Jay Ireland ('13) is a contributing author to the recently published The Strong Gray Line: War-time Reflections from the West Point Class of 2004. The book, published by Rowman & Littlefield, includes a tribute to each of the fourteen classmates who lost their lives fighting the Global War on Terror, as well as thirteen personal essays that detail some of the most brutal fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. What separates The Strong Gray Line from other war memoirs is the illustration of the endurance of the bond forged at West Point.
This class suffered the highest casualty rate since those that graduated during the Vietnam War. In this book, fourteen of their classmates who lost their lives fighting the Global War on Terror are profiled to help the reader gain an understanding of the bond forged between classmates during time at West Point, a bond that transcends the separation of death. In addition to the stirring profiles, thirteen personal essays detail some of the most brutal fighting of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom in addition to the struggles endured by those on the home front. These stories range from visceral observations of combat to a wife’s anxious wait for her husband to return home. Holistically, these stories define an emotional spectrum that enables the reader to connect not only with the experience of the Class of 2004, but with every man and woman who served their country in a time of war.