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Spare Parts: From Campus to Combat: A Marine…

Spare Parts: From Campus to Combat: A Marine Reservist's Journey from…

by Buzz Williams

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Awesome, this dude got out all the things I wanted to say but never had the words. I finished it in about three days and had a blast remembering the old times. ( )
  tmstimbert | Jun 25, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 159240054X, Hardcover)

Long the stuff of historical, literary, and cinematic legend, the United States Marine Corps maintains arguably the most fervent cult of devotion of any branch of the Armed Services. Yet despite the colorful Corps traditions and clichés that have long since become a part of American culture, the crucial human dimensions of what drives a man to become a Marine have remained largely unexplored. Buzz Williams bravely stakes out his turf in this insightful memoir of his years as a Marine reservist and tour of duty in the first Gulf War of 1991.

Inspired by the USMC service of an older brother who died a tragic, early death, Williams' initial attraction to the Corps is almost cult-like in its intensity (his adopted nickname stems from the close-cropped military haircut he'd worn since childhood). As a way to balance his drive for service with the desire for a college education, Williams joined the USMC Reserves, and quickly found himself a second-class citizen in his cherished institution--when the Marines' "Green Machine" breaks down, they call for "Spare Parts," the Corps' derogatory term for reservists. But, when Iraq invaded Kuwait on the eve of his graduation from armor training at Camp Pendleton, new warrior Williams quickly found himself headed inexorably towards desert warfare in which American forces were often their own worst enemy.

What is striking about Williams' tale is its attentive, persistent psychoanalyses of both his fellow warriors and himself--an examination that finds many a conflicted hero with feet of clay. His unflinching observations about a venerable institution hobbled by bureaucracy, recruitment compromises, woefully inadequate training, and a chronic shortage of supplies seem especially timely in light of the contemporary military quagmire in Iraq. Yet through all his doubts and travails, Williams' dedication to the Corps emerges stubbornly Semper Fi. --Jerry McCulley

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:18 -0400)

The author describes his unexpected odyssey from college to the Persian Gulf after only four weeks of combat training, describing the physical and emotional challenges that he and his fellow reservists faced during the Gulf War.

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