What is it like to be one of the citizen-soldiers summoned to duty in Iraq and Afghanistan? The events of 9/11 were a call to arms for many reservists, as shock, anger, and fear propelled large numbers to volunteer for the opportunity to serve their country in the Middle East. Even the most patriotic, however, had not expected that the wars would last so long or that the Army Reserve would supply so much of the manpower.
Using the soldiers' own voices, Deployed draws upon the life stories of members of an Army Reserve MP Company, who were called to extraordinary service after September 11. The book explores how and why they joined the Army Reserve, how they dealt with the seismic changes in their lives during and after deployment, the evolution of their relationships inside and outside their military unit, and their perspectives on the U.S. Army.
Musheno and Ross uncover five pathways that led these citizens to join the reserves, showing how basic needs and cultural idioms combined to stimulate enlistments. Whatever path led to enlistment, the authors find that citizen-soldiers fall into three distinct categories: adaptive reservists who adjust quickly to the huge changes in their lives abroad and at home, struggling reservists whose troubles are more a product of homegrown circumstances than experiences specific to serving in a war zone, and reservists who are dismissive of military life while they live it and oppose the war even as they fight it. Perhaps most important, Deployed challenges the prevailing stereotype of returning soldiers as war-damaged citizens.
Read "New Transfer Orders: An Update on the 893rd," by Susan M. Ross, following the 893rd's re-deployment during the Bush Administration's Surge in Iraq plan.
Jacket photograph: AP Photo/Hutchinson News, Travis Morisse.