Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Writing Tuesdays: 143rd in Iraq (Formerly In Spite of It All): NOW AVAILABLE!

My uncle, Marc Youngquist, served in the Connecticut National Guard's 143rd MP Company and did a tour of duty in Iraq from 2003-2004.  In the ten or so years since his return home, he has been hard at work writing a book describing his experiences there.  Most of these experiences range from the mildly frustrating to the downright harrowing and include:

  • Waking up in the middle of a sandstorm, being unable to see, and overwhelmed with the surreal terror that he was the last person of his company to remain alive and unburied.
  • Being trained for desert conditions at Fort Drum.  In the winter.  Which was as helpful as it sounds.
  • Having his National Guard unit treated like red-headed baby seals by many members of the active duty army.
  • The constant bureaucratic struggle to get enough ammunition, functioning vehicles, and other equipment. Like radios.  Radios are important!
  • A creatively-wired Humvee, whose heat went on only when the parking break was applied.  Somehow.

And much, much more!

My uncle is a storyteller, not a writer, so he enlisted my aid as an editor and proofreader to wrangle his 100k+ word book into submission.  Most of my efforts involved polishing up the wording and moving sections around to create a more narrative flow (Lookit that!  Geoff gets to use his creative writing degree for something other than writing LARP plots.  Go Geoff!).

We had expected that the book would be released sometime earlier this year, however the publishing industry and other, outside interests conspired to create delays.  Sometime within the last few days, the last of the delays (during which the publisher had to ensure that the text conversion from print to e-reader was formatted in such a way that was pleasant to the eyes) was finally overcome and the book was officially published.

Even though I'm just an editor on this project, it's still very exciting to see a book that I have worked on reach the final stage of production, and it's nice to see my name up in lights.  I will also say that it a little weird that I am listed as an editor under my full birth name, and I'm concerned that I now no longer have any defense against practitioners of the dark arts who have an internet connection and more than a passing interest in military memoirs.

But anyway, enough rambling.  If true stories of military hardship, bureaucratic nonsense, broken-down equipment, crabby janitors, dislocated shoulders, and obnoxious senior officers are something that interest you (or if you'd just like to read through the book and mock me for all the errors I made in grammar and punctuation) feel free to pick it up here.

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