This book is an autobiography from John Collins. It follows his journey from the flight to training all the way to his return. My usual formula, I feel, is inappropriate with this book because it is an autobiography and because John is a friend of mine.
This isn’t a novel. It’s not structured or written in the manner those who enjoy fiction would expect. It’s told in chronological order, and it’s primary function is to show how combat affected John. It’s important. Those who haven’t experienced combat sometimes have trouble understanding why their loved ones who do see combat change to varying degrees.
I’ve never actually been in combat. I was lucky. Two combat tours. More missions than I can remember or count, and I just had the pure luck to never end up in a firefight. What I can say is that there’s a scene in John’s book that resonates even with me. The constant fear that “This time, it’ll happen” has an effect on a person. John does a great job of describing that feeling.
This book’s strength is its honesty. Readers will see John at his best and worst. The kind of courage it takes to to openly show yourself to the world can’t be measured.
I’m not one who normally reads combat biographies. Most of my friends have seen combat. I’ve been on combat tours. While I never saw combat, I have seen things I don’t think I’ll forget. I frankly need the buffer of “fiction.” I read this book because John is a friend, and I’m glad I did.
This book is mostly for those who’ve seen combat. I’d even go so far to say its for those who saw a type of combat they didn’t expect to see. The earliest premise of this book discusses how exactly a person trained to operate from a ship dozens or hundreds of miles off the coast of a country ends up smack dab in the middle of a firefight. Of all the things I took from this book, I valued John’s courage the most. No matter how afraid he was, he never faltered to do what his country and leaders asked him to do. I love fiction, but if you’re looking for a story that shows you what heroes do, look no further.