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Doug DePew

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Recall! Return of the IRR
by Doug DePew   

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Books by Doug DePew
· SAT & BAF! Memories of a Tower Rat
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Publisher:  Doug DePew ISBN-10:  1466216468 Type: 


Copyright:  August 11, 2011 ISBN-13:  9781466216464

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Tower Rat Main Tango

This book relates the author's experiences when he was recalled to active military duty in support of Operation Desert Storm.

There hadn't been a full-scale recall of the Individual Ready Reserves since the Korean War in January of 1991. With the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union, many people believed it would take World War III to trigger a recall of the IRR. Many people were wrong.

They came from cities and farms and towns in every corner of the country. With only a few days' notice, they quit their jobs, dropped out of college, kissed their girlfriends or wives, and got on planes to Atlanta, Georgia with nothing but the clothes on their backs. They had long hair, beards, and bad attitudes. They descended by the thousands on Fort Benning, Georgia, and they were not happy about it at all.

In this entertaining, true story, the author relates his own experiences as one of the twenty-thousand IRR recalls who were ordered back to active duty in support of Operation Desert Storm. In a story reminiscent of "The Dirty Dozen" times ten thousand, the author takes you through the entire experience from beginning to end. He carries you along for the ride and explains exactly what it was like to be a recall. With the many IRR recalls over the last ten years of warfare, this first hand account could shed some light on how the current era of recalls began. (29,000 words +/-)

“Company attention!”


Captain Webb smiled. Our new CO led us in PT that first morning. He was a built guy who struck me as a college football player. He looked like a wide receiver. Despite his captain’s bars, he still looked very young. I doubted if he was more than a few years older than most of us. PT was normally led by an NCO, but I think the CO wanted to get to know us. Even more important than that, I think he wanted us to get to know him. I liked him.

“Front leaning rest position, move!” he yelled after the stretches.

We fell forward onto our hands and into the snow in the pushup position. It was automatic after years of hearing those same commands.

“Four count pushup, move!”

The Army does pushups as a four count move which means every pushup is actually two. It never made sense to me, but it seemed like a lot of things in the Army were meant to make sure we could count…at least up to four. We did a significant amount of pushups that morning. Pushups in a flack vest were very hard. The vest probably weighed twenty pounds. I’d done them before when I was in Germany the first time, but they seemed much harder the second time. Either that or I was softer. I hung with the CO, though. After the pushups, he led us through four count sit-ups. Everything was harder in a flack vest.

“Forward march! Your left, your left, your left, right, left…”

Sergeant Wilkins was taking over cadence, but the CO was still leading the run.

“Double time march!” which meant to start running.

This was my first run at Graf, and I was unfamiliar with the terrain. In a regular unit, it doesn’t take long to learn the typical run routes. I liked knowing how far we had left. I didn’t have a clue on this run. Those were the times I’d go into that dream-like mode when it didn’t matter where or how far we ran. I just didn’t stop.

“Lock and load my M-16!”

“Lock and load my M-16!”

“Show the world I’m lean and mean!”

“Show the world I’m lean and mean!”

“‘Cause all I ever wanna see are bodies, bodies, bodies…”

It looked like we were going to be moving a-long at a pretty good pace. The CO took over the cadence. I enjoyed cadence, formation runs. It was the only time I enjoyed running.

“I’d kill anyone for you
Anyone you tell me to
‘Cause all I ever wanna see
Are bodies, bodies, bodies…”

We were back in the infantry. We ran three or four miles that morning which was a long way in a flack vest out of shape. Nobody fell out. I was starting to get back in shape. My weight had dropped back down to around 175, and my muscles were hardening back up. I figured I’d drop even more on my new diet of nuts and M & Ms. At my peak, I didn’t enjoy running, but I was feeling better except the cough that got worse with each lung full of frigid air.

“I have no idea where you are going to end up. All I can tell you is that I’ve been given a training schedule, and it is packed. Go back to your barracks and report to formation in full gear. Draw your weapons. Dismissed.”


Professional Reviews

Robert Peter Thompson, Author of "Everything Happened in Vietnam"
This book is a fascinating journey from the high jinks of life in a Florida music studio college to reunion with the reality and rigors of life on Army Time. Often funny, sometimes profane, but thoroughly captivating. I enjoyed the ride.

Java Davis for The Kindle Book Review
This book is today's non-fiction equivalent of Joseph Heller's Catch-22. Despite leaving a new future with good prospects; a 3-ring circus at Ft. Benning, GA; and walking pneumonia, the author made me believe in the truth of the patriotism of almost everyone he served with. This book was definitely written from a guy's perspective, but I think it crosses the gender divide.

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