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Red Platoon: A True Story of American Valor

4.57  ·  Rating details ·  4,566 ratings  ·  439 reviews
The only comprehensive, firsthand account of the thirteen hour firefight at the Battle of Keating by Medal of Honor recipient Clinton Romesha, for readers of Black Hawk Down by Mark Bowden and Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell
"'It doesn't get better.' To us, that phrase nailed one of the essential truths, maybe even the essential truth, about being stuck at an outpost wh
Hardcover, 378 pages
Published May 3rd 2016 by Dutton
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Aug 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
After back-to-back tours of duty often demanded of a soldier, his/her next mission may not get better, cushier or less dangerous, which fatally was the case for the "Black Knight Troop, a mechanized armor unit whose sixty-five men were spread across three platoons: Red, White, and Blue" deployed with the task of dismantling Combat Outpost Keating, the most remote American camp in Afghanistan.

 photo image_zpscptatkri.jpeg
Inside Red Platoon Barracks

"IT DOESN'T GET BETTER!"- the unnerving mantra etched in wood at COP Keatin
Jerry Cook
May 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: military
I grew up with Clint and we were best friends for the better part of 18 years. When I found out he was putting this book together I knew I would read it as soon as I got my hands on it, and that I would give it a high rating because of the bias created by our friendship. I have to say though, now that I've completed Red Platoon, I would have given any author of this exceptional book 5 stars.

It reads like an action movie, and then you stop and think "oh wait, this really happened." He does a gre
Red Platoon is easily the best first hand account of a military action that I have read. There is a rare feel of honesty and nobility in Romesha's story and I think within the telling. The reader gets a true sense of what it was like to be a soldier at an obscure outpost in Afghanistan.

Keating was an outpost in an isolated area in the Nuristan province in Afghanistan near the Urmul village. Red Platoon was one of 3 platoons sent to the outpost. Located in an area that was almost tactically indef
Sep 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
It doesn't get better


Why do we keep making decisions like this? I understand the idea behind a line of outposts to disrupt the enemy's sphere of control but how do you put an outpost here


"It doesn't get better."
To us, that phrase nailed one of the essential truths, maybe even the essential truth, about being stuck at an outpost whose strategic and tactical vulnerabilities were so glaringly obvious to every soldier who had ever set foot in that place that the name itself-Keating-has become a
Feb 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
Received an Advanced Reader's Copy from Goodreads Give Away program.

For me this was a very emotional read. The book was very detailed, gave an excellent chronology of the events as well as introducing the reader to many of the individuals involved. The book shows a great detail of research was involved in compiling the book.

In ways it read like a novel, but then the reader realizes that this is real, very real, and it really did happen. War (and we are at war) is extremely brutal. It gave me a g
Aug 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I just finished Red Platoon by MOH winner Clinton Romesha. With the recent announcement of the build-up in Afghanistan, this is a very timely read. I believe that military history buffs as well as people interested in current events will devour this narrative.

Red Platoon is about the defense of a command outpost (COP) called Keating in Nuristan Afghanistan in October of 2009. The COP was in the middle of a valley and it was indefensible due to plunging fire from the surrounding ridges. The base
Maddy Newquist
May 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I read this book first because it was my job, and then I read it again because it blew my mind. It's not the story of Navy SEALS or highly trained soldiers; it's about young people who are barely old enough to vote or drink, or are in the Army because it was their only option for a career, and who end up facing the Taliban for a 14-hour firefight. It doesn't get political, it just gets compassionate.
May 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: re-read, favorites
Reread (x4) Reading Rush: I feel myself coming back to this book about every 1.5-2 years because this is a book I can never stop thinking about. It has imprinted on me in a way that will never fade. This book leaves the ego, arrogance, and USA yeehaw out and brings us a real, raw, and painful account of the Battle of Keating. One thing I love is while reading there are pictures of the men he introduces you too and even after the introduction it feels as though you know them yourself. The picture ...more
May 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Difficult read. Unbelievable that this Keating was set up to defend in its location in the first place. It seems the incompetent directions are abounding. And not only in how we perceive and name.

In company language, some of the conversations are sometimes hard for me to grasp within their complete context, but nevertheless this writer has above average ability to detail. And to achieve a living witness testimony that is accurate but at the same time well written.

You get to know all these soldi
Jan 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing

This account of the Battle for COP Keating was truly incredible.

Clinton Romesha had the distinct challenge of telling the story of a battle that was pure chaos coherently and in a way that captivated the reader.

I was blown away by the humility with which this Medal of Honor recipient told the story. He brought each of his characters to life without even giving himself an introduction. Even now I know everything about each of the members of red platoon but very little about Ro himself.

His wri
Jun 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I am a fan of military books. They are probably the number one type of nonfiction book that I read. Most of the books however have been about the past wars. Red Platoon is the most recent book I have read in a while focusing on a more current war. At first I was not into this book, which disappointed me due to the subject matter. Yet, because of this subject matter I tried to stick with the book. The second time I opened up this book it was like I was reading a different book, I was more focused ...more
Jun 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was, quite simply, an incredible read. Romesha provides a peek into what war really means - who chooses to stand for our country - what it really means to defend America and its interests. Aside from the simple fact that this is a compelling story, Romesha provided incredible moment-by-moment detail. The book was compelling, beautifully written, factual without being overly dramatic - which made those moment of tragedy stand out that much more.
In a sea of literature about teenage angst and
Roger Feenstra
Jun 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
When we hear about the war in Afghanistan on the news, we get a sanitized version. In reality it is exhausting, dirty, and bloody. The men of Red Platoon give us a picture of real men; scared but brave in the face of danger--brothers in battle, protecting each other and encouraging each other in the midst of chaos.

Red Platoon is a book difficult to put down. The author, who was one of the platoon leaders, was on the ground during the fierce battle at COP Keating in Afghanistan. It is a riveting
May 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Stunning book! Review to come...6 stars!
Jun 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, nonfiction
I typically don't read modern war narratives - in recent years, most of the ones I've encountered have felt like poorly-written cash grabs. But Red Platoon is different. Author (and Medal of Honor recipient) Clinton Romesha is an incredible writer.

And his story is absolutely ferocious.

Red Platoon recounts the bloody 12-hour defense of Outpost Keating - a small, under-resourced American base in the middle of the Afghani mountains. Romesha eschews the requisite "good ole boy" autobiography sectio
Jun 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
COP Keating was the most remote and poorly sited of the American outposts in Nuristan Province in Eastern Afghanistan. Its placement tells a lot about the direction of the war in Afghanistan. It was surrounded and commanded by near-vertical hills that reached a thousand feet above it. Taliban forces had perfect vision of the base, could make probes against it and gauge American responses, and could shoot straight down into the camp. Keating was defended by a strike force composed of three platoo ...more
Jan 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
I don't normally read this particular sub-genre of narrative non-fiction. I chose it from a friend's bookshelf for a reading challenge, and I really enjoyed it. Red Platoon: A True Story of American Valor is a compelling minute-by-minute retelling of the Battle of Keating, that took place during the Afghan War, October 3, 2009. Basically, a "battle narrative," the book is thorough and unflinching. The author, Clinton Romesha, is a Medal of War recipient and a masterful storyteller. ...more
Jun 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
War is not pretty and this book gives you all the ugly parts that our military deal with. A camp placed in a vulnerable spot, an enemy with no moral boundaries and our soldiers hands tied by the rules of engagement. How can you fight against those odds?
It was a valiant 14 hour battle where they gave their all, some gave the ultimate price. If we are not in war to win but only maintain then don't send our boys to die under those odds .
Carol Storm
Sep 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Along with OUTLAW PLATOON by Sean Parnell and LONE SURVIVOR by Marcus Luttrell, this is the best book I have ever read about the Afghan War.

Clinton Romesha won the Medal of Honor for helping his platoon retake their camp after it was nearly overrun by a vastly superior force of Taliban fighters. What makes this book so incredible is the way that the narrator introduces virtually every single member of his platoon before the battle starts, and the way he makes the reader understand that they wer
Wesley Roth
Jun 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"In war, you play for keeps--and because of that, there are no second chances and no do-overs. The calculus of combat, at its most brutal essence, is binary: you either overcome the hurdles that are flung in front of you and you figure out a way to make things happen, or you don't. Its a zero-sum, win-or-lose game with no middle ground--and no points for trying hard" (P. 324). This statement sums up war from former Staff Sgt Clinton Romesha, who has written a military biography for the ages and ...more
Sam Reaves
Jun 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
In 2009 a small American army outpost in Afghanistan was nearly overrun by a massive Taliban attack, finally staving off defeat after an all-day battle that turned on artillery and air support from distant bases. This is a first-person account of that fight by an infantryman who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his part in it.
No ghostwriter is credited, so presumably Clinton Romesha wrote it all himself, in which case it's an impressive job. It's pretty well written (except for a few annoying
Jun 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is a minute-by-minute description of the battle for Combat Outpost (COP) Keating in Afghanistan on October 3, 2009. It is told from the perspective of Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha of Red Platoon of the 4th Infantry Division of the US Army. Eight men were lost in this intense firefight when 300-400 Taliban, Al Qaida and foreign fighters attacked and overran the small base in a valley of Eastern Afghanistan near the Pakistan border. The author was there. He was a participant. In fact, he w ...more
J. Gibson
Jan 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Few books offer a closer look into the everyday valor demonstrated by our soldiers overseas, choosing to fight against all odds for one another often in situations they were unable to control. COP Keating exemplifies poor foreign policy or military decision making that ultimately cost human lives who made the most of the mission they were assigned. This account of the final battle at Keating captures the horror of war and the valor of its combatants as well as demonstrating how capable our enemi ...more
May 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Note that in a 5 star rating system 3 is above average. This is an exciting read regarding the defense of a nearly defenseless outpost. Possibly the reason I didn't give it a 4(a pretty rare rating for me) because of the subject matter. It is frustrating to read of young men giving their lives because of the incompetence of superior officers. I cannot imagine the courage and thought discipline it takes to carry out these kind of missions. It is in the vein of Lone Survivor. Nor can I imagine the ...more
David Dalton
Aug 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Written by a soldier who was there, on the ground.

Very moving story. I am so proud of these soldiers. To go thru that hell and to fight against those odds took courage and valor indeed. My time in Desert Storm was nothing compared to what those soldiers had to face. Well written. More in-depth as to what actually happened on the ground then "The Outpost" (which I enjoyed reading as well).
Charles J
Dec 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Americans have always liked fighting stories: autobiographical and third person, fictional and non-fictional. From dime novels about outlaws and Indians to, more recently, war movies, Americans have vicariously enjoyed American combat, and American successes in combat. There are even meta fighting stories: an organizing frame of Clint Eastwood’s movie "Unforgiven" is a biographer trailing Eastwood’s character to write a dime novel. As far as the recent Afghanistan and Iraq wars, early movies (i. ...more
Really good read, very much focused on the battle and not so much on the lives of the soldiers.
Russell Atkinson
Aug 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This pulse-pounding first-hand account of heavy combat in Afghanistan by a Medal of Honor winner kept me on the edge of my seat the whole way through. The army base, called Keating, was a nightmare ready to happen from the moment it was built, and that nightmare came true. Sitting in a hollow surrounded by steep mountains on all sides and with no viable supply lines, it was impossible to defend. This fact was realized fairly quickly and the base was in the process of being shut down and evacuate ...more
Aug 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Red Platoon is a visceral, heroic, tragic, gritty, riveting, and true first-hand account of the Battle of Keating, told by Clinton Romesha, who spearheaded both the defense of the outpost and the counter-attack that drove the Taliban back beyond the wire, and received the Medal of Honor for his actions.
I felt honored to read this story. Amazing. One of the best books I have ever read.
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Those interested in military heroism.
Recommended to John by: Found it on the "new book" library shelf

(a sign next to a door at the 335th Fighter Squadron at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan).

This is a Real Deal book.
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