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Remember the Ramrods: An Army Brotherhood in War and Peace (MP3 CD)
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An extraordinary re-envisioning of the scope and ambitions of the contemporary military memoir: the Iraq War's only living Medal of Honor recipient examines the bonds and wounds of war across two decades.
After fourteen years apart, forty veterans of brutal close-quarters combat, lost souls to a man, were brought back together when one of them, the author, received the Medal of Honor. Their impromptu reunion in June 2019 helped heal them all--and saved more than a few of them too. This is their story.
In 2004, David Bellavia's U.S. Army unit, an infantry battalion known as the Ramrods--2nd Battalion 2nd infantry regiment, 1st Infantry Division--fought and helped win the Battle of Fallujah, the bloodiest episode of the Iraq War. On November 10, 2004, Bellavia single-handedly cleared a fortified enemy position that had pinned down a squad from his platoon. Fourteen years later, Bellavia got a call from the president of the United States: he had been awarded a Medal of Honor and would receive America's highest award for bravery in combat in a ceremony at the White House.
The news was not welcome. Bellavia had put the war behind him, created a quiet life for himself in rural western New York, and lost touch with most of his fellow Ramrods, who were once like brothers to him. The first time they gathered as a unit after the war was at Bellavia's medal ceremony, for six days in Washington, DC, that may have saved them all. As they revisited what they had seen and done in battle and revealed to each other their journeys back into civilian life, they discovered that the bonds had not been broken by time. A decoration for one became a healing event for all.
This book--beginning in brutal war and ending with this momentous, transformative reunion--covers the journey of Bellavia's platoon through fifteen years. A quintessential and timeless American tale, it is the story of how forty battle-hardened soldiers became ordinary citizens again, what they did during that time, how November 10, 2004, rattled in them, and how their reunion brought them home at last.
Supplemental enhancement PDF accompanies the audiobook.