A primer in leadership, duty, and determination
When I began to read A Dusty Boot Soldier Remembers, I quickly felt Colonel Larry Redmond was sitting beside me, relating in a verbal folksy manner the many stories of his amazing career as a Special Forces qualified Airborne Ranger infantry officer who never strayed far from a paratrooper's billet. These were not cold words on a page, but a warm, factual portrayal of a quarter of a century of challenging experiences.
Redmond’s memories provide an insider's view of Army history from 1962, when he got his gold bar as a second lieutenant, through his retirement as a colonel and senior planner for Central Command in 1986. In addition to two tours as a company commander with the 101st Airborne in Vietnam where he received the Purple Heart and Silver Star, he commanded a battalion in the 82nd Airborne and served as United Nations observer on the Golan Heights following the 1973 Israeli-Arab war. He also spent several years as a Green Beret in Panama. One of his more interesting assignments was testing the fledgling Detachment Delta to ensure its readiness to become operational as the Army's elite counter-terrorism force.
He explains how all of the assignments brought new understanding to the author's evolution as an extraordinary officer. Scattered throughout the narrative are "Redmond's Rules," some witty lessons learned that any soldier can benefit by following. These range from "Things get worse under pressure. Stay cool." to "Think it through, don't do dumb things." Sage advice from a man who took meaning from all life's experiences and excelled in his chosen profession.
He led by example, put his troops first, and credits his success to the friendship and advice from his sergeants as well as senior officers. He spoke the truth, even when it was counter to the thinking of higher brass. While some saw him destined for a general's star, he shunned the Pentagon and other assignments usually required to reach a flag rank. He preferred to stay on jump status with his beloved Airborne.
A Dusty Boot Soldier Remembers is an easy read, not cluttered with a plethora of acronyms that plague many military histories and biographies. For the military reader, Redmond's memoir is a must for your library. The casual reader will also find it enjoyable, entertaining, and informative.
I give this book a lusty "Airborne All the Way, Sir!"
Reviewer: Joe Epley
Author: Larry A. Redmond