Writer's Guide to Government Information

Resources to inject real life detail into your fiction

U.S. Marines in Afghanistan, 2001-2002: From the Sea

U.S. Marines in Afghanistan, 2001-2002: From the Sea. Col Nathan S. Lowrey, USMCR. 2011. 410 pp.

(Paper: http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/778362271) – Links to online copies

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What were some of the Marine operations in Jalalabad?
  • How did the Navy treat American and Afghani wounded in the early phases of the campaign in Afghanistan?
  • How was al-Qaeda officially viewed by the US prior to 2001?
  • How were seized airfields maintained in the early phases of the war?
  • Description:

From the foreward:

This monograph is more than the story of Marine expeditionary operations in Afghanistan. It describes who our nation’s enemies are; how America became involved in the Global War on Terrorism; and how the Marine Corps struggled to acquire a major role in Operation Enduring Freedom, as well as the actions of Marines and sailors who helped prosecute the air and ground campaigns against Taliban and al-Qaeda forces.

The work is arranged chronologically, with some chapters named after operations or areas of special interest. For example, Chapter 12 is titled Tora Bora (p. 221 of PDF file) and contains analysis, criticism and defense of the way the search for Osama bin Laden was handled. Interestingly, while this chapter carries maps of the area, there are no photos of the caves area.

There are a large number of color photos in this book and the index is of some use in locating them. Between the narrative text and the index are five appendices. While all of them look useful to writers, two stand out:

  • Appendix D: Chronology of events
  • Appendix E: Unit awards and messages

The chronology of events is interesting not only as a useful scaffold for stories set during the war, but because it starts in 1992 when “Al-Qaeda affiliates target U.S. Marines during hotel bombing in Aden, Yemen.”

The Unit awards and messages are communications from the Secretary of the Navy and other high ranking officials and set the tone for the justification of the war and how each of the commended units contributed to the mission. These might make useful templates for similar communications in fictitious wars here and on other worlds.

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