Thursday, May 3, 2007

Blood Stripes

"Blood Stripes" are the red stripes on the trouser legs of Marine officer and NCO dress blues, commemorating the assault on Chapultepec ("The Halls of Montezuma") during the Mexican-American War.

I've just finished reading Blood Stripes: The Grunt's View of the War in Iraq by David J. Danelo. Excellent book. You can get 18 reviews at the link if you're interested, but I just thought I'd share a coupla passages I especially liked.

With the political currents of the Battle of Fallujah swirling, approving an air strike on a mosque was a challenging task. Still, a pair of AV-8B Harriers flew into the town to acquire the target. Their passes roared less than 100 feet from the ground, and the reverberations were so strong they detonated several IEDs that had not been discovered. After that, Soudan and other sergeants wryly requested Harrier fly-bys before they went into town on patrol.

Heh. Sort of the combat version of setting off car alarms with your motorcycle's straight pipes, but with a life-or-death payoff.

Upon their return to The World:

"What are you gonna do now, Dirty?" Perkins asked, expecting the clichéd banter about Disney World.

Dirty Steve wanted to take a trip to a different fantasyland. "I'm buying beer and getting strippers!"

That's my Marine Corps! Some things never change.

This book has several chapters about the Marines returning to bases in California, and their relationship problems (or not) and their sense of alienation from society (or not), and is well worth the read for this alone. Not too many books go into much detail about what happens when the shooting and tension are over, and this one does a good job of it.

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