Magazine article Phi Kappa Phi Forum

Heavy Metal

Magazine article Phi Kappa Phi Forum

Heavy Metal

Article excerpt

Heavy Metal by Capt. Jason Conroy tells the story of Charlie Company, Task Force 1-64 Armor, 3rd Infantry Division's fight to Baghdad during the commencement of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Co-written with embedded combat reporter Ron Martz, the book provides a realistic narrative of America's armored soldiers in "a war that was part combat, part peace-keeping, and part strangeness." Forget what you think you know about the war. CNN and the BBC News may have left us with numerous sound-bytes and distinct images of combat, but Heavy Metal's nonfiction account paints a gripping portrait of the true "shock and awe" in modern warfare: shocking us with striking details of tanks fighting in an urban environment "like a gunfight in a phone booth" and awing us with the drama of being an American soldier on the front lines of the battlefield.

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Supplying much more than a chronology of the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime, this book provides readers with a firsthand look at modern warfare and reveals the complexities and challenges facing a young tank-company commander leading his men into battle for the first time. Through Capt. Conroy's perspective, we get to see what it is like to be American soldiers doing what they are trained to do--to adapt constantly to whatever confronts them so that they can fight and win our nation's wars. Through the book, we get to experience the difficulties of urban warfare and the ever-present danger of terror tactics. We feel the soldiers' frustration of not knowing exactly how to react when civilians and combatants are together on the battlefield. We comprehend the importance of leadership that instills discipline even in the most chaotic of times so that the mission can be accomplished. We better understand the true meaning of motivation, dedication, and determination and witness how ingenuity, valor, and teamwork guide the Charlie Company Cobras to triumph time and time again. In the worst possible conditions, and in the most inhospitable of environments, against a new kind of enemy, on unthinkable tank-fighting terrain, without doctrine or training that supports the type of missions demanded of them, seventy young Americans accomplish the mission by successfully fighting their tanks into the middle of Baghdad.

To its credit, Heavy Metal imparts enduring and pertinent principles beyond a military audience. Educators, managers, and coaches alike will connect with many of the values illuminated in the book:

* Teamwork: "With all the combined arms firepower at its disposal, that company is often more than the sum of its parts. …

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