Thursday, October 15, 2009

Black Hawk Down ORB Eassy

1st Quarter Outside Reading Book Review
Rob Embury
Black Hawk Down by Mark Bowden. Atlantic Monthly Press,1999.
Genre:Historical Nonfiction

123 U.S. Army Rangers, Delta Force and SEAL members commanded by Capt. Mike Steele, were dropped by helicopter deep into the capital city of Mogadishu to capture two top lieutenants of a Somali warlord. This lead to a large and drawn-out firefight between the Us forces and hundreds of Somali gunmen, leading to the destruction of two U.S. Black Hawk helicopters. The book focuses on the heroic efforts of various members of the US Forces to get to the downed black hawks. It focuses on Sgt. Eversmann, leading the Ranger unit Chalk Four to the first black hawk crash site and Warrant Officer Durant who was captured after being the only survivor of the second black hawk crash, as well as many of the others who were involved “Terrifyingly Real... Mark Bowden shoves you into the middle of the battle and has you fighting for your life.” said U.S. Army Major David Stockwell.

Mark Bowden does an amazing job of describing the action packed events of October the 3rd 1993. He uses 1st person testimonials from both US and Somali forces to piece together the battle. His writing style reminds me of those in books like We were soldiers, Full metal jacket and Saving Private Ryan although the reality of this book adds to the story that much more. Bowden also uses as many descriptive words that each page could possibly hold. After seeing the movie I didn't think the book could be nearly as good but in my opinion the book is much better because of the historical accuracy and descriptive language Bowden uses.

“Yurek shot one man in a doorway just 10 feet away. The man had stepped out and taken aim. He was a bushy-haired, dusty man with baggy brown pants. He didn't shoot instantly, and that's what killed him. Yurek's eyes met his for an instant as he pulled the trigger. The Somali pitched forward without getting off a shot.
It struck Yurek how similar killing a man was to shooting targets in training. In practice, targets would pop out unexpectedly. The rules were to shoot at blue triangles, but to hold fire if a green square appeared. Now, in actual battle, he had seen a target, identified it, and taken it out. He was grateful for all the tedious hours of training. “

This was the first book by Mark Bowden that I have read but it definitely will not be the last. His descriptive language and historical accuracy gives his books a quality that not many others can replicate. That is why I will seek out another Bowden book for my second quarter ORB.

Turkey Huntin'

These days it seems that people are forgetting what they really value. People are spending millions on houses they use for a few weeks a year. People are spending less and less time together almost to the point where they don’t even eat a dinner together each night. It seems people have mixed up their values. Instead of spending millions on houses they could spend $50.00 to go out and eat as a family. Nowadays people just need to stop and realize what is really important.

My airsoft gun is probably one of the coolest things I have ever gotten. At 380 fps with a .20 gram bb it can rip through a soda can at 20 yards. I’ve also used its 20 RPS firing rate as a bb hose to lay down suppressing fire for my teammates and myself. The gun isn’t the best money can buy be for me it’s great. It cost me upwards of $300.00 to maintain and upgrade over the last 6 months. It’s and Echo 1 M16A3 with a tightbore barrel and G&P metal hop up unit to keep it shooting straight out to 200+ feet.

In May of 2009 a close friend bought a new airsoft gun after not playing for a few years. This got me re interested in a sport that I thought was “dead” to my friends and I. After hours of research I finally found the gun that I wanted that was in a reasonable price range. The size was good, it had a great rate of fire and the FPS was upwards of 415 FPS, just right for a novice like me. I begged my parents to give me a way to earn the $200.00 it would cost to purchase the gun and after nearly a week I finally found one. I had to strip the paint off of my entire house and then repaint it. Well after 3 weeks of hard work it was done and the order was sent out to for my newest prized possession. After the longest week of my life I heard the door bell ring and I ran to it to find the UPS guy standing in his brown shirt holding a massive package. I ran into my bedroom with the 4 foot long box and ripped it to shreds. Inside I found 2 Hi-cappa magazines, one 9.6 volt battery, 15,000 .20 gram bb’s and last but certainly not least my M16.

After nearly 4 hours of waiting in my room I finally hear the sound I’ve been waiting for, the chirp of my SMART Charger telling me my battery is ready to go. I pop that bad boy into my gun along with my fully loaded 350 round hicap and I’m out the door. First up I set up paper targets at 50’, 100’ and 150’. I was excited to find that at 150 feet my bb’s ripped through the paper like, well a bullet through glass. After spending nearly 2,000 bb’s I went inside to find out how fast it shot and how many rounds per second I could spray down range at an unsuspecting target. Using an audio program I determined that my beast of a gun shot at nearly 20 rounds per second. I did some calculations in my head to find I could empty my whole 350 round mag in 17.5 seconds! I knew that this was going to be the most fun summer I’ve ever had.

I value my airsoft gun because of all the hard work I put in to get it. It wasn’t handed to me and I certainly wouldn’t waste 3 weeks of my time for something I expected to break in a few weeks. Because of all of the hard work I had to do to get my gun I feel as though its actual price could be $500.00 or more.

Every Thanksgiving at 7:30 am my grandparents’ house becomes a beehive of activity wit nearly 200 people buzzing in and out, getting food or just watching the game on TV. My family has a tradition where everyone in our immediate family and the immediate family and so on and so forth gathers in my grandparents’ neighborhood in Chicopee. The small residential street they live on has only 3 houses which are all play a role in the madness of the normal Thanksgiving Day.

Anyone can come to this crazy event but for a cost. The cost is not money or anything of real value but it just one dish of food. People bring venison, pork roasts, clams lobster, elf, bear, even squirrel one year. It doesn't matter to my family what you bring as long as it's edible and there is enough for everyone to sample. After the massive feast we all go across the street to “Hank's Field” to play some football. In years past we've done kids versus adults, one side of the family versus the other or just randomly picked teams but no matter it's still always fun and everyone get a laugh out of someone falling in mud.

As you can tell I value my airsoft gun and my thanksgiving memories in different and unique ways. I lost my Airsoft because it was expensive and it took many hours of hard, hot labor. On the other hand I love my Thanksgiving memories because they are my own and I get to spend time with many family members other people way not even know. To me I value thanksgiving a little more than my gun solely because of how different and exciting it is.