THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
The only comprehensive, firsthand account of the fourteen-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 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—had become a kind of backhanded joke.”
In 2009, Clinton Romesha of Red Platoon and the rest of the Black Knight Troop were preparing to shut down Command Outpost (COP) Keating, the most remote and inaccessible in a string of bases built by the US military in Nuristan and Kunar in the hope of preventing Taliban insurgents from moving freely back and forth between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Three years after its construction, the army was finally ready to concede what the men on the ground had known immediately: it was simply too isolated and too dangerous to defend.
On October 3, 2009, after years of constant smaller attacks, the Taliban finally decided to throw everything they had at Keating. The ensuing fourteen-hour battle—and eventual victory—cost eight men their lives.
Red Platoon is the riveting firsthand account of the Battle of Keating, told by Romesha, who spearheaded both the defense of the outpost and the counterattack that drove the Taliban back beyond the wire and received the Medal of Honor for his actions.
“A vitally important story that needs to be understood by the public, and I cannot imagine an account that does it better justice that Romesha’s.”—Sebastian Junger, journalist and author of The Perfect Storm
“Red Platoon is sure to become a classic of the genre.”—Hampton Sides, author of Ghost Soldiers and In the Kingdom of Ice
Former SSG Romesha, a Medal of Honor recipient for his actions in the 2009 battle for Outpost Keating in Afghanistan, viscerally describes the dirt, danger, and chaos of that battle. This ranks among the best combat narratives written in recent decades, revealing Romesha as a brave and skilled soldier as well as a gifted writer. He supports his own memories with hours of interviews and official reports to describe the battle and its context. Romesha offers some personal history and a rundown of the precarious nature of life at the remote American outpost before launching into his minute-by-minute account of its defense, from the moments prior to the attack at 5:58 a.m. until the first medevac helicopter arrived to remove the wounded and dead at 8:11 p.m. At the end of the battle, of the 50 soldiers at Keating, eight were dead and 27 were wounded. The soldiers were not hardened Special Forces operators, but rather ordinary young Americans "cut from a more ragged grade of cloth." Romesha remains humble and self-effacing throughout, in a contrast with many other first-person battle accounts, and his powerful, action-packed book is likely to stand as a classic of the genre. Photos.