Where Youth and Laughter Go (HB)
Where Youth and Laughter Go: With "The Cutting Edge" in Afghanistan completes LtCol Seth Folsom's recounting of his personal experiences in command over a decade of war. It is the culminating chapter of a trilogy that began with The Highway War: A Marine Company Commander in Iraq in 2006 and continued with In the Gray Area: A Marine Advisor Team at War in 2010.
The chronicle of Folsom's command of 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, "The Cutting Edge," and his harrowing deployment to Afghanistan's volatile Sangin District presents a deeper look into the complexities and perils of modern counterinsurgency operations in America's longest war. Charged with the daunting task of pacifying a region with a long history of violence and instability, Folsom and his Marines struggled daily to wage a dynamic campaign against the shadowy enemy force that held Sangin's population firmly in its grip. With peace and stability always teetering on the brink of collapse, the Marines of "The Cutting Edge" confronted their own mortality as they conducted endless patrols through Sangin's minefields while fighting to win the hearts and minds of the Afghan villagers.
No other books have been published from the perspective of a Marine infantry battalion commander in Afghanistan. It was Folsom's job, as the unit commander, to lead his Marines under impossible circumstances. LtCol Folsom made the unusual decision to patrol with his rifle squads every day through Sangin, where his Marines dodged improvised explosive devices and sniper fire from an invisible enemy. As his tour progressed and casualties mounted, he found his objectivity evaporating and the love for his men growing. Where Youth and Laughter Go is more than a blood-and-guts war story, it is a jarring, "boots on the ground"-level examination of the myriad challenges and personal dilemmas that today's young service members face as the United States approaches its final endgame in Afghanistan.
About the Author
Lieutenant Colonel Seth W. B. Folsom was born in Monterey, California in 1972 and grew up in a Navy family. He attended the Marine Corps' Officer Candidates School in 1992 and 1993 and graduated from the University of Virginia in 1994. He graduated from The Basic School and the Infantry Officers Course in 1995.
His operational assignments include Platoon Commander, 1st Platoon, Company "A," 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance (LAR) Battalion; Company Commander, Company "D," 1st LAR Battalion; Team Leader, Military Transition Team 0733; and Commanding Officer, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines. He has deployed twice with Marine Expeditionary Units, and he has served two tours in Iraq and one tour in Afghanistan.
Folsom's staff assignments include Officer Candidates School, Headquarters Marine Corps, 1st Marine Division, and the Joint Staff. His education includes a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from the University of Virginia, a Master of Arts in National Security Affairs from the Naval Postgraduate School, and a Master of Arts in Stategic Studies from the Marine Corps War College.
Folsom is the author of "The Highway War: A Marine Company Commander in Iraq," "In the Gray Area: A Marine Advisor Team at War," and "Where Youth and Laughter Go: With 'The Cutting Edge' in Afghanistan." He and his wife, Ashley, reside in Woodbridge, Virginia with their daughters Emery and Kinsey.