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June 9, 2012

My 2012 Goal Met with Book 30, Time to double my goal to 60

Mogadishu Diaries- BloodlinesMogadishu Diaries- Bloodlines by Eddie Clay III
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mogadishu Diaries 1992 - 1993: Bloodlines by Eddie Clay III is a fictional account based on real experiences during Operation Restore Hope in Somalia. The U.S. led mission was two-fold; to secure major supply routes for safe delivery of relief supplies, and help create a secure environment. As we know by history what started as a peace-keeping mission to supply relief aid ended with a battle. Mogadishu Diaries covers the author's account of what happened and how it happened through his service as a U.S. Marine supporting Operation Restore Hope.

The book starts with Gunnery Sergeant Thompson at the airport trying to get a flight out for annual leave and he runs into Staff Sergeant Barnes who is now a Warrant Officer. WO Barnes wants to know where his Combat Action Ribbon ( CAR) was and the last time they met. It turns out that GS Thompson didn't get the ribbon and was told he wasn't eligible for one even though we find out that everyone else there that day got one. In fact, the same Captain that put others in for the ribbon including WO Barnes is the same person who told GS Tompson that this was a humanitarian relief operation so no CARs were considered. As for the last time they met, GS Thompson answered Jan. 7th, 1993 at 7 A.M. which means it was in Somalia and he remembers it like it was yesterday. With this and with the magic pen of the author's, we are transported to seven years earlier with the unique perspective to see what he sees and hear what he hears. We even have moments of being inside his head seeing his thoughts and we even experience along with him the 'feelings' of the circumstances he finds himself in.

Not only do we learn of the fighting between the clans and others in Somalia, we learn about the 'non physical' fighting between the ranks in the Marine Corps itself. Even though the mission is clear it seems the 'ranks' can't see eye to eye on the best way to achieve their goal or who should be recommended for ribbons or promotions. It also becomes clear that you do not want to be the person who 'shows up' a higher rank in any way because it doesn't matter if you are right or wrong, you will pay the price and if hell is to pay, you will be the one paying it.

Hats off to this unique insight of personal history. For once a book that doesn't try to sugar coat things nor glamorize the military but instead it tells it like it is (or at least to the best of the author's recollections). Not only was I drawn in at the very beginning, it never got boring. I also loved how personal it was and the connection felt with the author as well as the photos which really brought another degree to this personal experience not forgetting to mention the Dedication. Although I found this book disturbing in parts, I do recommend it.

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