“Ray McPadden can write. His first novel was named best military novel in 2019. Now he follows it with a combat memoir, We March at Midnight, that should be required reading for every deploying platoon leader. McFadden’s writing is sparse, punchy, and aggressive. He nails the essence of American infantrymen. They are not seeking to understand what brought them to Afghanistan’s endless valleys and Iraq’s endless deserts. They are seeking the enemy. McFadden is unapologetic and unromantic in his depiction of modern combat. The result is a fast-paced account of combat from the point of view of both traditional Army infantry and special operations forces that captures the essence of the few young men that volunteer to fight for us, over and over.” —Owen West, former assistant secretary of defense, special operations
What would the war do without me?
We March at Midnight is award-winning author Ray McPadden’s chronicle of his experience as a highly decorated Ranger Officer leading some of the most dangerous missions during the height of the Iraq and Afghan wars. In 2005, Ray joined the army in search of what he calls “the moment”—a chance to prove to himself and his brothers in arms that he is a true leader. His job is to establish the first outpost in the Korengal, Afghanistan’s deadliest valley, and his decisions and mistakes will have a permanent impact on the men he commands. During the fifteen-month tour, his unit receives numerous decorations for valor while suffering nearly 50 percent casualties, ultimately accomplishing their mission in a land considered unwinnable.
Prowess with a rifle platoon soon earns Ray a position in the world’s premiere raiding force, the 75th Ranger Regiment, an accomplishment earned by less than 1 percent of the officers in the US Army, and during the most combat-heavy period of the twenty-first century. Ray spearheads the first joint-strike force of Army Rangers and Navy SEALs, in a shadow war against the agents of a foreign government, where lightning raids by helicopter, armored vehicle, and foot are his nightly routine.
In 2009, when Ray returns to the same corner of Afghanistan where his military career began, he suddenly finds himself tasked with leading Rangers against a target he knows all too well: the home of friends from his first tour. As he leads one last raid, Ray is at war with himself. Conquering this unexpected enemy proves the greatest challenge of all.
We March at Midnight is a blood-spattered tour de force of growing up, leadership, the nature of war, and its aftermath.