Assault By Fire
Lt. Col. Hunter Ripley “Rip” Rawlings IV (Ret.)
Sept 29th, 2020
Assault By Fire by Lt. Col. Hunter Ripley “Rip” Rawlings IV (Ret.) is a military thriller. Marine reservists, National Guard soldiers, and civilians band together to fight an invasion on US soil. As Russia attacks the US on its own soil, a ragtag pieced together team of West Virginia National Guard, Ranger Special Ops, US Naval medical teams along with the West Virginia mountaineers and backwoods hunters, engage in battlefield tactics to take America back.
Rawlings noted, “I was always intrigued with what is going on between America and Russia. The Russians were upset that they did not win the Cold War. They have shown extreme aggressiveness because they really do not like the US. I think that the Cold War is back. I also read books including what General Patton wrote about Russia. He immediately knew Russia was not an ally and were bad bed fellows.”
While reading this, people might think of how during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, Americans defeated a far superior enemy with a combination of military men and militia. Although some might think how is it possible for Russia to attack the US on its own soil and initially succeed, they should think back to the movie “Red Dawn,” which had a group of mid-western teenagers banding together to defend their town, and their country, from invading Soviet forces.
While most authors send their protagonist into a war zone abroad, terrorist hell holes, or even clandestine operations in other countries this book has the homeland attacked. To show how possible this is, Rawlings documents in the opening pages, the 1990 reissued Russian battle authorization justifying an invasion of the United States. He just takes it a little farther by having far right radical elite Russian senior military officials implementing it. The Russian navy infiltrates America’s shores by using attack vessels disguised as cargo ships. What makes the story work is how the author does not go into major detail about the invasion but delves into what happens afterward and how Americans fought back.
“I wrote in the beginning of the book how Russia and America have plans to invade each other. What I used in the book is the dumbed down version of the Russian plan. They still have that perspective that they must neutralize the US before they handle the threat of Europe. They want to be the second super- power. I just took it a step farther and showed as Stalin thought, that America is in some sense worse than the Nazis. They perceive America as evil.”
The protagonists are very believable, and readers will root for them to succeed. There are plenty of tough women, such as Navy Commander Victoria Remington and dog handler, Staff Sgt Diaz. The hero is Marine Lt. Tyce Asher who fought in Iraq, was wounded there, and now is in charge of a joint Marine/National Guard reserve unit. He has flaws and can at times question his own decisions, but when the troops need a leader, he’s a battle-tested squared-away Marine, much like the author who fought in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Northern Africa. Rawlings’ duties included being an Infantry and LAV Reconnaissance Officer as well as a Warfighting Department Head for Marine Corps Command & Staff College.
The author commented, “Tyce lost a leg in combat and lived with the decision that cost most of the platoon their lives. Then he must deal with the government telling him they do not need him anymore because he is seen as a cripple. He has a lot of self-doubt; yet, rises to the occasion. Commander Remington kicks Tyce’s butt and tells him to get his act together. I know that the battle of the sexes ends with the trench. She is a very strong Italian descent woman. Very feisty. She eventually places her trust in Tyce but points out she is his equal after he earns her respect. Overall, she is direct, will call out BS when she sees it, and is very vocal.”
Rawlings pulls back the curtain to inform readers about the pressures, stresses and strains that come with military leadership. The story is gripping and maintains a high level of suspense through non-stop action.