Book Feature: CONUS Battle Drills (Louis Fernandez)

I stumbled across this little gem while surfing the competition.  Of course, being an author isn’t about competition – it’s actually quite the opposite – since someone who reads books similar to mine is my target reader!  CONUS Battle Drills goes a step farther, in that the subject is very personal to me.  What do service members do upon returning from the most intense experience of their lives?  How do we make the transition from planning convoy operations or performing life-saving procedures to paying the electric bill on time and driving a forklift at Home Depot?  How to we go from a place where everything matters, back ‘home,’ where nothing seems to.  And how do we face that alone?

Fernandez, a fellow Army officer turned author, attempts to answer that in CONUS Battle Drills:  Here’s an excerpt he provided:

How does one go from this...
                    How does one go from this…
...to this?
…to this?

I came out of the MWR and started towards my tent.  We had only been in country for a few days, so I was still getting used to the Afghan sun, carrying my rifle everywhere, and dealing with the boredom that is every waking minute before you actually start running missions.  

I was just outside my tent when I heard a distinct whooshing sound approaching me.  I looked up and watched in awe as a rocket flew over my head and landed in a loud explosion about 1000 meters away.  A second rocket followed behind quickly and I stood there like a child witnessing Disney fireworks for the first time, dumbfounded, mouth wide open, standing still.  If I ever epitomized “cherry LT” it was this exact moment.

My company commander flew out of his tent with his body armor on, and taking one look at me yelled, “HEY JACKASS!  GET YOUR F—–G BODY ARMOR ON AND GET IN THE BUNKER!”  

I snapped out of it.  The gravity of the situation hit me as a third rocket landed closer than the previous two and the concussion of the blast sent a wave of hot air and sand in my direction.  In a flash I had my gear in tow and was putting my armor on as I dove into the bunker before a fourth blast landed somewhere behind me.

As I lay in the pile of gravel in the crowded bunker, my commander and I locked eyes.  He was sitting up against the wall.  I smiled, “So does that mean I get a CIB now?”  I could tell he wanted to laugh at how ridiculous I looked, but he held it back and answered curtly, “No.”

How many of you were just like that when you got out?

You weren’t ready for the challenges or maybe you didn’t even know what to expect.  Maybe you didn’t know where you wanted to live or what the tradeoffs were with making that decision.  How many of you didn’t have a job lined up or didn’t even know what you wanted to do?

How many of you found the transition to be incredibly stressful?  Your marriage suffered, you got short tempered with everyone and began to isolate yourself.

How many of you regretted your decision?  You wished you could go back, even though you were ready, but now, you just don’t have a place.

I wrote CONUS Battle Drills for you.  I wrote it because I can’t stand by as my brothers who bled with me are unemployed or underemployed.  I wrote it because I learned some hard lessons about finances and I don’t want others to struggle the same way.  I wrote it because I want others to have the deeply fulfilling marriages that God intended for us.  I wrote it because our children, who already see us as heroes, deserve to have the best version of us there is.  I wrote it because too many of us don’t know how to fight the demons that ravage our minds and succumb, ending it all and passing on the hurt to someone else.

I wrote CONUS Battle Drills because when asked “what are you doing about it?” I was tired of not having an answer.

I sincerely believe this project can make a difference.  If you are getting out, then this will help you prepare.  If you have already gotten out, maybe you can use this book to help shore up your finances, relationships, and employment.  If someone you love is a combat veteran, I will open a door into our minds and maybe you can learn what he’s going through.

So join me! Get the book and join our conversation at www.conusbattledrills.com or CONUS Battle Drills on Facebook.  It’s time every one of us does something to make a difference; yeah, that includes you too buddy…

As a deployed reservist, I can tell you that I had a life before I deployed, and I still felt this way coming back.  It was like nothing that used to make sense still did.
Check out Fernandez’ book – and be kind enough to leave him a review so others will be encouraged to read it as well.
You’ll find it on Amazon here.
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