Friday, September 16, 2011

Book Review and Giveaway - SUV's Suck in Combat

SUV’s Suck in Combat by Kerry Kachejian
Publisher:  Fortis
Pages:  376
Genre:  Memoire
Source:  I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for a review

From Goodreads:
It was an unbelievable mission - to rebuild Iraq while the U.S. military was fighting a raging insurgency. In 2004, the soldiers and civilians of the Gulf Region Division (GRD) answered the call to duty and began the largest and most complex reconstruction project ever undertaken by our nation. They made great personal sacrifices that few of their fellow Americans would dare endure. This book tells the rest of the inspiring story - much of which was ignored by the mainstream media as "not newsworthy" or reduced to mere sound bytes. In the face of imminent danger, the GRD team braved daily car bombs, rocket attacks, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and kidnappings to rebuild thousands of projects throughout a chaotic war zone. These projects spread throughout a hostile country included schools, hospitals, police stations, oil production, electrical power and water treatment plants. Despite the odds, GRD was able to complete its critical strategic mission, and its members were awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation. A few of the amazing stories include: - A massive car bomb on author's first day in Baghdad that leveled a nearby hotel. - High speed "Mad Max" drives through the streets of Baghdad in unarmored SUVs. - The dependence on security contractors who performed with great valor while protecting American civilians. - The perilous war waged on the reconstruction mission that was largely invisible to U.S. combat forces and the American public. - The accidental rescue of an American hostage. - Living and working in Saddam's great palaces. - How a Yahoo email message was used to send an urgent plea for help. - A daring rescue mission in the Tigris River that ended in tragic loss. - The parade of Congressional Delegations that diverted precious combat resources from the war effort. - The unbelievable (but true) story of how a Yahoo email account is used to send an urgent message to the author to "PLEASE SAVE US".

About the Author:
 Kerry Kachejian is one of the nation's most qualified soldiers and engineers, having served in and supported reconstruction operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan as well as relief operations during Hurricane Katrina. A 1982 graduate of the US Military Academy (West Point), Kachejian also holds a Master's Degree in Systems Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute. He is a Distinguished Graduate of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces earning a second Master's Degree in National Resource Strategy. Kachejian has numerous military decorations, awards and qualifications, including the Bronze Star Medal and the Combat Action Badge. He is Airborne and Ranger qualified. Kachejian currently serves as a Director of Homeland Security at Raytheon, a Fortune 500 Company. He has spoken at a number of major conferences and private events on topics, including the Reconstruction of Iraq and Afghanistan, the Psychology of Terrorism, Contractors on the Battlefield, and Critical Infrastructure Protection. Kerry lives with his wife, Alice, and three children near Springfield, Virginia.

My thoughts
My brother and 4 nephews served in Iraq and Afghanistan.  My brother sent my mother these sweet, innocent emails.  He showed me the “real” side of Iraq through pictures he brought back with him.  Many of the pictures he had taken, resembled pictures in the book.  Reading the book and seeing the pictures brought back to my mind some of what my brother went through. 
Kerry had gone through many personal trials throughout his life.  He credits God “The Ranger in the Sky” with guiding him and giving him the strength he needed,  to handle all situations.  Although he comes across as a humble leader, it is obvious he was a great leader.  His candor when discussing the challenges he and his men faced daily while trying to rebuild Iraq’s infrastructure, was refreshing.  I had heard about the SUV’s being so unsafe, yet the most popular vehicle.  The majority did not have the proper armor protection needed.  They would weld steel to the frame or put sandbags under their seats, even hang body armor over the sides of the vehicle to put a layer  of protection between them and their enemy.  They were often stalked by the enemy waiting for the right moment to take them out. 
In my own opinion this is a must read book.  I really enjoyed it because it gave me the opportunity to learn more about a topic I feel I know little about.  The pictures brought the book visually alive for me.  I will recommend it to my friends at school as we talk so often about the war.  This is a book every American should read.  Maybe if they did they would not be so critical of our presence in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Maybe we need to send those in charge who don’t seem to care enough about the men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan this book, or better yet maybe we should put them in one of those less protected SUV’s and see how fast they get the necessary and proper equipment for our people who stand on the front lines.
To learn more you can visit Kerry’s website at
The publisher has graciously given me two books to give away to two of my readers.  Please leave a comment  and your email to be entered into the  giveaway.  I will use Random Number Generator to pick two winners on Saturday morning, September 24.  Good luck to everyone.


  1. The book title drew me in, but your review sealed the deal - must read! I think I'll wait and see if I win before buying it though. ;)

  2. Seems like a good read. I am very interested in SUVs being used and modified for wars by a lot of third world countries.

  3. Kerry Kachejian provides a rare glimpse into a side of the war in Iraq that the majority of Americans know little or nothing about. COL K. accurately describes just some of the never-ending challenges and dangers faced by the Soldiers and civilians of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Gulf Region Division in 2004. Nothing gets done in easily Iraq; especially rebuilding an antiquated, neglected and in numerous instances, a non-existent infrastructure. There have been many books written about the war in Iraq and to be sure many more will follow, but this one is the only one I have read that highlights the battles against the bureaucrats and a determined enemy on the battlefield that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers faced on a daily basis. As one of the many who have served multiple tours in Iraq with the Gulf Region Division I can only suggest you read this book and get a better understanding of the mission.

  4. Kerry Kachejian has hit a homerun with his first hand accounts of U.S. Army Corps of Engineer personnel and their Iraqi counterparts living and dying as they rebuild Iraq's infrastructure. The myriad of humor and tragedy interwoven into his "war stories" rival any past authors who detailed the heroic exploits of WWII, Vietnam and Desert Shield/Desert Storm. This book is a "must read" for those Americans who want to find out "what really happened in Iraq" during the past several years. Readers will not be able to set the book down until they finish reading all of the riveting details Kerry Kachejian carefully inserted into this fascinating book!

  5. Kerry Kachejian's first hand account of the challenges of rebuilding Iraq in the midst of a raging insurgency is a compelling page turner. He pulls no punches in describing their almost impossible mission and lack of resources and how the heroic efforts of our soldiers, civilians and local national workers made a difference.

    1. All what you have written is really amazing and I want to appreciate your great talents.
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