Hog Pilots, Blue Water Grunts

Published By: Vintage

Book Category: Non-Fiction,

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Reviewed by Jeff Foster

In his latest book, Hog Pilots, Blue Water Grunts, Robert D. Kaplan picks up where he left off with his last book, Imperial Grunts: On the Ground with the American Military.
This book is a travel log of sorts, taking the reader along on a nearly two-year journey that Kaplan experienced before things began to get better for the American military in Iraq–and worse in Afghanistan.

I was amazed at how much we actually do not know about our country’s military deployments and how widespread the front lines in the Global War on terrorism actually are.

Kaplan leads off this exploit with a deployment in Niger with a Marine unit that is in this poor African country to help in any simple way they can. Medical supplies, basic training, and American moral support all add up to a short vignette starring a small group of regular guys in a poverty-stricken country doing everything they can to make life just a little bit better for their hosts.

From Niger, the odyssey continues through a variety of locales that range from the jungles of Thailand to the frozen tundra of Alaska and on to the thin air of Nepal. Kaplan visits Mosul, Iraq, where the situation has improved so dramatically that he barely recognizes the city he left a little over a year before. He spends time on a U.S. Navy destroyer in the Pacific, preparing for the future challenges our Navy will face with the growing expeditionary navy of Communist China.

Kaplan is a journalist, being such, the writing is excellent and his observations are striking. U.S. military might is deployed all across the globe today as you read this, trying to make a difference as only a volunteer force of a democratic country can do.

This is an excellent book. Each stop on Kaplan’s tour is its own chapter. This allows the reader to stop often and reflect on the experience the writer has just described. Hog Pilots, Blue Water Grunts is eye-opening in so many regards that it is actually hard to get into words everything that is included

Armchair Interviews says: Read this book to understand our country’s commitments to bettering the world and seeing to it that our shores stay safe.

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