“The most terrible job in warfare is to be a second lieutenant leading a platoon when you are on the battlefield.”
– Dwight D. Eisenhower
A great Sergeant would probably make a poor Lieutenant. That’s not a statement everyone would like but that’s probably as true as it gets. I have had Sergeants who, once I gave the orders, got everything done. Then I’ve had great Sergeants who got most everything that I wanted done before I had a chance to tell them to do it! Officer Candidate School is there for a purpose. No matter how good or great a Sergeant you have been, you have to learn what it means to act, think and lead like a commissioned officer.
That’s what Ryk Lysander is finding out. He’s having trouble disassociating himself from being a Sergeant and learning how to use his Sergeants. It’s a tough lesson to learn. Not everyone that goes to OCS makes it through and thank goodness for that. You’ve got to learn not to do everything yourself or you and your soldiers or Marines will die.
I believe Ryk got some slack cut for his already proven track record as a battle hardened veteran. He was also given some very, very good advice pointed directly at his problem, trying to do too much and not using the people around him.
But all this training doesn’t do must to prepare you for real life battle. In garrison, you get to know your men. You train them for the tasks you think you’ll have to accomplish under fire but you just don’t know for sure what it’s really going to be like until you get there.
One of the first mistakes, this new 2nd Lieutenant makes is to agree to take on his Brother-in-Law (Joshua) as his Platoon Sergeant. In absolute peace time that might be OK, but normally, you never want a relation under your command. Ryk soon finds out why.
Newly minted Lt. Ryk Lysander is given his first mission and that’s re-take a factory control center that is in dispute between two different corporations. He does this without much trouble although he does loose a few Marines in the encounter. That does strike him a little hard but with everything else going on, he doesn’t dwell on it.
Their next mission comes after an emergency recall. While relaxing with his wife, Brother-in-Law and his wife, they get the order to immediately report to base. Once at the base, they are told to get their shit together because they are deploying immediately. Seems that a planet name G.K. Nutrition Six has been occupied by teddy bears, aliens that stand about 6 feet tall have fur all over and carry weapons that seem to be pretty lethal.
Lysander’s platoon is tasked with securing some civilians who have gone deep into a mine. Once he gets there, he finds out that the Capys (the alien teddy bears), are converging on his position and he needs to get the civilians out to an LZ for airlift.
He finally gets everything organized using his Sergeants as he should. Once the group are out of the mine and heading down a trail towards the LZ, the Capys begin showing up. These guys don’t hurry, they just keep coming. Lysander finds out that his weapons are for some reason ineffective against the Capys. They have some kind of force field that stops high velocity rounds.
Now in order to get to the LZ, Lt. Lysander sees the need to establish a rear guard to prevent the Capys from overrunning the LZ. He has to choose who among his platoon should stay back and most likely die. They don’t pay anyone enough money to make this kind of decision but he’s in command so he must do what he must. His Platoon Sergeant says he will stay since he can best direct the other members of the platoon in their delaying action. Lysander has already given their most powerful weapon to one of his troops and he tells him he must stay also.
As expected, the delaying team engage the Capys and slow them down just enough for all the civilians to get aboard the lift ships and head out. The Lt. Lysander has been hit and his entire left side is inoperative. Seems like the Capys weapons deadens or kills nerve endings in human bodies.
So Lysander is now recuperating in the hospital. It might take a year for him to fully recover. As he just wakes up, his wife is staring at him and she asks, “Did you order my brother to say back?”
Lysander says, “Yes!”
She then calls him a bastard and stomps out of the room. Real loving wife she is.
For the rest of the book, we find Lysander trying to decide if he wants to do this any longer. He’s not sure he likes having the lives of other men in his hands. But, he goes to see his Captain friend who happens to be in Special Ops and gets offered a chance to become a Marine Recon member who operate in two-man teams and rarely try to get into fire fights.
Read the rest of the book. I think you’ll see the Ryk Lysander is a true warrior and that things happen in combat when you lest expect or want them to happen. Will he be able to cope? Read the book and find out.
Keep up the series. I really enjoy reading these books. I though I had done a review but I guess I didn’t so I’m getting caught up.