A former Fort Drum soldier has written a book about his time in Iraqs Triangle of Death.
Not in the Wind, Earthquake, or Fire is based on Philip Sharps second deployment to Iraq from 2006 to 2007. He was in the 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry the Polar Bears.
That is the deployment when we had an entire weapons section wiped out and three men captured, Mr. Sharp wrote in an email in response to questions about his book, which was self-published.
He kept a journal during the 15-month deployment and most of his book is based on that first-hand account.
It is not glossed-over and hyped up or glorified beyond merit, Mr. Sharp wrote. It shows the deployment in the raw and direct language of your average infantry soldier.
He also calls the book a testimony of a soldiers walk with God during those times as he recounts spiritual lessons he learned while appealing to readers to see God in their own lives.
Mr. Sharp, who served at Fort Drum from 2006 to 2011, retired from the Army in July. He served 20 years in the Army, where he graduated from Ranger School, completed 200 parachute jumps and also served as a drill sergeant. Besides Iraq, he has served in South Korea and the jungles of Panama.
He lives on a farm in West Virginia with his wife and four children.
Mr. Sharp is donating all profits from his book to veterans charities and to aid work in Iraq.
I dont feel right taking what to me would be like blood money, he said.
The Triangle of Death was south of Baghdad and was a hotbed of activity and sanctuary for the insurgency.
Mr. Sharp noted the Iraqis called it the Graveyard of the Americans. Twenty-one soldiers from the task force the author was in were killed.
There were too few soldiers to cover enough ground and they quickly became overused and exhausted, Mr. Sharp wrote.
Besides triumphs and victories and the daily life of a combat soldier, Mr. Sharp said, readers of his book will realize a sincere examination of the human costs and a look at the lives of soldiers once they return back home.
Asked about the books title, Mr. Sharp said it comes from the story of Elijah (1 Kings, Chapter 19 in the Bible.)
Elijah felt alone, was in despair, and was hiding from people trying to kill him, Mr. Sharp wrote. He was told to wait on a mountain for God to pass by. A strong wind came, but God was not in it. An earthquake came, but God was not in it. Fire fell down from above, but God was not in that. After this, Elijah heard from God in gentle whisper. To me, that deployment to Iraq felt like that: loneliness, despair, dodging people trying to kill you.
Mr. Sharp said some things stood out when he reviewed his journal for his book.
What stuck out was how angry I was all through it, he wrote. There were things I would remember as I read and it would bring up old emotions as if they never healed. It made writing the book longer than it should have.
He said he kept his story as real as possible.
I believe soldiers who have been in similar circumstances will appreciate having their world brought to light, perhaps in a way that they may not be able to tell others themselves, he wrote. Families and friends will get to see some of what their soldier has been through and better understand and overcome the silence that often accompanies this subject when it comes up.