Book Review: OinK! by David Osterhout

[FULL DISCLOSURE: I received my copy of this book free from the author and/or publisher. I was not paid for this review and the opinion expressed is purely my own]

When most folks think of Military History they naturally think of war. Oink! Only In Korea! by DavidOsterhout breaks that mold.  It is military history but only peripherally is war involved because it takes place in 1980 in Korea where north and south are technically still at war.  I will admit I was skeptical when first approached about reviewing this title but as I remembered some of the crazy stuff that happened to and around me during my military career I agreed to review it.  I am certainly glad I did because this is one the best memoirs I have read in a good long while.  I never thought I would read a peacetime memoir as compelling as a wartime story.  I was wrong, Oink! Only In Korea! by David Osterhout is that story.

This is the tale of then 1LT Osterhout’s tour as the S-2 (Intelligence Officer) of the 1-9 INF (Manchu’s) on the DMZ between North and South Korea in 1980.  It is as adventure filled as any wartime memoir and even more remarkable because the events described happened during what was supposedly peacetime.  What I found particularly entertaining about the story is that even though I never served in Korea during my army career I could relate to just about everything that happened having had similar experiences in other parts of the world.  The book never slows down and the Osterhout’s  style is witty without being forced.  Soldiers do stupid things and many of those make for interesting stories of which a tour on the DMZ apparently gives you more scope than most for stupid things to happen.

David Osterhout has written the Chickenhawk of the post-Vietnam pre-War on Terror generation.  It shows what it was like in the Cold War army that was grappling with the transition to an all-volunteer force while at the same time still trying to complete real world missions in places like Korea.  I highly recommend this entertaining and educational book.