Five Wars: A Soldier’s Journey to Peace is a memoir and compilation of short stories that connects the experiences of a 29 year Army veteran of two tours in Iraq, and one each in Afghanistan and Bosnia with his most dangerous war of coming home.
The stories weave events over a lifetime from a basketball player growing up in Southern Illinois to the leader of soldiers in combat, advisor to the most senior officer in the Afghan National Army and then as a husband and father who fails to recognize that war changed him until it was almost too late.
It is the perspective of a soldier who never intended to remain in the Army past his initial tour. However, the pursuit of honor, sense of duty, and the brother and sisterhood of those with whom he served alongside kept him in for nearly three decades. It also offers a glimpse into the evolution of warfare from the "shock and awe" of Desert Storm, to "peace enforcement" in Bosnia, and finally America's longest war of counterinsurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan. Finally, it is a cautionary tale to all Americans of the cost of war and our obligation to participate in a dialogue with our national leaders in the decision of "if and when" to go to war.
Five Wars is a personal account of the psychological impact of combat, moral injury, and the struggle with PTSD. It describes one soldier's journey from the grand adventure of war to coming home where he finds himself on the brink of self destruction. However, family, friends and mental health professionals enable the healing process where he discovers his place as a healthy member of the community and learns that service to one's nation does not end when the uniform is taken off for the final time.
"Fred Johnson is one of the best and most inspirational leaders with whom I have served."
General David H. Petraeus (USA, RET)