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Old 18 July 2015, 16:59
namor namor is offline
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"The Quiet Professional: Major Dick Meadows" by Alan Hoe

Just finished reading a biography of Major Dick Meadows, "The Quiet Professional" by Alan Hoe. The author is a former SAS man who served with Meadows.

I read this book with a great deal of anticipation, since you cannot talk about Army Special Forces in the 1950s through the 1980s without mentioning Meadows. Since the author is someone who knew Meadows personally, and is also a professional himself who can understand and appreciate the work he did, it should have been a great read. But it isn't.

It starts out pretty well, and does an excellent job of describing Meadow's early life. But once he enlisted (at the age of 15), the author's descriptions get hazy. We learn very little about his Korean War experiences, and get no good understanding of how he came to be a Master Sergeant at age 20. Later on in the book, when Meadows is the first enlisted SF soldier assigned a stint with the SAS, the author (who met Meadows there as a serving SAS soldier) shares only barracks stories. This frustrating habit repeats for most of his service fighting in pre-Vietnam Cambodia, where the seeds of the MACV-SOG RT teams were sown. We hear of only one RT mission during his 1965-66 tour in SOG, and learn much more about the negotiations regarding his mustang promotion to Captain than his warrior experience. And again when describing his deep involvement with the Son Tay raid, there is virtually no description of Meadow's actions or part.

The book continues like this for the rest of its length. The author, in describing how his many deployments affected his family, tells us that Mrs Meadows achieved significant professional success during his absences - but we never even learn what her field of endeavor is. In the end, the book is like watching one of those "the making of movie X" features: you know the name and general idea of the movie, but you haven't seen the actual story itself.

To my mind, Major Dick Meadows is a towering figure in 20th century military history. Its good that there is at least some book out there to help show that. But if his story is to be told, it should be fleshed out to portray the tremendous contributions he made, and this book fails to do that.
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Old 19 July 2015, 00:17
Colonel Flagg Colonel Flagg is offline
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I'd agree.

While I enjoyed the book, I was definitely left wanting....

...more detail on early SF daily life

...more on early SF/SAS tours

...more on SOG

...more on Son Tay

...more on Iran
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Old 3 December 2015, 17:26
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Hot Mess Hot Mess is offline
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I read about half of this yesterday. I knew the name from SOG and the start of SFOD-D, but I never know what gigantic brass balls he had. 13 POW's captured, MSG at 21, battle field commission to O-3. It just goes to prove that there are some people out there who are so above and beyond that all you can do is stare in awe.
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