked first sergeant shot himself to death in front of his troops, and a platoon staged a mutiny. The men of Charlie 1- 26 would earn at least 95 combat awards, including one soldier who would go home with three Purple Hearts and a lost dream. This is a timeless story of men at war and a heartbreaking account of American sacrifice in Iraq.
Journalist and former soldier Kennedy makes a solid contribution to a growing body of frontline reportage from Iraq in this account based on her series of articles in Army Times. The book tells the story of a rifle company's fight against long odds in a Baghdad neighborhood. Adhamiya was No One's Land, a place of random violence dominated by insurgents and criminals. The 1/26th Infantry did 15 months there, took more casualties than any U.S. battalion since Vietnam, and completed its tour with at least a simulacrum of civil order restored. Kennedy's account of Adhamiya's costs to Charlie Company is shaped by her own military service in Desert Storm. Urban combat, counterinsurgency, and civic action combined in a toxic brew that made mental health injuries more prevalent than physical ones. But to endure the fears, nightmares and grief, men had to look out for each other. That mutual caring brought Charlie Company through. It gives Kennedy her title, informs her work, and above all reaffirms the scars war leaves on those who fight. 8 pages of b&w photos. (Mar. 2)
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St. Martin's Press
March 01, 2010
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