"This [book] should be brought to the attention of a wide public....These are not typical lieutenants. First of all, typical lieutenants don't write memoirs. Those that try, don't write memoirs this good. If I were king, I would have every young man or woman who aspires to a commission read it." --Richard M. Swain, PhD, Colonel, U.S. Army (Retired)
"A fast moving, very human account of preparing for and fighting in modern ground combat. These five great young Army leaders caught the attention of this old Vietnam-era combat veteran and their stories kept me riveted to the book from start to finish. By far, the best book of its kind in more than a generation."--Colonel William J. Taylor, Jr., U.S. Army (Retired), Sr. Vice President, International Security Affairs, Center for Strategic and International Studies
"We've heard about the Gulf War from the generals who commanded there, and from some of the armchair commanders as well. But here is the war as seen by five young lieutenants commanding tank and mech infantry platoons....Alex Vernon and his fellow platoon leaders pull no punches in telling it like the saw it: teh good, the bad and the incompetent. They share their fears and doubts in the months leading up to combat; the sadness that comes when you see the bodies of those you have killed with your guns only moments before; the horror of fratricide, the killing of one's own, in the confusion of a fast-paced armor battlefield. This book is highly recommended."--Joseph L. Galloway, senior writer, U.S. News & World Report
The Eyes of Orion is a highly personal account of the day-to-day experiences of five platoon leaders who served in the same tank battalion in the 24th Infantry Division during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. In August 1990 they deployed to Saudi Arabia for Operation Desert Shield with one of the first armored units to arrive after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. In Desert Storm, these lieutenants led their platoons in the 24th Division's maneuver around Kuwait to cut off retreating Iraqi forces. This maneuver covered more ground in less time than any other in military history.
While professional soldiers and historians will undoubtedly glean much from this narrative, the heart of the account concerns the experiences of the five young lieutenants as they prepared for and served in combat—from their deployment to Saudi Arabia through their six months in the desert training for war, their four days in combat and several weeks of occupation in Iraq, and finally their homecoming. The authors treat their combat experience in Saudi and Kuwait from the perspective of junior officers, all in their twenties and just out of college (four are graduates of West Point and one received his commission through an ROTC program), who served on the front line—facing physical, personal, moral, and leadership challenges.
▪ Military Heritage: “the single best book on the Persian Gulf War” (Oct 2000)
▪ Army Historical Foundation Distinguished Book Award
▪ Taught at Roanoke College (VA)