It’s part 4 of our If You’re Reading This Read Along, and things are getting interesting for Mike Wilson as he continues to receive letters his father wrote before he died eight years earlier.
Click READ MORE to hear from author Trent Reedy about his real-life experiences with the Gentleman’s Smoking Club, the Cowboy Way, and to learn what his radio code name was!
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From author trentreedy:
Here the timeline deviates from reality a bit.  On July 4, 2004 I was in Kandahar, not Farah, but I wanted to simplify our movements for the purposes of the story.  
 The first part of this letter talks about the utter misery of our original living conditions in Farah.  I mean it. When we first arrived, the place we would call home for the year looked like the surface of Mars. All of the stuff Mark writes about the well going dry and about not getting much for food was all true for us.
 The bit on page 109 about how the two Afghan guys wanted to fight Mark, and how Mark kept insisting they shake hands and be friends, comes directly out of that same experience I had in Herat. I had three well-armed guys, but who knows how many guys they had? And we didn’t even have an armored vehicle to bug out in.  So I had to calm the Afghans down and try to make friends.
 On page 110 Mark Wilson and some guys have conducted their own first church service.  This is exactly like the church service that we first held in Farah, sitting in the blazing heat in a converted stable that we were using to store ammunition. We sat on cans of ammo and anti-personnel mines while praying for help to continue.
 On page 112 Mark Wilson talks about The Gentleman’s Smoking Club (GSC). The GSC is a real thing, and it was very important to me and the other guys in my unit who were in it. One of the members of the GSC married the sister of another member just last year. All of us went to Minnesota to celebrate the occasion. At the reception, a big glass vase full of cigars had been set out for the members of the Gentleman’s Smoking Club. This group of guys understands me better than almost anyone else does.  Mark also mentions Cookmaster.  “Cookmaster” was the radio code name for our cook. (My radio code name was “Shakespeare.”)
 It is in this letter that Sergeant Mark Wilson first mentions the Cowboy Way. The Cowboy Way was something we all had to adopt, as we did not have the best equipment, and our training had not prepared us for a number of situations we would have to deal with. We had to just “cowboy it.” Later, as we began to embrace our mission to help Afghanistan, we thought about the good cowboys in the white hats in the old movies, and we tried to be like those good cowboys, riding into town to help out any way we could.
Catch up with the read along here!

It’s part 4 of our If You’re Reading This Read Along, and things are getting interesting for Mike Wilson as he continues to receive letters his father wrote before he died eight years earlier.

Click READ MORE to hear from author Trent Reedy about his real-life experiences with the Gentleman’s Smoking Club, the Cowboy Way, and to learn what his radio code name was!

Read more