I always wanted to write professionally, but never found a topic that grabbed me until a few years ago. I was driving home from Camp Lejeune with my son Phil after he returned from Iraq in June 2003. He's a proud Marine, and fought in the intial invasion in March 2003.
So after asking my 19-yr old combat vet "what'd you do ?"...he proceeded to tell me the most hair-raising story about the huge fight at An-Nasiriyah. I was totally impressed by both his stories, as well as by his remarkably calm demeanor in relating them. Both my mom and dad were Marines (S/F!) in WW2, and I've still got a lot of their uniforms and memorabilia, so I figured I'd write 10-15 pages about the battle and Phil's part in it, throw in some photos, and in 30 years some grandkid would say "Grandpa did all that ??" Well, 50 pages and 3 calls to publishers later; I had a book...my first..."Charlie Battery; A Marine Artillery Unit in Iraq."
And the book did well...and I did a lot of TV and radio spots, wrote some articles for various newspapers...and I recieved a grant from the Marine Corps to write another book...and then I was went to Beirut with the 24th MEU...and then to Iraq...and all that went well so I went to Afghanistan...and suddenly I'm an embedded journalist with an audience who follows my work.
I've taken a boots-on-the-ground approachto my writing; I'll let the armchair gasbags and officious pundits talk about the war from the safety of their Washington offices; I think that these young men and women are America's best, and I need to do as good a job writing about their efforts as they do in fighting - and to do that, I need to be up on the front lines with them.
I'll be going back to Afghanistan in late-March 2009, and I hope you can join me on www.themilitaryobserver-onpoint.com