Thursday, September 29, 2011

Review of "The Brotherhood of the Tower Rats" by Goodwin Turner

Like the author, I was a tower rat. I served with C 2/4 Infantry (Pershing) in Heilbronn, FRG in the mid to late '80s as an infantry tower rat. We were on a Pershing missile site. The author has done a tremendous job of capturing that experience. The remarkable detail in his description of his time at Miesau very vividly took me back to those days. I remember the bunkers, the towers, the SOG shack, the razor wire, the SAT, the BAF...all of it was almost identical to what we had. Details of precise duties such as the roles of the alert teams, shifts, and such varied slightly, but his overall experience as a tower rat is exactly what I experienced as a tower rat. It was amazing. It was an experience that was impossible to understand unless you lived it. The author has done his part to help people understand. He also gives one of the best descriptions of basic training that I've ever read. I particularly enjoyed how the author sometimes injects his thoughts into events with quite humorous results. He had an attitude, but so did I. I think I would've liked to meet the author. This author tells us the whole story...warts and all. He is extremely honest.

I can't vouch for the author's other duty stations or his experiences as an MP. I was an infantryman, so we did some duties as tower rats that the author didn't experience in his time there. He did some things we didn't because he was an MP like most tower rats. I can vouch that what he tells of his experience as a tower rat is all true. I experienced many of the same things including the loneliness, the antics, the disillusionment, the excessive drinking, the boredom, and the extreme brotherhood. It is so accurate that I recognize these people and these places, and I've never met them nor been there. I've just known people exactly like them in places just like these. I have no reason to doubt anything else he says because that is all one hundred percent true. I can vouch for that.

My only criticism is with the organization of the book. I read it easily because I was familiar with much of the material. Much of it sounded like me talking. It is arranged much like a diary, and the author sometimes jumps back and forth. I could see how it would be hard to follow. The author also gets some slight details such as the name of things a little off. I chalk that up to writing from memory. Overall, I enjoyed reading this book very much. It's a great story that was worth telling.

I easily give it five stars for material. I think there is definitely a great book here. If it was organized more traditionally with chapters and a little more organization, I'd say five stars. As is, I still give it a solid four. I recommend this book to anyone who would like to learn more about what it was like to serve overseas in the Cold War. Well done, Mr. Turner. Thank you for sharing your story, and thank you for your service. From a fellow tower rat, I salute you, brother.
The Brotherhood of the Tower Rats

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