This Page Intentionally Left Blank FM 101 – Knuckleheads by Raymond Jones
Genre: Military Humor/Satire
Rating: **** Four Stars
Veteran Author: Yes, Still Active Duty, Army
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“Soldiers – A bunch of folks think they know one. Only a Soldier can truly know a Soldier. A Soldier is always the hero of his own story. I have never heard a Soldier telling a story say, ‘Hey I’m the knucklehead who did…’ This is a collection of stories from the first half of my 25 year career serving with the United States Army. I started out as a Private in basic training in 1989 and will end up retiring as a Major in 2014.
My career has spanned four different decades and I have seen the Army “cycle” at least three times. Along the way, I ran into thousands of folks some good, some not so good. All the stories contained with the confines of this book are at least partly true. By ‘partly true’ I mean, the stories are grounded in fact…with a little country boy embellishment added for flavor. The intent of this book is for pure entertainment value. It is not intended to embarrass or humiliate anyone. This is my-story not history. This book is basically memoirs of my time in the military – stretched a bit (or a lot in some cases). I took the basis of truth and added a little country boy charm. The book is fiction as my-story, in my opinion, is more interesting than history.”
“This is the original FM (Field Manual) on Knuckleheads. It contains more than forty-five different knee slapping stories about my life in the army as an enlisted soldier, an ROTC cadet, and an officer through my first deployment to Iraq in 2003. In my twenty-five years of military service, I ran into all sorts of characters from all over the world and all walks of life. I feel honored to have known most of the people I met. So, what we have here is “mystory,” not history. The intent is to entertain, educate (loosely), or illuminate folks. I hope you enjoy my view of life! “
My Two Cents:
I expected just a random collection of Army jokes, but was surprised to find a lot more. This is a fairly serious study of leadership in general. About how corrosive and counterproductive poor managers are to any organization, but how a few true leaders can turn the tide.
The whole tale is much more serious and complicated than, I think, even the author intended. And not in a grim way. The focus isn’t on combat, but on “Big Army,” and those soldiers trying to survive it. Or, as is too often the case, those thriving in that senseless environment!
While civilians might only snicker at the humor, vets and active duty folk will slap their knee laughing! All in all, a good read and I hope part of a continuing series.