May 27, 2022

Spotter Up

In Depth Tactical Solutions

Commandant of the Marine Corps (CMC) Professional Reading Program 2020: Profession of Arms

10 min read
  • Cover ArtAFTER ACTION: THE TRUE STORY OF A COBRA PILOT’S JOURNEY by Dan Sheehan

  • BLACK HEARTS: ONE PLATOON’S DESCENT INTO MADNESS IN IRAQ’S TRIANGLE OF DEATH by Jim Frederick

    This is the story of a small group of soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division’s fabled 502nd Infantry Regiment—a unit known as “the Black Heart Brigade.” Deployed in late 2005 to Iraq’s so-called Triangle of Death, a veritable meat grinder just south of Baghdad, the Black Hearts found themselves in arguably the country’s most dangerous location at its most dangerous time.

    Hit by near-daily mortars, gunfire, and roadside bomb attacks, suffering from a particularly heavy death toll, and enduring a chronic breakdown in leadership, members of one Black Heart platoon—1st Platoon, Bravo Company, 1st Battalion—descended, over their year-long tour of duty, into a tailspin of poor discipline, substance abuse, and brutality.

    Four 1st Platoon soldiers would perpetrate one of the most heinous war crimes U.S. forces have committed during the Iraq War—the rape of a fourteen-year-old Iraqi girl and the cold-blooded execution of her and her family. Three other 1st Platoon soldiers would be overrun at a remote outpost—one killed immediately and two taken from the scene, their mutilated corpses found days later booby-trapped with explosives.

    Black Hearts is an unflinching account of the epic, tragic deployment of 1st Platoon. Drawing on hundreds of hours of in-depth interviews with Black Heart soldiers and first-hand reporting from the Triangle of Death, Black Hearts is a timeless story about men in combat and the fragility of character in the savage crucible of warfare. But it is also a timely warning of new dangers emerging in the way American soldiers are led on the battlefields of the twenty-first century.

     

  • FIRST TO FIGHT: AN INSIDE VIEW OF THE U.S. MARINE CORPS by Victor H. Krulak

  • FORGOTTEN WARRIORS: THE 1ST PROVISIONAL MARINE BRIGADE, THE CORPS ETHOS, AND THE KOREAN WAR by T. X. Hammes

  • Cover ArtHESITATION KILLS: A FEMALE MARINE OFFICER’S COMBAT EXPERIENCE IN IRAQ by Jane Blair

  • THE LAST STAND OF FOX COMPANY: A TRUE STORY OF U.S. MARINES IN COMBAT by Bob Drury; Thomas Clavin

    November 1950, the Korean Peninsula: After General MacArthur ignores Mao’s warnings and pushes his UN forces deep into North Korea, his 10,000 First Division Marines find themselves surrounded and hopelessly outnumbered by 100,000 Chinese soldiers near the Chosin Reservoir. Their only chance for survival is to fight their way south through the Toktong Pass, a narrow gorge that will need to be held open at all costs. The mission is handed to Captain William Barber and the 234 Marines of Fox Company, a courageous but undermanned unit of the First Marines. Barber and his men climb seven miles of frozen terrain to a rocky promontory overlooking the pass, where they will endure four days and five nights of nearly continuous Chinese attempts to take Fox Hill. Amid the relentless violence, three-quarters of Fox’s Marines are killed, wounded, or captured. Just when it looks like they will be overrun, Lt. Colonel Raymond Davis, a fearless Marine officer who is fighting south from Chosin, volunteers to lead a daring mission that will seek to cut a hole in the Chinese lines and relieve the men of Fox. This is a fast-paced and gripping account of heroism in the face of impossible odds.

     

     

  • THE MARINES OF MONTFORD POINT: AMERICA’S FIRST BLACK MARINES by Melton Alonza McLaurin

    With an executive order from President Franklin Roosevelt in 1941, the United States Marine Corps–the last all-white branch of the U.S. military–was forced to begin recruiting and enlisting African Americans. The first black recruits received basic training at the segregated Camp Montford Point, adjacent to Camp Lejeune, near Jacksonville, North Carolina. Between 1942 and 1949 (when the base was closed as a result of President Truman’s 1948 order fully desegregating all military forces) more than 20,000 men trained at Montford Point, most of them going on to serve in the Pacific Theatre in World War II as members of support units. This book, in conjunction with the documentary film of the same name, tells the story of these Marines for the first time.

    Drawing from interviews with 60 veterans, The Marines of Montford Point relates the experiences of these pioneers in their own words. From their stories, we learn about their reasons for enlisting; their arrival at Montford Point and the training they received there; their lives in a segregated military and in the Jim Crow South; their experiences of combat and service in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam; and their legacy. The Marines speak with flashes of anger and humor, sometimes with sorrow, sometimes with great wisdom, and always with a pride fostered by incredible accomplishment in the face of adversity. This book serves to recognize and to honor the men who desegregated the Marine Corps and loyally served their country in three major wars.

     

  • Cover ArtWE WERE ONE: SHOULDER TO SHOULDER WITH THE MARINES WHO TOOK FALLUJAH by Patrick K. O’Donnell

  • Cover ArtWOMEN AT WAR: IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN, AND OTHER CONFLICTS by James E. Wise; Scott Baron

 

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