15 October 2008 by Published in: General News 2 comments

Please forgive my being quiet for the past couple of days. I had a major deadline to meet yesterday–I had two different briefs due yesterday, and had to allow my job to get in the way of my hobby. One brief was time-stamped 4:53 and the other 4:54–the Clerk of Court’s office closes at 5:00–meaning that I met the deadline. Now it’s back to business as normal.

Book CoverI want to recommend a great book about a true American hero to you. Gunnery Sergeant Nick Popaditch enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1986 and served his country with great honor for 18 years. A photographer snapped his photo in Baghdad in 2003, smoking a victory cigar, with the downed statue of Saddam Hussein behind him. He became known as the “Cigar Marine” as a result of that iconic photograph, which appears on the dust jacket of the book.

In 2004, while commanding a tank in Fallujah, Iraq, Gunny Pop, as he’s known, stopped a rocket propelled grenade with his face and lived to talk about it. Although he was awarded a Silver Star for his valor that day, Nick lost an eye and was critically wounded, but he survived. He was medically discharged from the Corps in 2005.

Gunny Pop has written an amazing memoir of his ordeal titled Once a Marine: An Iraq War Tank Commander’s Inspirational Memoir of Combat, Courage, and Recovery that was recently published by Savas-Beatie. Because of my relationship with Ted Savas, I’ve known about this forthcoming book for quite a while, and had the good fortune to read the manuscript before it was published.

I can’t say enough good things about this particular book. Fast-paced and extremely well-written, Gunny Pop has written a simultaneously fascinating and incredibly moving narrative that details his military career and the ordeal of his wounding and recovery from that horrible wound. A husband and father, his memoir tells all about how that day in Fallujah affected his life and the lives of his loved ones. Gunny Pop represents the best that the United States Marine Corps has to offer, and we all have much to learn from the lessons of his life.

Although there’s obviously a great deal of difference between modern warfare and what we study in the Civil War, those of us who study the Civil War, and in particular, those of us who study the stories of the common soldiers who fought the Civil War, Gunny Pop’s story has a lot to offer. The impact on his life and on the lives of his wife and children of the disabling wound that he suffered translates well to the ordeal of the common soldier of the Civil War, and there is much insight to be had as a result.

Do yourselves a favor and read this unforgettable book.

Scridb filter


  1. Ken Noe
    Wed 15th Oct 2008 at 11:52 pm

    Off topic, Eric, but congrats to the Phils. I was hoping my Dodgers could give you a little more competition, but in the tradition of my ilk, wait ’til next year!

  2. Thu 16th Oct 2008 at 12:33 pm

    Hi E

    Thanks for reviewing Gunny Pop’s “Once a Marine. ” I am glad you enjoyed it. Indeed, it is a unique book, and not what most people would expect.

    We had Nick sign 100 copies yesterday (yours is in the mail today), so we have signed first editions here.

    Deeply appreciate it.


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