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MILITARY BOOKS

Stephen A. Bourque

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Major Stephen A. Bourque, USA (ret.) “served with the Big Red One and earned a Bronze Star during Operation Desert Storm. Following his retirement from the army after twenty years enlisted and commissioned service, he obtained his doctorate from Georgia State University, taught at California State University, Northridge.  Major Stephen A. Bourque is the author of Jayhawk: The VII Corps in the Persian Gulf War and Post-Cold War. He is also a co-author of The Road to Safwan: The 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry in the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

 

According to the book description of The Road to Safwan: The 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, it “is a complete history of the 1st Infantry Division's cavalry unit fighting in Operation Desert Storm. Stephen A. Bourque and John W. Burdan III served in the 1st Infantry--Bourque in Division Headquarters, Burdan as the Operations Officer of the 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry. Based on extensive interviews and primary sources, Bourque and Burdan provide the most in-depth coverage to date of a battalion-level unit in the 1991 war, showing how the unit deployed, went into combat, and adapted to changing circumstances.

 

The authors describe how the officers and men moved from the routine of cold war training to leading the Big Red One in battle through the Iraqi defenses and against the Iraqi Republican Guard. The 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry participated in the 1st Brigade attack on G-Day, the large tank battle for Objective Norfolk, the cutting of Basra Road, and the capture of Safwan Airfield, the site where General H. Norman Schwartzkopf conducted cease-fire negotiations with the Iraqis. The squadron's activities are placed squarely within the context of both division and corps activities, which illustrates the fog of war, the chain of command, and the uncertainty of information affecting command decisions.

 

The Road to Safwan challenges the myth that technology won the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Contrary to popular view, it was a soldier's war not much different from previous conflicts in its general nature. What was different was the quality and intensity of the unit's training, which resulted, repeatedly, in successful engagements and objectives secured. It is the story of the people, not the machines, which ultimately led this squadron to the small town of Safwan.”

 

One reader of The Road to Safwan: The 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry in the 1991 Persian Gulf War said, “For an ex-military person, the book is well written. Anyone not familiar with military nomenclature, would be confused. I was with the 1-4 Cav, Alpha troop 2nd Platoon during Desert Storm. There are a few stories that could have used a bit more investigation. All that said, it was nice to relive many of the occurrences of 1990-91. I would recommend it to any 1-4 Cav'er.”


Post-Cold War (The Greenwood Press Daily Life Through History Series)
Stephen A. Bourque  More Info
Jayhawk! The VII Corps in the Persian Gulf War
Stephen A. Bourque  More Info

The Road to Safwan: The 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry in the 1991 Persian Gulf War
Stephen Alan Bourque  More Info

Major Paul G. Niesen, USAF (writing in Air and Space Power Journal, Spring 2004) said of Jayhawk: The VII Corps in the Persian Gulf War, “Most striking about this book is its ease of reading. One doesn't have to be an expert on Army doctrine, tactics, and jargon to appreciate Jayhawk! The author does a fantastic job of walking the reader through some VII Corps history, background of deployment exercises, and evolution of AirLand Battle doctrine before launching into the record of the corps's deployment and combat operations.

 

And what a read it is! Unless people have "been there, done that," they can't fully appreciate the scale and complexities involved in assembling, moving, and controlling 145,000 moving parts (i.e., individual soldiers) and supporting equipment. Bourque guides us step-by-step through receiving the initial notification, preparing for deployment, deploying and arriving in-theater, moving to assembly areas, and finally jumping off to war into Iraq.”

 

According to the book description of Post-Cold War, “From the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 through the years immediately after the collapse of the World Trade Center and Pentagon in 2001, and within the administrations of George H. W. Bush, William J. Clinton, and George W. Bush, soldiers' lives underwent enormous changes. Without the benefit of national conscription, these professionals, nurtured on stories of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, experienced repetitive tours of duty in one combat zone after another to an extent the warriors of earlier eras could never have imagined. They fought every kind of war during this period; high-intensity mechanized war, air and heliborne raids, peace-keeping activities, urban combat, counter-insurgency operations, refugee support, and counter-narcotics operations. What makes the story of this era's soldiers all the more compelling is that these activities took place as the American military actually decreased its military strength during the period, leading to more and longer tours of duty.”

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