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The publisher's summary doesn't do this book justice despite the fact that they germinated the seed of the idea. LaBarge was already a published author when he received the call to interview and collate this collection of individual personal testimonies of American personnel who fought or were directly affected by Desert Storm and Desert Shield. Although this Nam Vet was still active duty at the time, he was ruled ineligible to go near the zone, thus it was arranged that he conduct his interviews primarily at the Tent City at base in Germany where returnees had layover between flights. Just before he left for Germany, he was fortunate to be able to take advantage of a welcoming celebration at Camp Pendleton and, with the assistance of his wife, begin his task. Legalities were covered by the publisher and the military, and the names and home town are given.
This volume is the result of that endeavor. I salute him for his task performance, and for being able to select only 50+ of those interviews. There are no apparent leading questions or format, as the statements reflect no such uniformity. In their own words, here are the statements of persons from the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force (both active duty and reserves), USO, civilian contractors, and even a dad. Their work included: computer techs, airborne, supply, evac tech, nurse, medic, infantry, tanks, refuel, nutritionist, pilot, recon, demolition, mobilization, and civil engineer. They were single, married, divorced, committed, parents, sons and daughters. They were from cities, towns, and rural areas all over this country. Each faced the separation from the familiar, uncertainties each day, fear of Scud missiles and land mines and opposition forces, as well as the effect of their absence on their lives back home. Some were even tasked stateside to cover for active duty personnel sent to the Middle East. All were able to find new friends among their comrades, coalition forces, and supportive strangers such as elementary school classrooms back in the states.
The idea was sound and made for a very interesting read.
Narrator Jack gives a remarkable performance here. As the interviews are in their own words, he puts you right there listening to each interview.
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