18 August 2020

'Red Bull' Featured in 'True War Stories' Anthology

Fifteen captivating tales of humor, horror, and other wartime experiences are presented in the forthcoming 250-page comics anthology "True War Stories." The 250-page hardcover, co-edited by Alex de Campi and Iraq War veteran Khai Krumbhaar, will be published by Z2 Comics in November 2020. However, a 30-day Kickstarter campaign launches today, Tues., Aug. 18, 2020. Through the crowd-funding effort, readers may preview and pre-order the book.

One of the featured "True War Stories" is related to the 2010-2011 deployment of the Iowa National Guard's 2nd Brigade Combat Team (B.C.T.), 34th Infantry "Red Bull" Division.

Written by former Iowa National Guard citizen-soldier Randy Brown, "In the Valley of Lions" originally appeared as an essay in Volume 2 of "Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors." As "Charlie Sherpa," Brown writes about citizen-soldier culture at the Red Bull Rising blog; about modern war poetry at FOBhaiku.com, and about military writing at The Aiming Circle. He also edited a 2015 collection of U.S. Army public affairs journalism about the Iowa brigade's deployment, "Reporting for Duty: U.S. Citizen-Soldier Journalism from the Afghan Surge, 2010-2011."

"As far as I can tell, the last time the 'Red Bull' unit patch showed up in a comic book was in 'Combat Kelly' No. 21, published in 1954," says Brown. "Unlike that story, however, this 'Red Bull' tale is the non-fiction—the real deal. I hope it adequately portrays some of the strange context and significant sacrifices our citizen-soldier neighbors made for the United States, for the people of Panjshir Province, and for the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA).'"

Art on the 13-page comics story "In the Valley of Lions" is by Ryan Howe. Colors are by Kelly Fitzpatrick.

Brown's original essay contrasts a 2-day U.S. Department of State-sponsored "tourism conference" held in Pansjhir Province in June 2011, with a July 2011 insider attack that resulted in the deaths of Sgt. 1st Class Terryl Pasker, 39, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and civilian law enforcement advisor Paul Protzenko, 46, of Enfield, Mass. Also injured in the attack was Master Sgt. Todd Eipperle, 46, of Marshalltown, Iowa. Eipperle was recognized for his response to the attack.

Later in 2011, the Red Bull Rising blog posted additional information about the attack here.

Published annually published by Southeast Missouri State University Press, Cape Girardeau, Mo., the "Proud to Be" series is an anthology of military non-fiction, fiction, poetry, photography, and more. For a Red Bull Rising review of the 2013 volume in which "In the Valley of Lions" first appeared, click here.

For more information about "True War Stories," and to pre-order one or more copies—including editions autographed by the co-editors—visit the Kickstarter campaign here.

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