Violence of Action
By RU Twisted
I think everyone who has worn a tan beret for the US Army has, while perusing books on Amazon or at Barnes & Noble (I think people still go in there…?), asked the question, “why are there 758 books on Navy SEALs and next to nothing on Rangers??” It’s a fair question and one that I’ve asked myself more than once.
Marty Skovlund, Jr. set out to rectify this very problem with Violence of Action: the Untold Stories of the 75th Ranger Regiment in the War on Terror. Rather than simply complain about the lack of reading material highlighting the greatest light infantry in the world, Marty decided to take on the monumental task of doing so for his brothers in arms.
Joined by Charles Faint and Leo Jenkins, Marty’s desire was to record the impact of Rangers in the War on Terror, recognize their sacrifices, and inspire future Rangers. What it turned into—in both his opinion and mine—is so much more than that.
This is the part in most reviews where they go into a lot of detail about the book and how awesome it is and why you should buy it. But here’s the deal, you know I’m going to tell you it’s awesome or else I wouldn’t be writing this review in the first place.
What I am going to tell you is something else, and that is that this book is sorely needed in the military special operations community and combat arms in general. Not just because it highlights some truly courageous men doing heroic things, but also because much of what is detailed here would go untold otherwise.
Think about this, how many books can you name that offer a lot of detail about the actions of the 75th Ranger Regiment? Let’s see, there was Black Hawk Down, Not a Good Day to Die, and….uhh….yeah. Exactly. I’m kind of drawing a blank here, too.
Oh, I’m sure there are a few others, but the fact that everyone here knows is that there is relatively little written about the world’s premier light infantry, especially in the last 10 years. And those have been a busy ten years, my friends.
I went through RIP in 2002 and, from everything I know now, I don’t think I would even recognize the 75th. Because of how active they have been in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other places in that time, their TTPs have advanced light years beyond what I knew them to be 12 years ago.
And that is exactly what has made Regiment such an incredible group—their ability and willingness to evolve, grow, and advance their warfighting skills have proven invaluable. Their refusal to rest on what worked ten years ago is something that every combat arms unit should learn from.
That is exactly what Marty Skovlund, Jr. has shown a spotlight upon with this exceptional book. Rather than talking about one battle and how a few Rangers overcame adversity to get the job done, he has helped future generations see how Ranger Regiment as a whole adapted to new threats and met them just as their creed says they should.
What’s more is that this is not some journalists accounting of what “those Rangers” did. This is an insider’s account told by those that were there; the men who recognized that they volunteered as a Ranger are the ones telling the story.
This is both cheeringly fantastic and gut-wrenching at the same time. As the quotes from some of these young Rangers pour through the reader’s eyes, the heart and soul of our nation’s spear is laid bare for all to see. From the guilt of a warrior not being at home during his child’s birth to the depth of pain from losing a friend, it’s all there in the open.
For all of these reasons and many more, this book shouldn’t just sit on the shelf of those interested in Rangers or Ranger history. It should be a staple for any and all who want a better understanding of the War on Terror as a whole and the warriors who were at the forefront of it—through their own eyes, and their own words.
A couple years ago, I was standing in a room with ten civilians and the only other veteran was a former SEAL. After bragging about how great they were (as usual), I said to him, “watch this” and turned to ask the room a couple questions.
“Who killed bin Laden?” Everyone immediately said the SEALs did, and of course my friend beamed with pride. Then I named off about five other HVTs, to include the likes of Saddam Hussein’s sons, and asked the same group who had taken these people out.
I received nothing but blank stares, and turned to the former SEAL and said “exactly.”
It’s time that these men had their stories told, and kudos to Marty, Charles, and Leo for doing exactly that. It’s a work to be proud of and treasured.