All of us Griffin fans have put up with a lot over the years while enjoying the bottom line: the characters and the story. We suffer through much of the following in each series: a fifth of each book rehashs previous books; suffer through the fact that apparently a tenth of the American officer corps is wealthy or from old main-line families; suffer through little inaccuracies; and we have to wait up to a year before the next novel comes out - although he does not appear to have finished a series since B.O.W. The series have, however, become formulaic - one could change McCoy's or Frade's insignia and they could be dropped into any of the other series without any real disruption.
The latest, `By Order of the President' is so full of factual errors and apparent editing mistakes that I can not recommend it in good conscience. I really get the impression that Griffin is taking advantage of his readers. The myriad of mistakes makes it hard to read, particularly for those of us who are professional Soldiers and in the intelligence business.
On page 67, DTG is `1545, 7 March 1981'. The next subchapter DTG is `0740, 7 March 1981', eight hours earlier. Oops. The editing errors continue throughout the book.
The real mistakes are hard to believe. He has the Commander, 11 ACR worried about Soviet T-34 tanks coming through the Fulda gap in 1981! I seem to remember being worried about T-63s, T-64s, and such. Page 72 refers to a `Baker Troop', yet the US Army had not used that phonetic term since WWII. Griffin appears to be confusing old Marine terminology with the modern Army. On page 73, a photo caption from the regimental newspaper of 1969 refers to a character as a `WOJG'. In 1969, we had had the numbered Warrant Officer ranks of today for some time. It gets worse - he has a character using a cell phone in 1981, for God's sakes! Later he refers to Warrant Officers as `CWO-3' and `CWO-4' - which are how the Navy/USMC refers to their Warrants. Towards the end of the book he mentions how a `CWO-5' is paid almost as much as a Colonel. The most current Army pay chart shows the difference between the most senior CW5 and a junior COL at almost 2000 dollars a month - in favor of the Colonel; a little more than `almost'!
Page 117: Castillo is on the promotable list for LTC, and that he goes to the bottom of the list to be promoted only if `...some Special Forces LTC retires, or gets dead or promoted...". What crap - the US Army promotion policy has not reflected that system since the 1930s.
Page 121: the story segment is taking place in January 1991, and Griffin refers to the `Boeing AH-64B'. I seem to remember that in 1991, they were still McDonald-Douglas produced, and we were flying the AH64A model.
Throughout the book, he has modern military characters referring to people as `sonofabitches'. Not since the early '60s have Soldiers used that as a negative descriptor. We tend to use the word that starts with `mother' and ends with something else.
He constantly has Soldiers referred to, or using, only their initials for their first and middle names. That's a USMC thing. In the Army, we use full first name, middle initial, and last name. There are a few exceptions to the initials rule, but it tends to be Soldiers like LTC H.R. McMaster - and when you are a war hero, you can pretty much do as you please.
He mentions the `2303d Civil Government Detachment' - we do not have any organizations like that - even if they are used as cover. I think he meant to say the `2303d Civil Affairs Detachment'. Another left over WWII / 1950s term.
He mentions the `Counterintelligence Corps' - we do not have a separate CI Corps anymore, and no one uses that to describe the CI forces we do have.
He talks about General Officers having `...one solid stripe down the seam of their trousers...". On the Army Green uniform (Class A's), US Army Generals have a double stripe down their seam, the rest of us have a single stripe.
He talks about XVIII Airborne Corps Soldiers wearing black berets, and implies that there are only two colors of berets in the Army - back and green! I think that if you go to Fort Bragg, you will see a whole lot of maroon berets being worn by paratroopers, and then in Ranger Battalions, you will see a lot of tan berets. No to mention, the obvious errors like having Soldiers stationed at Bragg wearing desert BDUs all the time on Post. And someone needs to tell Griffin that no one in SOC calls '1st SFOD-A' the `Delta Force' - that's the movies. Professionals call it just `Delta'.
And since when are the people of Somalia described as `Somalians'. My spell checker does not even recognize it as a word. When we were not using other terms like `skinnies', we called them `Somalis' as does the National Geographic. What would Griffin call Afghans, "Afghanians"?
It goes on and on throughout this book - glaring mistakes about military life and operations. For an author who is touted as being able to describe what it is like as a Soldier like no one else, he needs to go back to Army 101 and see how we live now - not in the 1940s/50s - all must be based on Griffin's service in the '40s and `50s. And last, but certainly not least - the whole premise of the Castillo character is just plain silly. To think that a Major in the US Army has the ear of the President and regularly orders General Officers around like Charlie does is stretching the basic WEB format a bit too much.
I wanted to enjoy `By Order of the President', but every other page in my copy is marked up with red pen marks as I highlighted mistakes and inaccuracies. Could have been another great guilty-pleasure read by Griffin, but ...... Not this time! Very disappointing.