Strike Hard and Expect No Mercy is the story of boots on the ground in Iraq, as seen through the eyes of a tank platoon leader. Baqubah, on the eve of the Surge, and Sadr City, during the spring uprising of 2008, saw some of the darkest hours of the war. A tough dragon, the M1A2 Abrams tank and its crews were often called to crack the toughest nuts on the battlefield, and victory, even survival, was not guaranteed. It is a gritty and visceral dive into the combat experience, flavored with the anguish of loss, the exhilaration of victories, the frustrations of defeats, and the humor required to survive. Along the way, the story shares rarely told insights into the duties and expectations of an Army junior officer.
“Riveting and insightful! Everyone who has served can identify with this gripping story.” – Lieutenant General (Retired) Buster Hagenbeck, 57th Superintendent of the United States Military Academy at West Point
“A primer for every junior military officer who is blessed to lead others in and out of combat. If you’re looking to learn about the complexities of small unit leadership, this book is well worth your time.” – Brigadier General Kevin Admiral, 52nd Commandant of the US Army Armor School
“Every American should read this book to understand what our young military leaders have done in the Middle East!” – Lieutenant General (Retired) Bill Lennox, 56th Superintendent of the United States Military Academy at West Point
“I felt like I was living it as I was reading it.” – Jerry Burton, Military Writers Society of America
“A must read for those who have never served our country in battle!” – Samuel G. Tooma, The SOOF
“A captivating and vivid firsthand perspective… brings the fog of war, the bonds of brotherhood, and the reality of the modern battlefield to life like no other. A must read!” – Colonel Scott Taylor, Former Commander of 1-68 Armor Battalion
“Immerses the reader into the emotion and intensity of combat.” – Colonel (Retired) Michael Pappal, Former Commander of 1-68 Armor Battalion
“Strike Hard and Expect No Mercy is a powerful story of dedication and courage.” – William Craun, Working the Kill Zone: An American Mercenary in Iraq
“Ranks up there with With the Old Breed, We Were Soldiers Once and Young, and Chesty.” – Nathan Yancer, Iraq War Veteran Tanker
“Great read!” – Harry Rubin, Traitor’s Revenge
“Peterson captures the anxiety, dread, and tension on the eve of battle in a seamless fashion and minces no words, vividly describing the harrowing circumstances in which the soldiers often found themselves.” Five Star Rating – Readers’ Favorite
I really thought that time would lessen the pain. I was wrong.
More than ten years have passed, and the anniversaries of particular brutal days have only become harder each year. Perhaps sharing what is buried in my chest will lift the load from the shoulders.
This is our story as seen from my eyes. While time has not eased many memories, many names and stories have eluded me as I write. Without copies of my sworn statements and daily journal, this narrative would not be possible. Even still, I have had to rely on others to help piece things together. It is my shame that I cannot honor everyone by name that deserves it. I was truly in the company of lions, men who were my brothers and my heroes.
I would like to thank General Fred Franks (Ret.) for mentoring me as a young officer and encouraging me to share my story through publishing. Thank you to Tony Farina for encouraging me to write in the first place. Thank you to John Koehler and the team for making this happen. Thank you to Hannah Woodlan and Kellie Emery for carefully polishing the story of my heroes into a worthy form. Thank you to my family for patiently tolerating me spending endless hours writing, editing, and at times brooding.
In loving memory of Mike Elledge and Chris Simpson: two great men who gave everything during my watch.
For my loving Sarah, Brynn, and Abby. You are my happy ending.
Get your copy of Strike Hard and Expect No Mercy locally in Longmont at Barbed Wire Books or Longmont Books (both downtown) or in Lafayette at The Read Queen. If you live in northern Colorado, please support your local businesses.
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Publication Date: 9/11/21
Hardcover ISBN: 978-164634385
Paperback ISBN: 978-1646634361
eBook ISBN: 978-1646634378