What is real military experience? Sometimes a lot can be gained in a few short hours. It is more usual, however, for real experience to be gained over a period of many years, in a variety of situations, in different environments and different countries and with a lot of luck. Not the kind of luck which wins money in gambling or business, but the kind which means, when the smoke clears, that you are the bastard still standing. The author has known the exhilaration of victory and the terrible despondency of defeat, the satisfaction of seeing his enemies go down and the horrific stinging crash of bullets smashing into his own body. In this book he discusses the paradox of army life, from the great parades with hundreds of marching troops, drums beating and bands playing, to the weeks and months of silent movement, every nerve at full stretch, with only the muzzle of your rifle or machine-gun between you and the opposition. The author has served all over the world: in the mind-numbing cold, in the blazing desert heat and in sweat-drenched jungle warfare. He has faced minefields, traps and ambushes, as well as bombs, bullets, rockets and napalm. And he has also been a prisoner-of-war.
The shock, shame and despair of having to surrender to the enemy and the way he suffered during his incarceration meant that he was declared "unfit for further military service". But he would not give up his army career and defied the odds, passing the SAS selection course and going on to enjoy an illustrious career in the Special Air Service. Military experience in this soldier's case was always against the odds.