CAMP PENDLETON, CA – One of the most anticipated military stories of the past decade will arrive in bookstores June 14th, Flag Day. National Defense… Medal: My Journey through the Frontlines of a Marine Corps Recruit Depot, by Private First Class Nick Rattee, will be published by Random House Books.
It has received considerable advance praise. David Brooks calls it “a quintessential military chronicle that will rival those of Winston Churchill, Phil Caputo, and Sun Tzu.” Bill Gertz says it's "Much more realistic than Tom Ricks' Making the Corps. Only a real Marine could tell the story this well."
Pfc. Rattee, a Basic Marine who's waiting to be medically separated, is gearing up to start promoting the memoir.
“I’m semper excited,” said the eighteen year-old from Crane, TX while doing his best drill instructor voice. “What we went through down the road … it was frightening and life changing. I felt that our story needed to be told. It's a tribute to my brothers, who so willfully put themselves in danger of being yelled at.”
The book will chronicle Pfc. Rattee’s terrifying thirteen week tour as a Marine recruit at MCRD San Diego.
One excerpt reads:
Sweat poured from my brow like blood from a severed artery as our platoon continued to struggle for sanity while our DIs yelled at us. From the corner of my eye I could see our senior drill instructor, a menacing fireplug of a man by the name of Staff Sergeant Armendariz, staring me down with the same vitriol as an Iraqi insurgent. Armendariz would have had a shock of grey hair, if it hadn't been so darned high-and-tight.
"Rattee," he said, "get to my quarter-deck right now!"
Disregarding my own safety, I valiantly dashed toward the front, assumed the position, and had to do side-straddle hops for approximately two minutes. I'll never forget the horrifying inhumanity of that day. I joined the Corps with a lot of notions of duty, honor, country, but nothing had prepared me for sheer horror of learning the precursor skills necessary to be trained to learn an MOS to then spend time preparing for war.
Rattee was inspired to write the book while on medical-hold at SOI (West) four weeks after he graduated bootcamp.
“I fell out of a five-k hump during the first week because I rolled my ankle,” he told Duffel Blog as he ran his hand through his high-and-tight. “I had a lot of time on my hands, so I picked up Marcus Lutrell’s Lone Survivor, among fifty other SEAL memoirs, read it front to cover and was totally inspired. That guy really knows how to tell a BUDS story. It gave me the motivation to tell my own.”
But not everyone is excited about the release. Rattee's former SDI, Staff Sergeant Michael Armendariz, didn't hold back.
"That daggone fuck-luck told me he was an All-American football player in high school, but joined the Marine Corps after an injury, you understand? He turned out to be a friggin' daggone gelatinous tub of shit in every single physical activity we did, you understand? All that yoohoo ever did was talk himself up and fail in every possible way, you understand?. He even pissed his trousers seven different times during field week, you understand?"
When asked if he was discouraged by criticism coming from senior Marines, Rattee didn’t mince words.
“I understand where they’re coming from, but I think somewhere along the way, after all those deployments, they lost sight of what it means to be a real Marine. Our core principles are forged in the violent crucibles of The Crucible. It’s semper silly for them to give me any guff over this.”
"I achieved my highest ambition: Basic Marine. Once I get those discharge papers, I'll have plenty of time to tour the nation and promote my book," he adds. "After that, who knows. I've always been interested in law enforcement, so I think I'll apply as a retail protection agent."
Rumors are circulating that PFC Rattee will be nominated for the next Super-Boot of the Year award.