War magnifies human emotions and passions: anger becomes rage, guilt becomes desperation, and resentment becomes hatred. In The Grappling Hook and Other Tales from the War in Iraq, U. S. Army veteran Bill Maughan writes of these emotions from the perspective of someone who has been there. With ten poignant tales rich with humor, irony, disdain for hypocrisy, and admiration for leadership, Maughan tells the inside story of the conflict lurking beneath the war’s surface: the human dramas of the soldiers fighting it. From group efforts to neutralize a roadside bomb, to the harassment of a female soldier, from mental illness to middle-aged recruits, Maughan illuminates a hidden world of tragedy, anxiety, and everyday heroism. And in each story, Bill shows the loyalty, fidelity, courage and honor that always develops in the company of soldiers and Marines.
Bill Maughan served in the Marines as a crewchief of an Armored Amphibious Vehicle, from 1978 to 1982 in the Mediterranean, the Caribbean and the Pacific. He returned to civilian life in 1982, honorably discharged a Corporal. After the terrorist attacks on 9/11, Bill enlisted in the Army National Guard. When his unit was deployed, Bill served as a Specialist, then a Sergeant, then a Staff Sergeant in Iraq in 2005 and 2006. Maughan and his unit of U.S. Army Cavalry Scouts patrolled the roads leading from Al Asad Air Base in the Western Iraqi desert to the cities at the center of Iraq. Their nightly mission was to clear the roads of insurgents in advance of the civilian truck convoys that followed. After successfully completing 161 combat missions, Maughan was awarded the Combat Action Badge, the Army Commendation Medal and a number of campaign ribbons.
A father of four, Bill now lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, his youngest daughter and his step-daughter. Bill is Controller for a non-profit agency in Allentown, Pennsylvania and already is writing his next book.