Excerpt from The Blue House Raid

“With all due respect—” Marshall was about to complain about the sergeant major, but thought better of it and clamped his mouth. His shoulders shook from the cold. Pain ran from his knuckles to the tips of his curled fingers.

“You know what, Private Jones. I think we’ll march to the company area.” Steiner motioned with his head and the jeep pulled away. Steiner raised his voice to a parade-ground bark and called, “Forward—march.” Marshall’s left foot stepped off.

Steiner called cadence. “One hut, two hut, three hut.” At least they were moving, thought Marshall. “Pick up the step, Jones.” I am in step, thought Marshall. I can march in step.

Marshall and Steiner crossed the tar road in front of battalion headquarters. They marched down a slope under stars and a quarter moon.

“Look around,” said Steiner.

Ahead, Marshall made out a large ditch. About the time he thought Steiner was marching them into it, a foot bridge emerged. On the other side of the ditch crouched Quonset huts, stovepipes and windows sticking out. A cinder block latrine. Another cinder block building, probably the mess. As they drew closer, Marshall saw a slope rising on the far side of the huts, and up the slope four more huts.

“Does this look like you’re back on the block?” Steiner said.

“No, first sergeant.”

Steiner raised his voice. “I can’t hear you, private. Does this look like you’re back on the block?”

“No, first sergeant. Not that I remember it.”