MWSA Review of TEAR IN THE DESERT

The following is a Military Writers Society of America book review. Please pass on the good news. I am a member of MWSA and they seem really great. Hope your Easter was great.
Love, joy, peace,
Ron Moses

Navy Chaplain Father Ron Moses Camarda reflects upon his active duty in Fallujah, at the heart of the battle for the city in 2004. As a Catholic Priest in Florida at age forty-four, the author is almost retired as a reserve chaplain with twenty years of non-war assignments, when a stunning order changes everything. Called to active duty and assigned to Bravo Surgical Company at Camp Fallujah with our Marines, Camarda recounts the horrific carnage faced and his own frailties, while ministering to casualties. He comforts in the most hideous settings; 81 die before him as another 1500 are physically wounded. While standing in blood and with guts exposed, Camarda serves the spirit of the dying and critically wounded, using impromptu prayer and ceremony. The author shares his accounts of providing last rites in the “potato factory” morgue and holding Mass inside the heart of the demolished city. Tattoo’s and pocketed paper notes shed light on the spiritual desires of the fallen and connections are made with families of the deceased. These details provide the reader an even deeper insight into the challenges faced by those who serve and pay the ultimate price. Much of the book is set around the November 2004 offensive by the First Marine Expeditionary Force in their effort to regain the city from insurgents in the largest urban assault since the Korean War. I admire how Chaplain Camarda exposes his own emotions and salute his courage. He uses scripture, journal entries, and prayers to bring into focus how men pass into eternity after war. I recommend the book for anyone who has interest in a real-world battle of unreal proportions.

Review by Hodge Wood, MWSA Reviewer (February 2010

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