Insight News

Friday
Dec 19th

Band of Sisters by Kirsten Holmstedt

E-mail Print PDF

"Band of Sisters" by Kirsten Holmstedt

Think of a warrior, and what comes to mind first?
A loincloth-clad athlete with arrows and slings, defending himself in hand-to-hand combat? A robust knight in armor, riding his horse into the maelstrom of battle? Maybe a solidly-muscled foot soldier with rifle slung over his shoulder and bullets across his chest?
Or how about a five-foot-something soldier who is so good with a .50-caliber automatic that it earned HER a combat meritorious promotion?

Read more about that warrior and others just like her in the new book "Band of Sisters" by Kirsten Holmstedt.
Think of a warrior, and what comes to mind first?

A loincloth-clad athlete with arrows and slings, defending himself in hand-to-hand combat? A robust knight in armor, riding his horse into the maelstrom of battle? Maybe a solidly-muscled foot soldier with rifle slung over his shoulder and bullets across his chest?

Or how about a five-foot-something soldier who is so good with a .50-caliber automatic that it earned HER a combat meritorious promotion?

Read more about that warrior and others just like her in the new book "Band of Sisters" by Kirsten Holmstedt.

Female warriors are nothing new. History books are filled with tales of brave women who took up the sword, but only recently have American women soldiers been officially allowed in combat. This book is about a few who served in Iraq.

Captain Robin Brown, United States Army and former prom queen, flew Kiowa Warrior helicopters. She and her fellow pilot, Chief Warrant Officer Two Jeff Sumner, were part of a four-member team who worked closely on armed reconnaissance missions. When Brown's Kiowa was shot down just south of Fallujah, that team closeness saved her and Sumner's lives.

Petty Officer Third Class Marcia Lillie, United States Navy, is good at her job as an E-4 aviation boatswain's mate handler, but there's one problem: at just ninety pounds, "chocking" a plane on the slippery deck of an aircraft carrier during rough seas and high winds means taking extra precautions, lest Lillie be wind-swept off the side of the boat and 100 feet into the ocean.

United States Navy Lieutenant Estella Salinas has many plaques and awards, but she doesn't bother with them. "What is the reward of such tours?" says the division officer of Bravo Surgical Company. "I can recall the hands I held, the brows I wiped, and hair that was gently stroked. Is that not the reward?" She went on to remember a Marine she cared for.

"That is the reward. I received it right there."

As we put away our sparklers and the fireworks from the past few weeks, "Band of Sisters" is a good book to take out. Author Kirsten Holmstedt neither preaches nor proselytizes in this book, and although she does sometimes venture into language that's a little civilian-cutesy, she does a good job overall at getting out of the way to let these soldiers tell their stories themselves.

Each of the eleven women profiled in this book will draw you in with tales of battles, snipers, explosions, shot-down aircraft, hidden landmines, and bombs.

You'll read about wounds inside and out, endured with an almost shrugging indifference. And, yes, you'll get tears in your eyes as you read this book.

If you have a loved one overseas, beware that this book doesn't candy-coat war one bit, and could conceivably be upsetting. But if the recent Independence Day has made you contemplate freedom or the War in Iraq, this is a book to read. "Band of Sisters" will prove to you that warrior-heroes come in all sizes and genders.

"Band of Sisters" by Kirsten Holmstedt
c.2007, Stackpole Books $27.95 325 pages, includes index




 

Recent Comments

Powered by Disqus



Facebook Twitter RSS Image Map

Latest show

Business & Community Service Network