REVIEW: Division – Life on Ardennes
The best modern book about life in the 82nd Airborne Division, written by the best Platoon Sergeant, in the best Battalion, Best Regiment, in the finest Infantry Division in the US Army.
Sergeant Aguinaga (pronounced AGA-NAGA) does an excellent job of telling his journey (1994 thru 2005) from a 71 Lima to the apex of Infantry assignments, a Ranger, Jumpmaster qualified Platoon Sergeant leading some of the finest infantry soldiers in the US Army.
Anyone who has served in one of the line units, 325th, 504th, 505th, 508th, 173rd will be able to relate to his story from in-processing through multiple assignments in the 82nd. Whether SGT A was discussing his mentor Platoon Sergeant who drove him to excel or his CSM (Charlie Thorpe) who seemed to always be there keeping an eye on his career over the years, his stories resonate. HARD. Stories of inspections, long road marches, endless training cycles, mission cycles, rotation to career-enhancing assignments like Drill Sergeant duty, the common threads we are all familiar with are there, the Street (Ardennes), Pope Air Force Base, Green Ramp, Area J, the small arms ranges, JRTC rotations, Advanced Airborne School, the drop zones and the long marches back to the barracks, checking on soldiers at “zero dark thirty” ensuring they are up and ready for PT or training.
All the thousands of soldiers that have come before us, and the thousands that will come after, we all realize, time served in the 82nd is such a contradiction; it’s the worst assignment you could possibly have, and once you are gone, it’s the place you want to get back to.
As many of you know and share with SGT A and our other brothers and sisters up and down the street, the 82nd Airborne Division was the best assignment of our lives and it is the one we talk about to our buddies or veteran friends, it’s the combat patch we select over the multiple others we could wear. Why choose the 82nd patch? It’s the one combat patch people all over the world recognize. When you tell people you served at Bragg, in Division, they know exactly what you mean.
I highly recommend this book to all veterans, new paratroopers in-processing the Division or even those soldiers out there in another Infantry Division that has had thoughts about serving in the 82nd.
Airborne. All the Way!
About the Author – Nathan Aguinaga is a retired Master Sergeant who served 20 years Active Duty in the U.S. Army. He served as a Light Infantryman with additional skill identifiers as Airborne, Ranger, Jumpmaster, and Drill Sergeant. After retirement from the Army in 2010, Nathan earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts and a Master’s Degree in Education Guidance Counseling. During the school year, he’s a substitute teacher at his local middle and high school. Nathan is married to his wife Jessica and has a daughter in college and a son getting ready to graduate high school.
Review by Christopher (Moon) Mullins