Interview with memoirist Dennis Woods

cover of black flagsToday’s special guest is writer Dennis Woods to chat with me about his memoir, Black Flag Journals One Soldiers Experience in America’s Longest War.

During his virtual book tour, Dennis will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit his other tour stops and enter there, too!

CSM Woods combat tours include:

  • Operation Urgent Fury, Grenada, 82d Airborne Division.
  • Operation Desert Shield / Desert Storm, Saudi Arabia – Iraq, 82d Airborne Division.
  • Operation Desert Fox 1998, Qatar, 5th Group Special Forces.
  • OEF 2 Afghanistan, 82d Airborne Division.
  • OIF 1 Iraq, First Armored Division.
  • OIF 6 Iraq, First Armored Division.
  • OEF X Afghanistan, 173D Airborne Brigade Combat Team.
  • OEF XIII Afghanistan, 191st Infantry Brigade

CSM Woods civilian education includes a Master of Education, (training & leadership) from North Central University, Prescott AZ, and a Bachelor of Science from Excelsior, Albany, New York.

Military education includes the United States Sergeants Majors Academy class # 58, Army force management course, Jump Master, Drill Sergeant, US Army Recruiter, Infantry Small Arms Master Gunner, Artillery Master Gunner, Amphibious Warfare leaders’ course (USMC), Anti-Armor Leaders course, Machine Gun Leaders course, Artillery Mechanics repair course, Small Arms repair course, Nuclear Biological Chemical defense, and all levels of air load planning and hazmat certification USAF.

CSM Woods awards include; one Distinguished Service medal, one Legion Of Merit,( 5) Bronze Star Medals, 5 Meritorious Service Medals, 4 ARCOM, 4 AAM, 1 Humanitarian service medal, 2 Armed Forces Expeditionary medals, Afghanistan and Iraq service medals. German Jump Master Wings, Qatar Jump wings as part of 5th Group, Netherlands Jumpmaster wings. Other awards include; Department of Defense “Inventor of the year” (2003) with 45 separate inventions. CSM Woods saved the United States Government over one Billion Dollars through cost avoidance. He is also the first recipient of the GRUBER award for an outstanding field artillery professional.

CSM Woods is credited by the US Army Smart Ideas program as the inventor of;

  • The 105mm Howitzer night direct fire sight system M913 GELON.
  • The 155mm towed Howitzer night sight system.
  • The dual use day/ night direct fire sight reticule.
  • The Dual optic MILES Laser trainer.
  • The Urban Assault kit (PALADIN) improved crew protection, 155mm system.

On his most recent tour to Afghanistan, CSM Woods pioneered the first use of artillery training rounds in combat as a form of scalable fire support designed to limit civilian death and collateral damage. He is the author of, Black Flag Journals One Soldiers Experience in America’s Longest War, and numerous magazine and newspaper articles, including training pamphlets concerning Artillery, night vision, and combat operations.

Welcome, Dennis. Please tell us a little bit about your memoir.
The story of America’s longest war is complicated and difficult to convey, unless you were there. Dennis Woods was there. By following his stories in Iraq and Afghanistan, we can sense the enormity of his combat experiences. Originally written for his daughter, Black Flag Journals is taken from the author’s nine battle book journals. It covers his time from the fall of the Twin Towers through his last combat tour.

Black Flag Journals contains not just stories from the first war of the new century, but a day-by-day record of events that other veterans may use to relate their own experiences. All who enjoy real life stories, and followers of history will connect with this first person account of America’s longest war.


Excerpt from Black Flag Journals:
Rules of engagement

At higher echelons of command, the rules of engagement were used as a rheostat. That rheostat could be dialed up or down to adjust the level of violence. The level of violence was often adjusted to achieve military and political goals. At the soldier level, the rules allowed one to “kill with a conscience, if necessary.” I mention this now as, over time, the rules of engagement and what constituted a legal engagement would change from time to time based on conditions.


How long did it take you to write this book?
6-9 months of after-hours work as I already had journals and battle records to work from.

Do you listen to music while writing? If so what?
For me, its heavy metal like, Avenge Sevenfold, Ozzy Osborne, Five Finger Death Punch, Black Sabbath, Metallica, stuff like that.

What is something you’d like to accomplish in your writing career next year?
Compile stories of the people I served with from their perspective. Battle is like a car wreck, perspectives vary based on location at the time of the event.

What would we find under your bed?
Now, power cords and a tuxedo cat named Heide.

What was the scariest moment of your life?
In war I’ve had a few. For the purpose of this interview, it’s immediately following one of my gun trucks being hit by a roadside bomb in Iraq. A bomb large enough to immobilize and silence its occupants. In this experience as I approached the stricken vehicle, the bullet proof glass was stained-black-blocking-my-view, part of the vehicle’s carriage was ripped away indicating that the armor was breached, my radio calls were answered with silence. It was that dreaded moment as I reached for the door handle, oblivious to the gun fire around me, fearful for what may have happened to my friends inside. Fearful for what I may have to do next…. At other times not war related it’s almost any time my wife or daughter is atop a ladder.

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Thanks for being here today, Dennis.

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7 thoughts on “Interview with memoirist Dennis Woods

  1. Dennis Woods says:

    Thank you for hosting my book based on 9 journals that I kept for my daughter while in Afghanistan and Iraq. Black Flag Journals, one soldier’s experience in America’s longest war.

    Should one have questions concerning the sudden demise of Afghan forces facing the Taliban. Or the plight of a generation of Afghan women suddenly under Sharia Law, this book serve as an explainer.

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