Fives and Twenty-Fives tells the story a USMC Road Repair Platoon in Al Anbar Province in Iraq. Pitre explores his characters’ post-war lives and flashes back to their time in Iraq. The author was a creative writing major at LSU before he joined the Marines after 9/11 and it’s obvious he took a lot of notes during his service. The scenes set in Iraq are full of telling details and he does a great job of capturing the camaraderie of his characters and both the tedium and critical danger in the job they perform.
What’s the title mean? Here’s the description from the book’s web site.
It’s the rule—always watch your fives and twenty-fives. When a convoy halts to investigate a possible roadside bomb, stay in the vehicle and scan five meters in every direction. A bomb inside five meters cuts through the armor, killing everyone in the truck. Once clear, get out and sweep twenty-five meters. A bomb inside twenty-five meters kills the dismounted scouts investigating the road ahead.
Pitre manages to write serious fiction in a style that should be accessible to everyone. This is a well-written book that should appeal to people who don’t read all the time. I expect we’ll see a movie based on the book in a couple of years and it won’t be a surprise if this turns up on the best-seller lists. Fives and Twenty-Fives is a must-read for anyone who reads war fiction and maybe even for anyone who’s served in Iraq or Afghanistan over the last thirteen years.
Coming Back with Wes Moore is a three-part PBS documentary that personalizes the experiences of returning veterans and celebrates the lives of this group of exceptional people. The series explores the experiences of nine veterans for an American civilian audience that overwhelmingly has no direct connection to the experiences of the men and women who served. +Continue Reading
EA’s Battlefield 3 won’t be released until this fall but you can get yourself ready with this twelve-minute gameplay trailer. It’s set in Iraq and, while your team of U.S. Marines is supposedly fighting a fictional insurgent group called the “PLR,” it’s not hard to see who the enemy’s supposed to be.
“What’s the best way to make a small fortune in the movie business? Start out with a large one.”*
The lure of Hollywood was strong enough for several soldiers serving in Iraq that they reportedly took their danger pay and invested it all in a low-budget horror movie called 2084 that stars Billy West, best known for creating the voice of Stimpy in Ren & Stimpy. +Continue Reading
Avenged Sevenfold’s lead singer M. Shadows talks to the Pentagon Channel about their new album Nightmare, the loss of longtime drummer James “The Rev” Sullivan and the band’s upcoming USO tour of Iraq and Kuwait.
Back in April when he was still serving in Iraq, Sergeant Leo Dunson, now discharged and an aspiring rapper, thought it would be hilarious to secretly plant grenades in Iraqis’ car trunks at check points just so he could film the reaction once he “discovered” the contraband.
Unless Saddam was running Candid Camera reruns on state television for the last 50 years, it’s hard to imagine Sgt. Dunson’s prank had the intended effect. (via Gawker)