About Lt. Col. Tom Kratman

Kratman is a political refugee and defector from the People’s Republic of Massachusetts. The mechanism of his defection was enlisting into the Army in 1974 at age 17, which deeply distressed his high school (Boston Latin, founded 1635) as they thought he had “higher and better things” ahead of him. He served two years as an enlisted grunt with the 101st Airborne and one and a half with the 193rd Infantry Brigade in Panama, getting 2 years of collegedone in the process (when he wasn’t in the field he was taking courses). At that point the Army gave Kratman a scholarship and sent him off to Boston College to finish his degree and obtain a commission. Tom graduated, cum laude, in 1980 and returned to the Army as an infantry officer. Tom served another three year tour in Panama, then more schooling at Benning, then 4+ years with the 24th Infantry Division near Savannah, Georgia. Fun times then ceased for a while while he did two years in Recruiting Command.

Saddam Hussein (PBUH) saved Tom from this by invading Kuwait. He has been told that he was the only captain to actually escape from USAREC for the war. Tom arranged a transfer to Special Operations Command and went through the active part of the campaign attached to 5th Special Forces. He continued slurping at the Army trough until it became painfully clear that the bottom had dropped out of the militantly and violently aggressive anti-communism market and that he was not going to like the rather PC direction the Army (which was, arguably, the only thing he ever selflessly loved) was heading in.

Among other things, Tom earned a Combat Infantry Badge and the Ranger Tab.

Tom got out in 92 and went to law school. He hated it but was far too pig headed to quit. He became a lawyer in 95 and quickly realized that what he had felt about law school was but a pale shadow of true hate. Stayed in the Reserves and took every tour he could to avoid practicing law. And when the reserves had nothing interesting there was MPRI (“white collar mercenaries R us”).

Saddam Hussein (PBUH) once again stepped to the fore and saved Tom from the continued practice of law. In February of 2003 the Army called him up to participate in the invasion of Iraq. Still, God has a sense of humor. While awaiting a flight over Tom was informed he had a 100% blockage in his right coronary artery (imagine his chagrin) and wasn’t going anywhere fun anytime soon. Instead, he spent eight months stuck at Fort Bragg, then a few in the DC area, before finally being sent on to be on the faculty of the Army War College as Director, Rule of Law, for the US Army Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute. Keep in mind that divine sense of humor previously mentioned.

Tom retired in 2006, bored out of his gourd and finally ready to admit his love affair with the Army was over. He’s returned to Virginia and, instead of practicing law, writes full time for Baen. (That means, NO, don’t ask for legal advice because there’s no more confidentiality with him. He’s outa da bidnez.) His books published to date include A State of DisobedienceA Desert Called Peace, and Carnifex, with a sequel to the last two, The Lotus Eaters, due out in Spring, 2010. His collaborations with John Ringo include Watch on the RhineYellow Eyes, and, coming in October, 2009, The Tuloriad.

Tom’s married to a (really beautiful) girl from rural western Panama. Yolanda and he have 3 children and 3 grandchildren. Here’s a Photo of Daughter Sarah and a NEW photo of Tom’s daughter, Julia, and three grandkids. Yoli and Tom make their home in Blacksburg, VA.

Books

A State of Disobedience

In the long war against terrorism, the US Government had taken on extraordinary powers. And now that the war was won, powerful forces in the government had no intention of relinquishing those powers. As in 1860, the country was on the verge of civil war. And as in 1860, a leader arose to save the country but it was not the President this time. Instead, the Governor of Texas was the woman of destiny. And, though the Federal Government had more guns and troops, David was about to give Goliath a run for his money.

Watch on the Rhine

Legacy of the Aldenata, aka Posleen War books In the dark days after the events in the book Gust Front, but before the primary invasion, the Chancellor of Germany faces a critical decision. Over the years, with military cutbacks, the store of experienced military personnel had simply dwindled. After the destruction of Northern Virginia, he realized that it was necessary to tap the one group he had sworn never, ever, to recall: the few remaining survivors of the Waffen SS. Watch On the Rhine is perhaps the most unbiased, and brutal, look at the inner workings of the Waffen SS in history. Meticulously researched, it explores all that was good, and evil, about the most infamous military force in history using the backdrop of the Posleen invasion as a canvas. published August 2005, with John Ringo

Yellow Eyes

Earth invaded! The Posleen aggressors eating what population they don’t outright vaporize! Now the aliens are closing in on a vital choke point for the humans: the Panama Canal. No canal, no food. No food, the North American resistance crumbles, and hope fades. What’s worse, slimeball appeasers within the U.S. State Department (surprise!) are set to sell out the resistance to another race of would-be galactic overlords. One problem for our enemies: when the chips are down for humans, heroes have a habit of arising: A captain of industry who whips a corrupt and inefficient Central American kleptocracy into fighting shape within weeks. A retired Panamanian woman warrior who returns to the field of battle to rally her people in a last stand to save their children. And a battleship that is literally brought to consciousness by the echoes of ancient naval tradition (and a sentient A.I.) to fight ferociously for her country and the captain she’s come to love. It’s a rip-roaring epic of tactics, heroism, and survival as only two masters of military SF (both of whom served in Panama during their stint in the Army) can tell it.

A Desert Called Peace

Carrera Series Columbia has consolidated power and risen against the oppression of Earth’s corrupt Caliphate. But when Salafi madmen bent on a new jihad kill FSC Captain Patrick Hennessey’s family in a cowardly attack, they create an enemy that will show even less mercy than they do. A legendary warrior is born: Carrera, the scourge of Salafism. He will forge an army from the decrepit remains of a military in a failing state. He will find those who killed his family. He will destroy them utterly. And he will try like hell to not become exactly like the enemy he is fighting. Only when he is finished will there be peace: the peace of an empty wind as it blows across a desert strewn with the bones of Carrera’s enemies.

Carnifex

Revenge: it won’t bring your wife and kids back, but it might help with the nightmares. Patricio Carrera has been waging what amounts to a private world war to bring to justice the murderers of his family. He’s raised an army and air force and used them. He’s raised a fleet and he’s about to use that. He’s suborned one republic and is about to undermine another. He’s tracked his enemies across half a world, breaking, in the process, any notion of international law that stood in his way. Now he’s deployed his legions to Pashtia, penultimate hideout of the Salafi Ikhwan who have made him what he has become. But with each step further from his home, revenge seems no closer. And with each step he leaves behind him a little of his dwindling humanity. Revenge is a dish best served cold. Yet the trail itself grows cold, as cold as the snow-capped, windswept mountains of Pashtia. Only Carrera’s hate still burns hot, and that’s a fire that is slowly consuming him.

Caliphate

Demography is destiny. In the 22nd century European deathbed demographics have turned the continent over to the more fertile Moslems. Atheism in Europe has been exterminated. Homosexuals are hanged, stoned or crucified. Such Christians as remain are relegated to dhimmitude, a form of second class citizenship. They are denied arms, denied civil rights, denied a voice, and specially taxed via the Koranic yizya. Their sons are taken as conscripted soldiers while their daughters are subject to the depredations of the continent’s new masters. In that world, Petra, a German girl sold into prostitution as a slave at the age of nine to pay her family’s yizya, dreams of escape. Unlike most girls of the day, Petra can read. And in her only real possession, her grandmother’s diary, a diary detailing the fall of European civilization, Petra has learned of a magic place across the sea: America.

The Tuloriad

Of the once innumerable battle clans of the Posleen only a handful survive. And that on the sufferance of a group of despised Indowy and Himmit. Plucked from the maelstrom on Earth they are cast out into the eternal blackness of the stars with only a slighltly insane Indowy and a computer virus to guide them. What follows is a trail of tears and remembrance as the Posleen retrace the footsteps of their ancestors in a search for their homeworld. A search to determine if the Posleen posess the one thing no Human would give them credit for: A soul. Returned to their beginnings, the question remains: Is there a new path for the Tular Posleen?

The Lotus Eaters

Sometimes paranoia is just a heightened state of awareness. Carrera’s won his war, and inflicted a horrific revenge upon his enemies. But there are wars after wars. The Tauran Union is planning an attack. The criminals of neighboring states are already attacking, and threatening to embroil him in a war with the planet’s premier power. His only living son is under fire among the windswept mountains of Pashtia. An enemy fleet is hunting his submarines. His organization has been infiltrated by spies. One of the two governments of his adopted country, Balboa, is trying to destroy everything he’s built and reinstitute rule by a corrupt oligarchy. Worst of all, perhaps, he, himself, bearing a crushing burden of guilt, isn’t quite the man he once was. Fortunately, the man he once was, was lucky enough to marry the right woman . . . . The Lotus Eaters is the direct sequel to A Desert Called Peace and Carnifex.

Countdown: The Liberators

Old soldiers never die… except inside, when they lack a reason to live. Old soldier Wes Stauer is dying inside, from sheer lack of purpose. And then comes the knock on the door: “Our leader’s son and heir has been kidnapped. We don’t know where he is. We need you to get him back for us. The people who have him are numerous, warlike, and well armed. But money is no object.” And then old soldiers-sailors and airmen, too-stop fading away and come back into sharp focus.

The Amazon Legion

On the colony planet of Terra Nova, Carrera has achieved his revenge, destroying those who had destroyed his life by killing his wife and children in a terrorist strike. And, with this help of his second wife, he has thwarted an attempted coup that would have restored the rule of the oligarchy and undone his hard-won victory. But his fight is not over yet… A legendary warrior is born: Carrera, the scourge of Salafism. He will forge an army from the decrepit remains of a military in a failing state. He will find those who killed his family. He will destroy them utterly. And he will try like hell to not become exactly like the enemy he is fighting. The problem of the Tauran Union’s control of the Transitway between Terra Nova and Earth remains, as does the problem of the nuclear armed United Earth Peace Fleet, orbiting above the planet. The Taurans will not leave, and the Balboans?a proud people, with much recent success in war – will not tolerate that they should remain. And yet, with one hundred times the population and three or four hundred times the wealth, the Tauran Union outclasses little Balboa in almost every way, even without the support of Old Earth. Sadly, they have that support. Everything, everyone, will have to be used to finish the job of freeing the country and, if possible, the planet. The children must fight. The old must serve, too. And the women? This is their story, the story of Balboa’s Tercio Amazona, the Amazon Regiment.

Countdown: M Day

War is brutal. Colonel Wes Stauer gets it. He ought to. He was once one of war’s most brutal practitioners not to mention one of its most effective and least bloody. Brutal yes; stupid no. Now, not only must Stauer command his crack outfit of former comrades and pull off yet another miracle mission, he must also harness and direct the brute within himself a beast he will need in order to destroy an intelligent enemy who is as implacable as Stauer himself. Okay, almost as implacable. There will be war. And there will be warriors like Wes Stauer who have the know-how and, once set in motion, the unstoppable professional drive, to see the bad guys to their graves and destroy every last earthly piece of their nasty legacies.

Countdown: H Hour

Welcome to the Philippines outback. It’s a true garden spot, if you happen to like drug running, bush-bound revolutionary movements, Balkanized tribal warfare, illegal weapons trading, and kidnapping for fun and profit. It’s hostage rescue time once again for Terry Welch’s special operations company. But this is turning out to be one of those missions. Starting with no clue as to the hostage’s whereabouts topped off by Welch and his crew having to endure a rifle company of hated competitors supposedly sent along for reinforcement. Part of the territory for Welch. But then an attack on both companies’ home bases leaves families and friends under threat of death and any available support scurrying to defend. Worse, advance team members sent to reconnoiter have been taken hostage as well. No help, no backup, team members in the soup. Welch knows there’s only one solution: do whatever it takes. This is H Hour. And the fight is on.

Come and Take Them

Carrera. Relentless. Machiavellian. Without compunction. Victorious. Pity his enemies. Be thankful he is on the side of freedom from totalitarian domination. On the colony planet of Terra Nova, soldier turned political leader Carrera has achieved his revenge, destroying those who killed his wife and children in a terrorist strike, and helping to establish a free country. But Carrera’s fight is not over. War with the Tauran Union is inevitable. Carrera has been preparing his new country for this all-out conflict for years, intending to drive out the last vestige of foreign imperialism in Balboa, the Tauran Union Security Force. He doesn’t care that he’s outnumbered one hundred to one. He doesn’t care that the Taurans are one thousand times wealthier. A true Machiavellian, Carrera is convinced that gold cannot always find good soldiers, but that good soldiers can always find gold. After all, his good soldiers have already found quite a bit. Moreover, he’s been preparing for the war he intends to start and fight on his own terms, while the TU has been preparing for a progressive fantasy. But then his own government calls a halt even as the commander of the United Earth Peace Fleet, High Admiral Marguerite Wallenstein, injects a dose of realism and spine into the Tauran Union. Any other government, giving similar orders, Carrera would overthrow without hesitation. But this is his own creation; he must follow these orders. But the Taurans are provoking Balboa mercilessly, and Carrera knows that sooner or later, he must fight—only now the task will be more difficult and more bloody. No matter. When that time comes, Carerra knows he will do whatever it takes to win. He is, after all, Carrera.
Not many people think of it this way, but the Boloverse, as in the late Keith Laumer's Bolos and the spin-offs, is one of the most liberal themes in science fiction. It's especially funny precisely because almost nobody understands that it's liberal. Why do I say it's liberal? Because it's all about the easy, certain, and reliable programming of altruistic values in sentient beings. Brother, sister, that's the penultimate CORE of liberalism. Interestingly, since the stories can move even me, it suggests to me that we ALL have some liberal in us.

Big Boys Don't Cry isn't a Bolo story, either in the special military technical details or in the theme. What it is, though, is a deconstruction of that liberal meme on the easy, certain, and reliable programming of altruism in sentient beings.

It's also, I think, a pretty good story.

Big Boys Don't Cry

Not many people think of it this way, but the Boloverse, as in the late Keith Laumer’s Bolos and the spin-offs, is one of the most liberal themes in science fiction. It’s especially funny precisely because almost nobody understands that it’s liberal. Why do I say it’s liberal? Because it’s all about the easy, certain, and reliable programming of altruistic values in sentient beings. Brother, sister, that’s the penultimate CORE of liberalism. Interestingly, since the stories can move even me, it suggests to me that we ALL have some liberal in us. Big Boys Don’t Cry isn’t a Bolo story, either in the special military technical details or in the theme. What it is, though, is a deconstruction of that liberal meme on the easy, certain, and reliable programming of altruism in sentient beings. It’s also, I think, a pretty good story.

A Pillar of Fire by Night (COMING OCTOBER 23, 2018)

Carrera’s held off his enemies coming by sea from the north, in the process dealing the naval and amphibious forces of the Zhong Empire a stinging defeat. The Zhong won’t soon forget the blood-stained waters and the heaped up bodies on the shores of Balboa’s Isla Real. Now, though, his adopted country of Balboa is under assault from the east, from the south, from the west, from the air, and from space. The Zhong, smarting from the butchery around the island, have bounced back and forced a lodgment east of the capital. Their lodgment is still a-building but when it is done Carrera can expect several hundred thousand brave and determined Zhong to show up on his barely defended flank. The Taurans, remembering their military roots, have assaulted Balboa from the south, taking half the area of, and cutting, the Transitway that joins Terra Nova’s Mar Fusioso and her Shimmering Sea. In the process, they’ve cut off and besieged the second city of the country, Cristobal, trapping inside the city Carrera’s Fourth Corps, and overrunning and capturing a large portion of Carrera’s artillery train. West of Cristobal, the Taurans have created, almost from scratch, a series of small ports and airfields to support their siege. Inside the town, a sense of desperation is growing among the men and women of the Fourth Corps: Has their leader forgotten about or abandoned them? Meanwhile another Tauran Expeditionary force secures Balboa’s eastern neighbor, Santa Josefina, as a base against them. In space, the United Earth Peace Fleet, under the Command of High Admiral Marguerite Wallenstein, keeps as low a profile as possible, all the time spying and feeding intelligence to both Zhong and Tauran. It’s beginning to look like the game is up for Balboa and Patricio Carrera. But Carrera’s been planning this war for fifteen years. He certainly hopes his enemies think they’re winning.

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