Wearing the Green Beret

Wearing the Green Beret

A Canadian With the Royal Marine Commandos

Book - 2011
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With the authenticity of Jarhead and Bravo Two Zero and the straight-up narrative of Contact Charlie , this military memoir describes what really goes on in the training of an elite soldier and his tours in Afghanistan.

In 2004, Jake Olafsen signed up for the Royal Marines Commandos. He left everything behind at home in Canada on the basis of a spur-of-the-moment decision. The Royal Marines have the toughest and longest basic training of any infantry unit in the world. For Olafson, this meant eight months of wet and cold in England and Wales. It was hell, but he came out with the four Commando qualities that the corps look for: courage, determination, unselfishness, cheerfulness in the face of adversity.

Olafsen went on to serve for four years as a Commando in the Royal Marines, an elite military unit based in the United Kingdom. He went to Afghanistan twice: in 2006, he went to confront the Taliban in Helmand Province for six months, and in 2007, he was sent to do it all over again. His story is filled with good experiences, like the sense of accomplishment, patriotism, and camaraderie, and the opportunity to travel the world. But all good things come at a price. The sacrifices he made for the Corps are significant; he has killed the enemy and he has buried his friends. And in telling his story, Olafsen hopes that he can make sense of it all. This is an honest, gutsy story about the mud and the blood, the triumphs and the tragedies.
Publisher: Toronto : McClelland & Stewart, c2011
ISBN: 9780771068522
Branch Call Number: 958.1047 OLA 2011
Characteristics: xv, 301 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. ; 24 cm


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Sep 01, 2012

The book follows a common format for book about first-hand experiences by members of elite military units. The interesting difference, for me, was that it involved a Canadian who joined a British unit. I thought it a decent read covering the arduous training and ultimate deployment as a combat "squaddie".

Feb 13, 2012

An incredible read on the toughness and dedication required to pass the Royal Marine Commandos selection. The author did a great job of describing his war in Afghanistan and how many of these brave commited warriors won the day on most occasions against the Taliban due to superior fire power and tactics. Recommended reading of a Canadian fighting for the UK and his brothers alongside him.

winter67uk Jul 22, 2011

An excellent read. The colloquial style prompts slight caution at first, but Jake Olafsen's voice turns out to be pitch perfect for the material he's covering. In simple, clean prose Mr. Olafsen communicates the intense commitment and focus that builds up during Royal Marine recruit training. The incredible adversity encountered is chronicled in a straightforward, no-nonsense manner that make for very, very compelling reading. Mr. Olafsen's observation that spit, snot and vomit are simply the price paid for a green beret reminds me of the of the US Marine observation that during training, "pain is just weakness leaving the body." A must-read for anyone trying to understand military esprit de corps, made all the better for being home-grown.

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