The Best Defense

The mother of all reading lists: Some other suggestions for your beach reading

Just to make sure you don't get bored over the summer, here are some other military history reading lists for you:

Rep. Ike Skelton's overview list.

Ten of my own favorites (the list would be a bit different now -- in part because of the interesting comments on this post).

A Pentagon reading list.

A reading list from Guantanamo Bay detainees.

A pre-deployment list for platoon leaders going to Afghanistan.

My list for a friend deploying to Afghanistan:

The 101st Airborne's list for Afghanistan.

And the 10 best post-deployment books.

Here's my list of what to read if you are a civilian going to work at the Pentagon. 

But if you really want to have a fun summer, here is a reading list on terrorism:

Here's one on COIN:

One on intelligence.

Here's D'Este's besties on WWII:

A "gun nut's" list.

A unusual Vietnam War list.

Adm. Stavridis' list of fiction (20 novels).

This guy also has some better suggestions near the end of his interview.

For real obscurity, a Tory's reading list.

To top it off, here are some roundups I did of reading lists:

One -- and two.

And yet another one.

And a study of the solder's load!

For a change, here is a list of books I never finished:

Since then, to my regret, I finished The Education of Henry Adams -- one of the most overrated books I've ever read, along with Liddell Hart's Strategy.

And a list of books about Iraq to avoid.

Finally, once you get tired of reading, here is a list of terrific war movies.

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The Best Defense

Rebecca's War Dog of the Week: USAF Academy evacuates kennels as Colorado wildfire burns too close for comfort

By Rebecca Frankel

Best Defense Chief Canine Correspondent 

In what's now officially been declared a "major federal disaster" and the worst wildfire in Colorado history, the Waldo Canyon fire that started last Saturday and flared through Colorado Springs since Tuesday has now destroyed 346 homes and claimed at least one life. The encroaching flames forced 35,000 people to be evacuated from their homes this week, including the eight MWDs and two handlers -- Whaley and Jensen -- on duty at the USAF Academy kennels.

The fire breached the Academy's grounds on Tuesday, burning "about 10 acres of land along the southwest boundary of the academy's 28-square-mile boundary." When swift winds pushed the fire just two miles south of the kennels, putting them in the line of fire, the call was made to evacuate the dogs. Kennel master Chris Jakubin told me that, "ash was falling" when he got to the kennels on Tuesday and there was "little visibility." The poor air quality was also a big concern and getting the dogs away from the smoke to safe housing became the priority, so the evacuation plan was put into effect and the dogs were brought over to nearby Buckley Air Force Base. Jakubin said Wednesday's evacuation went very smoothly and their friends over at the Buckley kennels lent fast assistance. The transfer took only a few short hours.

I got the chance to spend some time out at the USAF Academy kennels in December where I met MWD Haus -- who's pictured waiting patiently above -- as well as meet some of the handlers and dogs over at Buckley. The Colorado canine community is a tight-knit and uniquely collaborative one and the no-question-about-it support exchanged this week comes as no surprise.

While the wildfire continues to rage and firefighters from all over the country battle to keep the blaze's perimeter in check, yesterday's calm winds seem to have helped steady the situation -- containment is now reportedly at 15 percent. The Academy, which reports today's air quality as "good," will be allowing some evacuees to return back to their base housing later today. Hopefully, MWDs Haus, Boda, Oli, Rruck, Benga, Mack, and the rest of the crew will be settled back home soon. Our war-dog thoughts are in Colorado this week.

Rebecca Frankel, on leave from her FP desk, is currently writing a book about military working dogs, to be published by Free Press.

U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Phillip Houk; Photo courtesy of Chris Jakubin