Mayhem 337

Memoir of a Combat Advisor in Afghanistan

Non-Fiction - Military
179 Pages
Reviewed on 10/12/2019
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Author Biography

Chad Rickard was born and raised in central Pennsylvania. While attending college in 1991 he was inspired to join the military at the onset of the first Gulf War, opting to follow a family history of veterans from both World Wars and Vietnam. He spent the majority of the first 27 years of his adult life in service to his Nation dispensing freedom at a rate of 3,260 feet per second in 55 grain doses. As with many Americans his life was profoundly changed following the attacks on 9/11 and he opted to continue to devote his life to the military in lieu of other careers that would have kept him closer to home. Chad proudly served as an infantryman throughout his time in the Army and has been decorated several times for actions in combat including several awards for valor and a few Purple Hearts for wounds received in combat. Chad is a life-member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the National Infantry Association. He is currently retired and spending time with his family on the central coast of California.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite

Mayhem 337: Memoir of a Combat Advisor in Afghanistan by Chad Rickard is a nonfiction narrative that will immensely appeal to fans of military books. It is a record of the author’s experience in combat, fighting the orchestrators of the 9/11 tragedy. Growing up in Central Pennsylvania, Chad never thought of a military career, never imagined jumping out of airplanes with weapons strapped on his body, but after the tragedy of 9/11 he felt compelled to join the army and support his nation in the war against terrorism. In this narrative, a seasoned infantryman and a senior Army NCO shares his experiences fighting the Taliban and the Al Qaeda forces in Eastern Afghanistan.

The author gives readers a first-hand account of combat in very dangerous encounters and in unfamiliar and rough terrain. I loved the way he captures the “incertitude, the addiction that combat became” and the sense of mortality and humanity that permeates the narrative. Deafening gunshots, unsettling silences, the sound of the stampede of feet that scurry in uncertain directions in moments of danger. The narrative is beautiful and the imagery very strong. Mayhem 337: Memoir of a Combat Advisor in Afghanistan offers powerful images of military missions and enables readers to run alongside soldiers engaged in combat. The action is intense and the tension permeates every page of the narrative. The prose is beautiful and the narrative is enriched by streams of consciousness that transport readers into the psyche of the protagonist. It is a page-turner, balanced and deftly written.

K.C. Finn

Mayhem 337: Memoir of a Combat Advisor in Afghanistan is a work of non-fiction memoir focused around military experiences, and was penned by author Chad Rickard. Written for mature audiences due to its realistic depictions of violence and distressing situations, this active and intriguing memoir takes us deep into the heart of some very heated combats in Afghanistan’s Khost Province. Senior Army NCO Chad Rickard trained at a Combat Advisor School to learn the customs, language and tactical constraints of being an Advisor in such a terror-ridden place, and now he recounts the experience of serving his country, combat to combat, right at the heart of the Haqqani Taliban’s territory.

I found the work of author Chad Rickard totally authentic and bold in its depiction of the realities of working in one of the most terrifying combat situations the world has ever seen. Whether you are already interested in the modern military or not, Rickard’s story is one which touches the heart and pumps the blood, taking you through a cinematic narration of war-torn locations from city streets to barren mountaintops. The authorial style is down to earth and filled with details of the missions and combats which Rickard undertook and advised on, as well as giving a gateway into the psychology of the responsibility of such a position, and the effect that the loss of soldiers’ lives had on him during that time. Overall, Mayhem 337 is a highly recommended read for its stellar, authentic writing style and gritty, graphic realism.

Rabia Tanveer

Mayhem 337: Memoir of a Combat Advisor in Afghanistan by Chad Rickard is the story of a war veteran who was tried and tested beyond his imagination. Chad Rickard had multiple tours under his belt but he felt that his journey as a soldier was not finished yet. He was a senior Army NCO when he decided that he wanted to join the American forces in Afghanistan. So he did just that. He joined the U.S Army Combat Advisor School so that he could deploy to Afghanistan as a Combat Advisor. Going through intense training was worth it in the end as he got to join the soldiers amid the action. There he fought tooth and nail against the terrorists who fought back just as hard. He experienced life in a way that he never was able to do before. Amid a war where your fellow soldiers are more than your brothers, what would you do when you see them die?

This was an intense, raw and hard book to read. The truths that the author revealed are a bitter reality that we don’t want to face, which is the reason why brave men like Chad Rickard do it for us. I really appreciated the fact that he didn’t hold back anything, he let it all out and let the reader experience what he went through. I appreciated that I could read even a fraction of the horrors that he and his fellow soldiers went through just to keep his country safe. His grit, his determination and the way he led his team were very commendable. A very emotional journey that I hope to revisit in the future.