Minefields of the Heart: A Mother's Stories of a Son at War

Minefields of the Heart: A Mother's Stories of a Son at War


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How do combat veterans and their loved ones bridge the divide that war, by its very nature, creates between them? How does someone who has fought in a war come home, especially after a tour of duty marked by near-daily mortar attacks, enemy fire, and roadside bombs? With a journalist’s eye and a mother’s warmth, Sue Diaz asks these questions as she chronicles the two deployments to Iraq of her son, Sgt. Roman Diaz, from the perspective of the home front. Sergeant Diaz’s second deployment put him south of Baghdad in the region aptly termed the Triangle of Death. There his platoon experienced extraordinarily heavy casualties during the height of the Iraqi insurgency. That unit has since become the focus of considerable media attention following events that made headlines in the summer of 2006: an insurgent attack at a remote outpost on three of their own—one killed at the scene, the other two kidnapped, their bodies found days later; and a terrible war crime committed against an Iraqi family by four soldiers from First Platoon.

Minefields of the Heart adds a very personal dimension to the larger story of this Bravo Company platoon from the 101st Airborne’s 502nd Infantry Regiment, a unit known since World War II as the “Black Heart Brigade.” Diaz recounts the emotional roller coaster her family and other soldiers’ families experience during and after deployment. She explores this terrain not only through stories of her son’s and family’s experiences connected to the Iraq War, but also by insights she’s gained from other veterans’ accounts—from what she calls “the box” that soldiers returning from any war carry within. This added layer gives her narrative broader meaning, bringing home the impact of war in general on those who fight and on those who love them. Minefields of the Heart is a story of innocence lost, understanding gained, and hope reaffirmed. In addition to veterans and their families, this book will appeal to anyone who wants to understand war’s impact on individuals as well as on the fabric of our society.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781612346533
Publisher: Potomac Books
Publication date: 01/28/2013
Pages: 184
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Sue Diaz is an award-winning journalist who writes frequently for the Christian Science Monitor and contributes to National Public Radio. Since 2007 she has conducted writing workshops for veterans at the San Diego Vet Center. At her web site, www.warriorswall.com, Diaz provides a place for veterans from across the country to write and share their stories. She lives in San Diego, California.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Foreword Jim Frederick xiii

Introduction xvii

Part 1 The Road to War

Lifting the Lid 2

Roman's Choice 6

Soldier from Suburbia 10

Basic Training, Fort Benning, Georgia 12

Infantryman's Creed 15

To Basic Training and Beyond-with SpongeBob 16

War 22

Not a Video Game 25

Marching Toward Baghdad 27

Seven Ducklings 29

Answering the Call 31

Both Sides Now 33

Brothers in Arms 35

Dad's D-Day Diary 37

Grocery Shopping with Lucinda 39

A Rare Snail-Mail Letter from Roman 41

The SpongeBob Letters I 43

Baghdad Christmas 45

A Holiday Tradition 47

A Taste of Home 49

The SpongeBob Letters II 50

Weapons of Mass Illusion 52

The Family on the Beach 54

Not So Fast 56

The SpongeBob Letters III 59

Sergeant Horton's Marlboros 60

Part 2 At Home and Between Deployments

Coming Home 64

A Separate Peace 66

The SpongeBob Letters IV 68

Christmas Card, 2004 69

A New Assignment, Another Trip Home 70

Moments to Remember 73

Coming Home Once More to Say Good-bye Again 75

Target Practice 78

Once More to the Lake 80

Walking the Walk 84

Hurricane Katrina 86

Sarge 88

The SpongeBob Letters V 90

Part 3 The Hell of War

Letters 94

A Letter from Home Roman Nearly Never Read 97

Doorbell Moment 98

Christmas Card, 2005 99

A Christmas Apart 100

Encounter with an IED 102

A Soldier's Silence 104

War as It Happens 107

Up in Smoke 109

Making a Difference 111

Moonlight and Mizunos 113

From Bad to Worse 115

Attack at Yusufiyah 117

Fallen Eagles 119

Lucinda, Keeping It Real 124

Operation Brain Surgery 125

To Baghdad via Books and Berkeley 127

The Innocent Days 132

Part 4 The Journey Home Begins

The Soldiers Return 136

The Road Home 138

Guernica Revisited 140

The Notebooks 143

Epilogue 147

Afterword: On Reading Black Hearts 153

Notes 157

Bibliography 161

About the Author 162

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