Black Hearts and Painted Guns
A Battalion's Journey into Iraq's Triangle of Death
216 Pages, 6 x 9 in, 100 photographs
- January 2023
- In Stock
Kelly Eads joined the 101st Airborne Division soon after 9/11, his experience reflecting the patriotism and commitment of so many young men and women who responded to the attack. He deployed to Iraq twice with the 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment.
Early in their deployment to Iraq, the 2nd Battalion brought the fight directly to the enemy by setting up patrol bases in the local areas where they lived and operated. Soon they built a reputation for themselves, becoming known to the enemy as the Black Hearts—The 502nd had been distinguished on the battlefield by black hearts on their helmets since World War II. Their Scout Platoon became known as Painted Guns due to their practice of camouflaging their rifles.
During Eads’ deployments, the battalion would experience thousands of Improvised Explosive Devices and firefights. They would spend countless hours in blistering 120-degree desert heat, controlling roads and preventing enemy freedom of movement; and would dedicate months to hunting enemy mortar teams and terror cells.
With the help of Dan Morgan, an Infantry officer who deployed multiple times to Iraq and Afghanistan as a commander and operations officer, Eads takes the reader on a rollercoaster of combat experiences during the hunt for the most violent terrorist in Iraq, Abū Muṣʻab Zarqāwī, bringing to life the painstaking and horrid details of combat in a sectarian war. He tells the story of the soldiers’ camaraderie, built through adversity, and the love of family that sustained them.
Military Terms and Ranks
Chapter 1 A Call to Serve
Chapter 2 The Legacy of the 101st Airborne “Screaming Eagles”
Chapter 3 Training for War
Chapter 4 Deployment to Hell
Chapter 5 The Grim Reaper (a.k.a. Route Motorhead)
Chapter 6 Kill Zone
Chapter 7 “Blue on Blue”: The Chaos and Confusion of War
Chapter 8 Patrol Base Gator Swamp
Chapter 9 Operation Glory Light
Chapter 10 Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown
Chapter 11 Offense is the Best Defense
Chapter 12 Battalion Scout Reconnaissance/Sniper Platoon
Chapter 13 Clearing the Chakas
Chapter 14 Keeping up the Pressure
Chapter 15 Heading Home
Chapter 16 The Kitchen Table Battlefield
Appendix I In Memoriam
Appendix II Memorial Photos
"...a page-turner that reads like a novel, made better by the fact that it is true. This is a story about faithful and selfless service to the nation, the valor of America’s 21st century warriors and the sacrifices of the families at home." ~ARMY Magazine
"The authors are both Iraq War veterans, with Eads a veteran of this unit covered in this book. The work is an intimate and well-done memoir of one unit's experiences in Iraq." ~Military Heritage Magazine
"The ending is really why you should read Eads and Morgan’s work because it shows the costs of long and multiple deployments." ~Musings on Iraq