by Marc Youngquist
East Montpelier, Vt.: Green Frog Publishing, 2015. Pp. xx, 424.
Illus., maps, gloss., append., notes, index. $24.99 paper. ISBN: 0991435982
Connecticut MPs at War in Iraq
Veteran law enforcement officer and National Guardsman, Youngquist served on active duty in Panama, the Dominican Republic, and during the 9/11 crisis, before deploying to Iraq in 2003-2004 as a master sergeant in Connecticut’s 143rd MP Company, a deployment that forms the center piece of this very personal account.
Youngquist opens naturally with a look at the nature of a National Guard unit and the peculiarities of military life. So we learn how a unit can be issued equipment inappropriate for its mission, because that’s what’s available, or assigned personnel unsuited for the service, because someone recruiter needed an extra body to make quota, and more. Youngquist then takes us from peacetime National Guard routine to activation, with contingent reequiping, filling out the ranks, and training for deployment to Iraq, which, in keeping with “the Army Way” took place in wintery upstate New York!
Youngquist then takes us with him as the company deploys to the fight in the deserts of western Iraq. There’s a lot action, and a lot routine, as he recounts the day-by-day life of the company and its personnel, both men and women, who are an interesting, lively bunch, some of whom suffered great harm. We get details of attacks by IEDs or insurgents, life under harsh desert conditions, interaction with local citizens, not always friendly, and occasional tiffs with higher command.
Although his format is rather like a diary, Youngquist punctuates events with commentary of equipment, tactics, policy, and people, especially people, some of whom come off well, and others not so well. This is an outstanding look at the life and experiences of a small, specialized military unit under fire, written so that the layman can more readily understand military life and culture.
The 143rd in Iraq
is worthwhile reading for anyone interested in the experience of war.
The 143rd in Iraq is also available in some e-Book formats.