06 December 2017

New Essay Reveals the Origins of the 'Red Bull' Patch!

From the writer of the Red Bull Rising blog! New work includes "10 haiku about Operation Desert Storm," appears in the latest volume of "Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors" anthology series, released earlier this week! Written in the snarky spirit of "Welcome to FOB Haiku: War Poems from Inside the Wire," the work includes such gems as:
Saddam promises
the “Mother of All Battles”
if we take Kuwait.

Voice of Darth Vader
adds commercial gravitas:
“This ... is C.N.N.”

Laser-guided gaze
reveals war is really just
Super Nintendo.
Also appearing in the 230-page anthology is "Marvin Cone Goes to War," a 3,000-word essay about how artist Marvin Cone, then a U.S. National Guard private first class from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, came to design the 34th Infantry "Red Bull" Division insignia. The story involves trips that Cone took with his unit's officers, into the New Mexico desert, seeking out treasures from archeological dig sites first established by Smithsonian Institution scientists. Think of it as ... "Raiders of the Lost Bowl"!

Published by the Southeast Missouri State University Press, the book can be purchased via Amazon here.

Other recently published books about the 34th Inf. "Red Bull" Division can be found at this link.

20 November 2017

Great Red Bull Book & Holiday Gift Ideas!

Here are some new finds and old favorites for this year's grab-bag of holiday gift ideas for 34th Infantry "Red Bull" Division service members, veterans, family, and other boosters:

"Reporting for Duty: U.S. Citizen-Soldier Journalism from the Afghan Surge, 2010-2011," edited by Randy Brown, chronicles the year-long deployment of the Iowa National Guard's 2nd Brigade Combat Team (B.C.T.), 34th Infantry "Red Bull" Division (2-34th BCT) as one of the only U.S. National Guard brigades to engage in Full-Spectrum Operations in Operation Enduring Freedom. Relive all the missions—humanitarian and combat, morale-building and training—from the largest deployment of Iowa troops since World War II!

("Citizen-Soldier," a 2016 documentary film about Oklahoma National Guard's 45th Inf. "Thunderbird" BCT, which replaced the Red Bull in Eastern Afghanistan's Laghman Province, makes a great companion gift!)

Not a big reader? There's a "Red Bull Rising" Zazzle store with holiday cards, ornaments, and other designs! One favorite? This "Red Bull" snowflake ornament!

"Roaring Bull: The 34th Infantry Division in the Global War on Terror" by Brian Leehan is a 220-page yearbook-style collection of oral history, chronology, and photographs, tracing the division's multiple deployments between the years 2002 and 2016. (Leehan is also author of the civil war history "Pale Horse at Plum Run: The First Minnesota at Gettysburg." That unit's lineage is maintained the modern-day Red Bull's 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry Regiment.)

Underwritten by the 34th Infantry Division Association, Johnston, Iowa, the "Roaring Bull" book project will be an essential foothold for future family and unit historians. The 8.5-by-11-inch hardcover features interviews with approximately 60 current and former Red Bull soldiers, and more than 250 color photographs and maps. Cover price is $39.99. It can be mail-ordered with personal check or PayPal (for $37, including $5 shipping and handling), or purchased for $32 at the following locations, while supplies last:
"Deming, New Mexico's Camp Cody: A World War One Training Camp" by Jim Eckles is a fun tour of the training hardships faced by the citizen-soldiers of Minnesota, Iowa, North and South Dakota who first organized as the U.S. 34th Infantry Division. While the unit has always been represented by the distinctive shoulder patch designed by painter and solider Marvin Cone of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, it was first named the "Sunshine" and then "Sandstorm" Division, the latter based on conditions in the dusty, hardscrabble camp. (The unit's "Red Bull" moniker was a World War II invention.)

The book's production and the author's tone are both friendly and accessible—reading it is a bit like conversing with a knowledgeable museum guide. The facts and anecdotes come freely, and, while readers may struggle to place each nugget into context, they'll certainly walk away entertained and informed. One favorite factoid? On April 7, 1918, the Chicago Cubs faced off in an exhibition game with players from the 34th Inf. Div. The Cubs won, 8-0.

"Welcome to FOB Haiku: War Poems from Inside the Wire" by Randy Brown is an award-winning collection of snarky poetry that often packs a powerful emotional punch. Brown takes from his experiences as a former "Red Bull" citizen-soldier, and as a civilian journalist who briefly embedded with the Iowa National Guard's 2-34th BCT in Afghanistan. (A 3,000-word essay by the same author, titled "Marvin Cone Goes to War," is featured in the latest volume of "Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors" anthology series.The essay describes how artist Marvin Cone, then a private first class, came to design the Red Bull insignia.)

In one "FOB Haiku" poem, titled "From a Red Bull in Winter," Brown describes the Red Bull patch and the people it represents:
[…] The army wears its stories on our sleeves.
Every scrap is a battle, every stitch is a past.
We are canvas, leather, dust, and blood.

At airport gates and main street parades,
the right shoulder patch carries with it
Africa and Afghanistan, Italy and Iraq.

But you are more than these threads, these fragments, those bones:
You continue the march. You are the present, armed.
You are the “Attack!”

01 November 2017

New War Poetry: Eric Chandler's 'Hugging This Rock'

In a new collection of poetry about life and war as a pilot, parent, and outdoor sports enthusiast, Northeastern Minnesota author Eric “Shmo” Chandler delivers plenty in laughs and love—of family, of country, and of navigating one’s place in the world. Whether soaring at 40,000 feet, or carefully considering the flowers he encounters by the trail, his words are rich with insight and humor.

Published this week by Middle West Press LLC, "Hugging This Rock: Poems of Earth & Sky, Love & War" (116 pages, trade paperback) is now available in a $9.99 print edition, as well as a $5.99 e-book via Amazon.

A cross-country skier, marathon runner, and former F-16 fighter pilot, Chandler is also author of the 2013 collection of essays "Outside Duluth," and the 2014 military-themed novella "Down In It." His fiction, non-fiction, and award-winning poetry have appeared widely both on-line and in print. He blogs at: https://ericchandler.wordpress.com/

Chandler is a two-time winner of the Col. Darron L. Wright Memorial Writing Award administered by the on-line literary journal Line of Advance. He is a member of the Lake Superior Writers organization, the Outdoor Writers Association of America, and the Military Writers Guild.

A 1989 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Chandler retired after a 24-year military flying career with the U.S. Air Force and the Minnesota Air National Guard. He is a veteran with three deployments to Saudi Arabia for Operation Southern Watch; three deployments to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom; and one to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom. He flew over 3,000 hours and 145 combat sorties in the F-16.

Now a commercial airline pilot, Chandler lives in Duluth, Minnesota with his wife, two children, and a rescued dog named Leo.

Middle West Press LLC is a Johnston, Iowa-based editor and publisher of non-fiction, fiction, journalism, and poetry. As an independent micro-press, we publish from one to four titles annually. Our projects are often inspired by the people, places, and history of the American Midwest.