"SAT & BAF!" just received a terrific review from Lee Boyland of Military Writer's Society of America. I'm very proud of it, and it's quite fitting to post it on this eve of Veteran's Day. I couldn't have asked for a better reviewer.
"Young men, graduates of the Infantry School, arrive in Germany and are assigned to a special unit that guard's Pershing II nuclear missiles. They are given a high-pressure assignment that requires a secret security clearance with no preparation or special training for the job. Not what they expected.
Doug DePew tells it like it was, not something the average civilian can understand or relate to. You have to have been in the program to understand the pressure and responsibilities associated with nukes and guarding them. SAT & BAF! Memories of a Tower Rat is part of the "Cold War" story, and what it took to win. Unfortunately, the importance of the Cold War is being deleted from history books, along with much of what made America great.
For those not familiar with military terms, I suggest creating a glossary as you read. SAT and BAF, the reader discovers on page 56 mean Security Alert Team and Backup Alert Force. Guard towers were placed around the Pershing site and the men who manned them were "Tower Rats."
DePew's book is insightful, and gives the reader a peek into a corner of the secret world that protected the U.S. from the USSR. DePew and his buddies were hard drinking, brawling, fraulein-chasing, pranksters who, when duty called, seriously guarded the warheads and missiles from Soviet and peacenick attacks. Men who bonded and always had each others back. Men I would have been proud to have commanded, and I can speak from the experience of having had a couple of NCOs who were like DePew and his buddies.
I enjoyed the lieutenant and the password scene. I never forgot a password, but it brought back memories of a couple of men who did, and one who talked too much about them. I was very pleased to note that while the author and his buddies had numerous run-ins with the MPs, there was never a security breach or incident, and when all is said and done, that's all that matters.
The book contains descriptions of the author's travels through out Germany, Spain and Switzerland, along beer, wine and frauleins. I think DePew had a good time.
Having been a member of the nuclear fraternity, I appreciated DePews' story and will keep the book on my shelf."
SAT & BAF! Memories of a Tower Rat