22 January 2015


by Andy Weddington
Thursday, 22 January 2015

"I came from a family of Marines into the family of Marines." Jim Lehrer

A few weeks ago my wife received a Barnes & Noble Nook Book of the Day alert (as she does daily) and, after reading aloud the synopsis, asked if I was interested. 

Yes. And momentarily it was on my Nook, too. 

A Marine wrote it. A young Marine - LSU graduate (history and creative writing); commissioned in 2002; deployed twice to Iraq; left active service as a captain; earned an MBA from Loyola in 2010; and presently lives in New Orleans.

The story is a novel based on truth. 

Fiction is not my bag. But truth is, absolutely. 

The writing is superb. 

The storytelling superb. 

The descriptions of being and doing things Marine superb. Throughout, I caught myself pausing, reflecting back - to include the first days of OCS. Feelings of exhaustion and aches and uncertainty and hardship and then duty and decision-making throughout my service returned with clarity. And so did feelings of responsibility and death (which never leaves - the death of a recruit nearly 32 years ago still seems like this morning). 

I read the book in a couple of days, finishing it yesterday (ironically, while flying over the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, 29 Palms, CA). I put it down to eat and sleep. It was that good. The ending logical though I wished it did not end. More of the characters - Marines; a corpsman; and civilians, too - I wanted to know. 

It's been a long time since I've thought that about a book. 

Of course the story is about war. And it's about lives after home from war. To say more would spoil. 

I've read some good books lately - to include 'Duty' by Robert Gates; '41' by George W. Bush; 'Killing Patton' by Bill O'Reilly; 13 Hours (in Benghazi) by Mitchell Zuckoff; and others. 

'Fives and Twenty-Fives' by Michael Pitre is better. Much better. Captain Michael Pitre, USMC has written quite a gem, in my opinion. 

As the Nook Book of the Day it was not five nor twenty-five but a buck ninety-nine ($1.99). I saw the ebook on Amazon for less than $10.00. Worth it!

Recommend the book - to Marines, Sailors, families thereof, and everyone. Support this Marine! Support this aspiring artist, writer. Pass it on, please. 

In closing...

No, I do not know him. But maybe one day (as my wife and I once lived in New Orleans and visit on occasion) we Marines, we artists, will cross paths. And drink a beer. Or maybe a good single malt. And talk Marine things - which generations (of Marines) can always do. After all, as Jim Lehrer said, 'Marines are family.' 

Semper Fi. 

Post Script

Don't waste your money nor time on Leon Panetta's 'Worthy Fights' - though a patriot, he unashamedly steps forward as head cheerleader for Obama and Clinton. Awful. Tough reading. Some truth. 

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