SAT & BAF!: Memories of a Tower Rat

Doug DePew
Outskirts Press (2011)
ISBN 9781432771324

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake for Reader Views (12/11) 

Doug DePew relives an important part of his youth as he chronicles the two years he served with the Security Alert Team (SAT) and the Backup Alert Force (BAF) from 1986-1988, in his memoir “SAT & BAF!: Memories of a Tower Rat.” DePew served in C Company, 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment (Pershing) as a U. S. Army 11 B Infantryman at the Waldheide Nuclear Weapons Storage Area.

Because of the secret nature of the assignment and the level of secrecy and high security clearance around the live Pershing II nuclear program, twenty years had to elapse before any details could be told publically. DePew has been careful not to step over allowed parameters throughout his narration.  I would have preferred insight into other areas of his assignment than to the often repetitious details and emphasis on partying. Although the dialog depicts the realism of the time and circumstances, it is filled with enough graphic reiteration to become distracting and distasteful. 

I became involved in DePew’s descriptions of Site Security School and other training missions as well as use of scenic word pictures as he related his opportunity to visit various European countries during his tour of duty in Germany. However, I was disappointed in that I did not feel the book met up to the level the back cover promoted (History/Military/Nuclear Warfare). 

DePew is an engaging writer. His narrative in “SAT & BAF!: Memories of a Tower Rat” is fast-moving, filled with quick wit, genuinely honest and candid. Early reviews indicate that veterans who served in the towers of the Waldheide Nuclear Weapons Storage Area during these tension filled final years of the cold war have been deeply moved by DePew’s writing.


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