Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Lieutenant Don't Know

The Lieutenant Don't Know: One Marine's Story Of

Warfare And Combat Logistics In Afghanistan

By Jeff Clement

Published in the UK & USA by Casemate Publishers,

 March 7th, 2014

Although I have read a few accounts of modern-day warfare and the challenges soldiers face in conflict, for some reason it had never occurred to me to wonder just how it was that they had equipment and supplies no matter where they were in the sphere of conflict.  Combat Logistics was not a term I had even heard of, let alone knew anything about, until I read this absorbing book.

Jeff Clement joined the US Marines and became a logistician, making sure that the chain of supply remained fully functioning and intact so that all necessary equipment and supplies were in the right place at the right time. His extensive training in the USA was to prove vital for his work when he had to ensure the supply of items for the use of both American and British troops in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan.

The Afghan terrain was rugged, brutal and naturally dangerous; added to this was the determination of hostile forces to do everything in their power to destroy or at least impede the progress of supply convoys. No matter how carefully they planned their convoys, checked for explosive devices and hazards, each convoy was a risky undertaking and there were many confrontations and injuries. And still the front-line troops needed their supplies, no matter what.

 It was an essential, stressful, difficult and  frustrating role, but one without which no battles could ever be fought.Those providing Combat Logistics required initiative, sound common sense, minute attention to detail, the habit of meticulous planning, a huge amount of background knowledge about the items needed and used by the troops and a phenomenal ability to think outside the box; they had to be prepared for anything and everything and to be surprised by nothing.

This is a remarkable look at the unsung heroes who provide the backup and support for the front-line troops, and whose work is often equally dangerous. Thoroughly enjoyable.

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