JokerOne: A Marine Platoon’s story of Courage, leadership andBrotherhood.
Campbellis a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Business School. Hefinishes first in his class at The Basic School on Marine Corps BaseQuantico, VA. Donovan Campbell is a former Marine lieutenant who leda 40 –man platoon in the Iraqi desert city of Ramadi. Thebattalion was assigned to one of Iraqis worst hotspot where theenemies found shelter among the locals.
Campbelldecides to write a vivid description of an account of what transpiredin a book which he names Joker One: A Marine Platoon’s Story ofCourage, Leadership and Brotherhood.
Thebook is named after the platoon Campbell commanded, the 1stplatoon Company G (also known as, “Golf Company”), secondBattalion, Forth Marine Regiment. It was known by its radio callsign, Joker One. Joker One was made up forty men: country boys andsmall town athletes, a few Hispanics and a single black. Some werecollege men with futures some had pasts they preferred to forget.
Oncethe battalion’s training was complete it was time to go to Iraq.As the Marines landed in Kuwait and crossed the border in March 2004,Campbell found out that his unit’s seven ton trucks had no amour,the radios did not work properly and translator would be provided forthe dangerous overland trip to Ramadi. Ramadi is located in the Sunnitriangle north west of Baghdad. In 2004 the Sunni minority considereditself outsiders in the newly formed, American backed Iraqigovernment. The city was considered to be having strong ties withSaddam Husain and the Baath party.
WhenDonovan Campbell platoon was deployed to Ramadi in the spring of2004, they believed they would be spending most of their timebuilding schools, training police and making friends with thecitizens. This turned out to be just a dream for the marines as thereality of the matter sunk in a fall out of events that followedimmediately after their arrival.Shortly after arriving Campbellwoke up to the chilling cry of “Jihad, Jihad, Jihad…” echoingfrom minaret to minaret across the city, he knew they had altogetherdifferent situations in their hands. For nearly the entire day, theforty man platoon, that Campbell was charged with leading fought doorto door to rescue other units’ .They exchanged fire with theirenemies from just a few feet away. In the days and months thatfollowed hundreds of hardcore insurgents launched simultaneousattacks on the marine forces in Ramadi. Their ranks swelled bythousands of local volunteers drawn from the citizens of a city whoseprimary export were officers in Saddam Husain’s army.
Bythe fall of 2004, nearly half the men in Campbell’s platoon hadbeen wounded in some of the fiercest urban fighting since Vietnamless than a month they withdrew the forces in Ramadi were doubledthen tripped.
Thebooks theme: brotherhood, honour and sacrifice are universal.Campbell shows the readers his Marine’s patience, discipline andlove for one another created a system is better than its sub systems.War changes people but Campbell’s men remained unchanged evenafter going through such tribulations and pain.
Thevivid and gripping battle scenes and military memories showCampbell’s sense of duty faith and love for his men that make“Joker One” a truly extraordinary account that has touched allits readers.