The National Guardsman, the citizen soldier called upon to fight for this nation in a time of war, is one of the least understood — and perhaps one of the most compelling — figures of the Iraq War. Saber’s Edge is the story of a middle-aged Vermont firefighter called upon to be a soldier in the worst place on earth — Ramadi, Iraq. In a few short weeks Thomas A. Middleton went from being a suburban dad to a combat medic traveling between platoons, filling in for other medics and engaging in some of the fiercest and most crucial fighting of the war.
This is the war as experienced from the ground level: days of tedium interspersed with the adrenalin of combat; moments of lighthearted laughter broken by the sorrow of loss. This is also the story of the unique wartime perspective of our guardsmen. Unlike the raw, unformed young recruit, the mature guardsman often comes with the burdens of family, experience, and a developed sense of self. Accordingly, Sgt. Middleton’s story chronicles the inner conflict created by his long-time professional role as a healer and his newfound life as a warrior in the urban battlefields of Iraq. Thrust into a culture and theater of war that he is little equipped or trained for, the author tries to make sense of his actions. Coarsened by combat and increasingly disdainful of the local population, he receives solace and insight from his life-long faith and ultimately emerges as a man who understands his role in the world.
Saber’s Edge is also the story of the Green Mountain Boys of Task Force Saber: a story of comradeship and communion amid fierce street fighting in a crucial theater of the Iraq War (the eventual site of the “Al Anbar Awakening”). Based on the author’s first-hand experiences and interviews with other soldiers, Saber’s Edge presents a riveting account of modern urban warfare and the inspiring story of one man reconciling his actions in warfare.
The Human Face of the Citizen Soldier at War
By Charles E. Rittenburg - August 2, 2009
Anyone interested in modern American military operations will enjoy this book. But I especially recommend it to the everyday American who wonders what it's actually like to be fighting on the front lines of the Global War on Terror. This story is told straight from the shoulder. It's easy to pick up and read, and you don't have to be a veteran, a techno-geek, or a military historian to understand it. Mr. Middleton describes what it's like for the iconic American citizen-soldier--not a Regular Army man, but a workaday civilian who in "real life" is a nurse, a salesman, a teacher, etc.--to be called to 18 months of active duty to defend his country in a combat zone far from home. Middleton, a combat medic and a religious Catholic, describes movingly his own reactions to the realities of the combat experience, both the ugly and the sublime. He describes suspenseful combat actions conducted by the Vermonters, but also the daily tedium of serving far from home in a strange, hostile,... read more
Taking the Fight to the Enemy
By G. Friese - January 8, 2010
Saber's edge is Tom Middleton's chronicle of his experiences as a Firefighter/Paramedic/Nurse National Guardsman from Vermont taking the fight to the enemy in the chaotic and violent city of Ramadi Iraq in 2005. Tom gives a detailed account of day-to-day activities as well as the pivotal battles and encounters with the enemy where he was forced to reconcile his role as a combat medic with an infantry platoon.
As a paramedic I appreciated Tom's detailed accounts of how he applied his lifesaving skills to friends and foes. I also appreciated his sharing the turmoil he faced healing those that had just been attempting to harm him and his companions, but the importance to the greater mission to show compassion.
Tom also explores how his spirituality and catholic religious beliefs were strengthened as he prayed and discussed the justness of war, killing combatants, death and injury to non-combatants, and the importance of staying true to a strong set of moral... read more
By Elizabeth Cline - September 27, 2010
I bought this book because I wanted to know more about the place my Husband spent a year in. He was there right after these guys left and because of this I jumped on this book to help me understand what my Husband went through. I now have even more respect for my Husband, not that I didn't have any before, and I think that anyone who has questions about what it was like for these Brave men could learn a lot from this book.