Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Road to Unafraid by Captain Jeff Struecker

The Road to Unafraid

The Road to Unafraid
by Captain Jeff Struecker
with Dean Merrill

Hardback: 207 pages
Publisher: W Publishing Group
First Released: 2006

Author Website
Buy from Amazon

Source: Bought from

Back Cover Description:
In 1993, Jeff Struecker landed in Somalia as part of an elite military force sent to curtail a warlord's ruthless abuse of the population. What erupted in the end was an eighteen-hour suicide mission through the bullet-riddled streets of Mogadishu to rescue a band of downed soldiers.

Recounting in vivid, blood-pulsing detail, Struecker shares the story of coming face to face with mankind's greatest fears, both in Somalia and other global hotspots like Panama, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Struecker's sometimes shocking story assures us that "the difference between being a coward and a hero is not whether you're scared, it's what you do while you're scared."

This is the road to unafraid.

The Road to Unafraid is definitely a quick and suspenseful read. The author briefly tells us about his childhood and training to become a Ranger (and, later, a chaplain). He spends most of the book describing his combat experiences and the military-related challenges he's faced.

Jeff Struecker is very open about the fears, frustrations, and challenges he dealt with while in combat and what he learned from them. He also gives insight into military culture and a soldier's view of the various military conflicts the U.S.A. has been involved in since he enlisted in the army.

While he descibes scenes from his various deployments, much of the book is a detailed view of the part he played in the Somalia "Black Hawk Down" incident. His vivid descriptions made me feel like I was with him in the scene, surrounded by danger. It certainly did get my heart racing. His descriptions of the Best Ranger competition were also excellent--I got tired just reading about all they went through.

The author also described how his Christian faith helped him deal with the stresses of military life and the fears involved in combat. Overall, this book well-written, suspenseful, and insightful. I'd recommend it to anyone who has never been in the military but who wants insight into what soldiers may face when in training and combat.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Introduction

U.S. Army Rangers don't get scared. We've made a name for ourselves as the fearless ones. We're a tough, disciplined, quick-strike force that parachutes or helicopters into nasty situations, kicks down doors, captures the bad guys, and forces openings for the rest of the army to follow--hence our motto, "Rangers Lead the Way."

Give us the hardest, most dangerous, most challenging mission you can think of. We'll take it on. We're the elite--fewer than half a percent of all active-duty soldiers. We go where others are not able or not trained to go. We instinctively run toward the fight, not away from it.

At least that's the mystique. Line up any one hundred guys who have served successfully in the Ranger Regiment and ask if they've ever been afraid. You'll get no takers.

We stand in the long, proud line of those Rangers who first pushed onto Omaha Beach on D-Day back in 1944. It was Rangers who scaled straight up the ninety-foot cliffs of Pointe-du-Hoc that day to knock out a nest of 155-millimeter German cannons that were holding off the Allied invasion.

It was Rangers who jumped onto the airfields of Grenada (1983), taking on the enemy with no backup for hours. We Rangers did the same in Panama (1989). We were the ones who came oh-so-close to breaking the back of Somali warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid and restoring sanity to that desperate country (1993)--until our government pulled us out. If you've read Mark Bowden's excellent bestseller Black Hawk Down or seen the Academy Award-winning movie, you know all about that. In this book, I'll give you my take on what happened there.

Along the way I may surprise you by admitting that I've been afraid more than once or twice during my thirteen-plus years in the Ranger Regiment. That may upset some people. But it's true.

I've felt the same fears as those who've never worn the uniform. Fear of death. Fear of losing your most valued relationships. Fear of running out of money. Fear of getting sick. Fear of violence. Fear of embarrassment. These happen all across the human spectrum.

How we handle our fears makes a huge difference. We can let them paralyze us, or we can find the courage to rise above them. Through my experiences, I share some extreme examples of facing threats and overcoming the panic they generate inside. My hope is to encourage you in your private battles.

Here's a link to read further.


Sheila (bookjourney) said...

Good morning Debbie. This book just keeps bringing me back. I love your review of this and wanted to let you know I am featuring this review at One Persons Journey Through a World of Books today for my Morning Meandering.

Basically I brag up your review - and link back to you so readers can find their way here to read it.

Genre Reviewer said...

Thanks so much! I'm glad you loved my review, and I think it's great I had a part in connecting you with a book that interests you so much. :)