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Posts Tagged ‘chris kyle’

reaper_cvr

The Reaper by Nicholas Irving

Running Title: The Reaper – Autobiography of one of the deadliest Special Ops snipers.
Co-author: Gary Brozek

The first time I learned about this book was from an article in a local NYC newspaper: The New York Daily News. It a featured a very non-dignifying picture of Mr. Irving, with his tongue stuck out as if auditioning for Gene Simmons in a KISS biopic, with his team as he cradled an SR-25 rifle. At first (and I’ll be honest about this) I was a bit turned off and sort of rolled my eyes whilst muttering something to the likes of “the one time we get to see a story of a black sniper and we’re being graced with this cocky picture”. It was tempting to avoid the book, but since I don’t judge book by their covers (or in this case … as it turns out … a badly chosen photo), when it landed in my stacks, my curiosity got the better of me. At a quick glance at some of the pictures in the book, it was clear that the folks at the Daily News were a bunch of tossers and could have chosen a much better picture … for there were many. I guess someone bollocksed up on that one.
In reading the first two chapters of the book, it is pretty clear that Mr. Irving is quite down-to-earth and straight shooter (pun possibly intended). He is also very modest despite his accomplishment as the first Afro-American to serve as a sniper for the Army’s Special Operations 3rd Ranger Battalion 75th Regiment. Sure, he could have run with the whole legend bit where they hyped up the number of confirmed kills and he would have probably been backed up by a ton of his brothers-at-arms. Instead he simply sets the record straight and humbly lists his confirmed kills, earlier in the book: it is 33. The book takes you back and forth through his upbringing, his training and experience in combat. It is interesting to note that Mr. Irving actually tried out for the SEALs and could not qualify due to one technicality: he discovered he was colour-blind. So you may ask, how did he wash out of SEAL qualification but it to the Rangers? Let’s just say that some nurse saw a young man that was eager to serve his country and provided him with some “aid” in qualifying. Hopefully someone did not lose their job, and considering the lives he may have saved … I guess a pay raise or promotion might have been a better deal. As delve deeper into the book there is a sense of déjà vu and Chris Kyle flashes in the one’s mind. Except for the subtle differences. Kyle is white, a Navy SEAL, and endured major combat operations in Iraq. Nicholas is black, an Army Ranger and endured major combat operations in Afghanistan. The stories of combat and the action is just as riveting, harrowing and in many cases, gut wrenching. One chapter called “The Chechen”, reads like a blockbuster movie where the bad guy is a Chechen sniper that has been hunting American soldiers, even down to the firefight that ensues … up until the reader wakes up to the reality that “bloody hell” this is not a movie but it is real. And frightening. And what those brave men and women deal with in Afghanistan. Bloody sobering. It is not all gut wrenching, and white-knuckled-gripping excursions. There are a few moments of embarrassing details about Afghan and Taliban forces that go under the category of TMI: such as some in the Afghan forces in the barracks getting their male-on-male jollies on (for some strange reason) Thursday nights, Irving and his team unwittingly stumbling onto what pretty much amounted to a Taliban male orgy (a Taliban sausagefest in the worst way). And there is even talk of drones picking up videos of in-field bestiality. Did you lose your lunch, or burp-vomitted into your mouth … I apologize, sorry about that mates.
Captivating, filled with adrenaline-inducing action, and heart-wrenching, Reaper, even though it was set out to tell the story a young Army Special Ops sniper turns out to be yet another delightful tribute to Mr. Irving’s brothers-at-arms. One such person is Cpl. Benjamin Kopp, who put his life on the line to provide suppressing fire during the unit’s encounter with the Chechen. Even in death, Cpl. Kopp went on to save lives since he was an organ donor.. A truly noble, honourable man. The real definition of courage (not some bloke in a white dress going through a “change”). It never ceases to amaze me about the humility of these brave men, these silent professionals. They are truly America’s best. Thanks for your service Mr. Irving. May God bless you and yours and your days under the sun.

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johnnywalker_cvr

Co-author: Jim DeFelice
Running title: Code Name: Johnny Walker – The extraordinary story of the Iraqi who risked everything to fight with the U.S. Navy Seals.

I remember when the 9/11 attacks happened. It was moment of pain, anguish and anger, and as many were ready to lash out at all things Muslim, there were those voices of reason calling for understanding. There were those voices that supported those that practiced Islam peacefully. The problem, at the time, was that it seemed that many of these voices were non-Muslim and many were asking where are the real Muslims that would stand and defend their faith from the wanks that hijacked it. Little did some of us know that several years after the attacks some were doing just that … in their actions. And many may paid the ultimate price.
Johnny Walker is one such voice. The is name is also pseudonym that is used to hide the Iraqi’s real name in order to protect his family that currently reside in the US or relatives that have remained in Iraq from reprisals from insurgent mujahedeen or jihadists. It is truly a humbling story seen through the eyes of an Iraqi soldier. Johnny came from an impoverished background and in his world, Iraqis that didn’t do well in school soon found a place in the Iraqi army. An army that was filled with antiquated equipment and training that was just as laughable … but for most, was a way to a make a decent living. Still, Johnny took certain aspects of it very seriously. We are fondly introduced to Soheila, Johnny’s first love that became his wife and mother of his four children. It is possibly the purest romantic thing one could have ever read in this present day. Boy meets girl. Girl meets boy. Boy and Girl falls in love with each other. But Girl parents promises her hand in marriage to another bloke. Boy fights for the girl he truly loves. Parents eventually see their folly and give consent to Boy and Girl to be married. And all this time the relationship was unconsummated since … Muslim families are very strict about that stuff. Like I said purely romantic … almost Shakespearean. Almost. We get to see his struggles to earn a living during “peace” time (hey, they were living under Saddam’s rule) prior to the war beyond his post-military days. And then of course, the war happens and work becomes more scarce. Many Iraqis found jobs working as interpreters (or terps as they were called by military units) for US forces. It was only a matter of time before destiny found Johnny working for the US forces as an interpreter. The interesting thing is that this started as job for him to earn a living to support his family. There weren’t any political or religious motivation. It is during his time running ops with US forces he began to learn that most of the insurgents were foreigners (some trained and armed by Iran) that were in Iraq spreading much chaos and destruction had was claiming the lives of many innocent Muslim victims of certain faith. Apparently there are Shia and Sunni Muslims, one’s a bit more rigid in their interpretation of the Koran and the other is a bit more moderate. And according to jihadist tossers (to quote The Highlander), there can only be One. Of course, this angers Johnny greatly and it can be felt in his writing throughout the book, for he felt that not only was his country (Iraq) being hijacked, but also his faith. And so teaming up with the Americans was his way to restoring his country and preserving his faith and its followers. He eventually proved more effective than interpreter for he had this uncanny way of spotting and locating jihadi suspects that were being sought with such efficiency that it would make Hannibal Lector and most FBI profilers green with envy. Trust me you’ve got read about his exploits. It got the point that most SEAL teams going into Iraq always sought out his help. His admiration and loyalty to the SEALs was not lost to many that served with him. To quote the late Chris Kyle (rest in peace, my good man): “Johnny Walker is the only Iraqi I’d trust with a gun”.
It was only a matter of time before the insurgents learned about his helping the Americans and pretty soon there was bounty on his head. Things began to get more dicey when his family were getting death threats and had to move from a relatively “safe” Mosul to a dangerous Baghdad. And the kicker was that some of these threats came in the form of “warnings” from other relatives. Gives new meaning to the word “nuclear family”. For most the book it becomes a harrowing read as we follow Walker through some of the most hair-raising raids all up to the point of him getting his family safely out of Iraq into the US. Yes, apparently there was an established program setup for Iraqis, that aided Americans, to immigrate to the US. The SEALs, ever so valiant and noble, not wanting to leave their brother behind had worked hard to speed up the process at the most critical moment in Walker’s family life. It was touching and awe-inspiring about the camaraderie between Johnny and the SEALs. Johnny Walker maybe born Iraqi but at the core he is a true American hero with an extraordinary story that needs to be told. And to think it all started with him just wanting to earn a living for his family. Still think your job is really bad or tough on you? Guess again mates.
A brilliant read about a simple man and Muslim who decided in his actions to fight against those that would ravage his country of birth and faith, and ended up becoming an American hero. It is courage and honour defined, and as you read this book you’ll find yourself rooting for this bloke.

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servicebook

In Lone Survivor, Mr. Luttrell recalls the ill-fated Operation Redwing and the untimely, tragic demise of his SEAL mates. Since that time, Mr. Lutrell has endured a painful recuperation and, being the consummate warrior, eventually returned to the battlefield to serve with his brothers-at-arms. Service takes us into the hellspots of Iraq, and it is very unnerving … to say the least. He recounts his tour in Iraq and some of it is cringeworthy enough to make most lose controls of their bladder … and if possible … their bowels. Whether you disagree or agree with the war in Iraq, the one common ground should be pure appreciation for those that answered the call of duty and has been to hell and back on Iraqi soil. Interestingly enough, Service does not only surround members of the SEALs but all members of the armed forces that Mr. Lutrell may have encountered in one way or the other: those that were rescued and those that offered support. If Survivor was, in a sense, a tribute to his lost mates, then Service was a tribute to everyone that has served in uniform. Unlike Survivor, where Mr. Lutrell is very bold and outspoken, in Service we find Mr. Lutrell to very introspective and much wiser … not just in the matters of war but life in general. And like his first book, he included many photographs that made the reading more intimate and personal for the reader. Yes, I know I may come off a bit like a bloody nancy but there were times I had to put the book down and reach for a hanky, because … yes … it got that personal. The power of images, go figure.
At some point of Service, there are echoes of Chris Kyle’s wife (from American Sniper) reflected in four separate essays written by spouses and loved ones of these brave warriors. One such is the spouse of Don Shipley, who is famous on Youtube for outing fake SEALs. I kid you not, there are people out there that pretend to be SEALs and it is downright saddening, but with Mr. Shipley’s approach and wit, the stuff would be even more hilarious if it weren’t so pathetic and serious. Check it out, who knows there might be a few fakes walking around your neighbourhood stealing someone’s valour. Sadly, I have detoured. It is very endearing and like Kyle’s American Sniper, we get to read about what the other half goes through … and yes, it is a sacrifice on their behalf. One of the sad commentaries that I came across in Service, is that despite all the hell that these men endure for God and country, one would think that as they return to civilian life, they’d get a break from the madness and chaos of world. Apparently not: Mr. Lutrell’s dog was cruelly attacked and killed by some poor excuse of a wank; Chris Kyle was held up (at a gas station) by two tossers who had to learn, the hard way, that you don’t attempt to rob at gun point, some guy that has “killed more people than smallpox”; and a Master Chief was determined to be lacking in “leadership” at an interview for a job at an athletic gear design job firm. About the latter. Seriously? We can throw millions of dollars at the Kardashians who offer nothing more than smug smirks and the ability to irritate level-headed folks to mind numbing levels of psychosis … but a Master Chief that has been (and has lead many … safely) through more crap than most of us would ever see in 20 lifetimes is determined by some HR twit to be “lacking leadership material”. WTFs are in order and will probably be an understatement for this.
Mr. Lutrell’s Service is pleasant and humbling read. An emotional rollercoaster it is, but very sobering and in all, a magnificent tribute to those that serve in uniform and those that remain at their sides through it all. And like Mr. Lutrell, it makes you appreciate every day when you consider what these fellows have endured. It may sound clichéd, but I’ll say it anyway: thanks again, to all those that serve and are still serving. Thanks Mr. Lutrell, and may God bless you and yours and the rest of your days.

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americansniper

Running title: American Sniper – The Autobiography of The Most Lethal Sniper In US Military History

Chris Kyle makes no apologies for the work that he does. And that is simply putting down bad guys that hide behind women and children as they take potshots at members of US military. Though at times his writing may sound arrogant and boastful, upon close inspection it is anything but. It is about a man who answered the call to do the most daring and dangerous duty for his country, and when the time came he did it to the best of abilities and sometimes beyond the call of duty.
Shared in great harrowing detail, is his tour of duty in Iraq and it IS very nerve-racking, which in turn makes you extremely appreciative of what these guys really put with and endure in the war zones. Needless to say, it is the kind of stuff that is neglected from many media outlets. Aside from the occasional tosser that felt the need to take potshots at American servicemen on patrol, the most crippling thing that Mr. Kyle encountered was the mind-numbing excuses that passed for Rules of Engagement (ROE). Here’s an example: an insurgent can mow down an entire platoon but if he drops his gun and walks away from it, the most US military can do is “arrest” him. Now some may argue, that this is taking the high ground. Really, now? Let’s bring this home. Imagine walking into your home just in time to see some scum rape and kill your wife, and just as you bring a bead on him, he simply drops his gun and say “hey man, you have to arrest me … can’t shoot me”. How many of us will be willing to take that “high road”? Aye, that’s what I thought. Now imagine that is what you have to do in a war zone where the other side doesn’t play by the rules and every bullet you fire is scrutinized by some lawyer. Some bloke that has never had to watch his mates die in his hands or get blown to bits by some IED. Infuriating, yes it is and I’m just reading about it, much less about the blokes that are actually knee deep in and had to deal with that bollocks. There were times I had to put the bloody book down and rub my temples because the stuff was bloody ponderous. Though a good percentage of the book is devoted to his work as a sniper, there is are touching stories that surround his fellow teammates and in some cases, their ill-fated destinies. As with many SEAL books that I’ve read, in the center of the book is adorned with photos of some these brave souls that are no longer with the living. It is very touching and the stuff chokes you up as if these were mates that you knew. Also included in this book, a second voice: the words and perspectives of Chris’ wife, Taya. Throughout the book there are segments littered with her fears, joys, frustrations and apprehensions every time Mr. Kyle returns from and to the battlefield. It is a unique approach, that brings so much emotional content. In truth, though the book is seemingly a tell-all about Mr. Kyle’s accomplishment as Navy SEAL sniper, it is more of a fitting memorial to his mates and all those that have passed on during their service to this country, but most of all it is bellowing acknowledgement of those that sacrifice the most: their loved ones that stay behind. Wonderful written. Extremely riveting. And it makes us a bit more appreciative of what we have and those that make the ultimate sacrifice so that we can enjoy this land that we live in. Aye, the price of freedom is always high. Thanks Mr. Kyle for your service. Rest in peace, valiant soul. And may those that you’ve left behind be blessed all the days of their lives.

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