After reading on the FGM forum from our member Richtig who stated this book Company Commander by Major Russel Lewis MC by was one worth picking up I immediately went out and bought and dragged it along with me on night shift last night. All I can say is that the stars aligned, it was a quiet night and I was able to give this book a good bashing. It is 351 pages long and by the end of my shift I had read 245 pages and finished the rest of in bed this morning.
Can I just say… I have never read a book in the region of 10 hours… but this one I just couldn’t put down.
The book is all about Major Lewis and his company of 2 Para and their 6 month tour of duty at FOB Inkerman. I have read many books in relation to the conflict in Afghanistan but none touched me as much as this one. In it Major Lewis discusses everyday life at the FOB (Forward Operating Base) and gives a great insight into the qualities required to command 200 ‘warriors’. This is a man that takes great pride in his Regiment and the history of 2 Para. He frequently references the heroics carried out by 2 Para in the Falklands in 1982 and it is obvious this is one of the events that inspired him to become a ‘company commander’ in the Parachute Regiment.
The book is based on his journal which he wrote in everyday he was there and although a lot of it is quite repetitive insofar as today we exited the FOB and did an Op Loam patrol (supply run support) or we pushed 500 yards into the Green Zone he also makes it interesting by giving his thoughts on each patrol, where he could improve it and how it shaped the bigger picture in relation to the Taliban activity in the area in and around Inkerman.
It also demonstrates how soldiers and commanders deal with the loss of men in a war zone. One very poignant incident was the loss of troopers Nathan ‘Cuthie’ Cuthbertson, Dan Gamble and Charles ‘Dave’ Murray in a suicide bomber attack. These young men had went forward to speak to a local Afghan male who promptly detonated himself badly injuring all 3 men who later succumbed to their injuries.
I cant recommend this book highly enough and thankyou, thankyou, thankyou to Richtig for highlighting it on the forums.
In closing I’d like to quote a few paragraphs from the book that really struck a chord with me.