Saber’s Edge

A Combat Medic in Ramadi, Iraq

Thomas A. Middleton

The National Guardsman, the citizen soldier called upon to fight for this nation in a time of war, is one of the least understood — and perhaps one of the most compelling — figures of the Iraq War. Saber’s Edge is the story of a middle-aged Vermont firefighter called upon to be a soldier in the worst place on earth — Ramadi, Iraq. In a few short weeks Thomas A. Middleton went from being a suburban dad to a combat medic traveling between platoons, filling in for other medics and engaging in some of the fiercest and most crucial fighting of the war. This is the war as experienced from the ground level: days of tedium interspersed with the adrenalin of combat; moments of lighthearted laughter broken by the sorrow of loss. This is also the story of the unique wartime perspective of our guardsmen. Unlike the raw, unformed young recruit, the mature guardsman often comes with the burdens of family, experience, and a developed sense of self. Accordingly, Sgt. Middleton’s story chronicles the inner conflict created by his long-time professional role as a healer and his newfound life as a warrior in the urban battlefields of Iraq. Thrust into a culture and theater of war that he is little equipped or trained for, the author tries to make sense of his actions. Coarsened by combat and increasingly disdainful of the local population, he receives solace and insight from his life-long faith and ultimately emerges as a man who understands his role in the world. Saber’s Edge is also the story of the Green Mountain Boys of Task Force Saber: a story of comradeship and communion amid fierce street fighting in a crucial theater of the Iraq War (the eventual site of the “Al Anbar Awakening”). Based on the author’s first-hand experiences and interviews with other soldiers, Saber’s Edge presents a riveting account of modern urban warfare and the inspiring story of one man reconciling his actions in warfare.

Paper: $19.95 | E-book: $14.99
ISBN-13: 9781584659549
Pages: 252 | Size: 6 in. x 9 in.
Date Published: September 15, 2009


  • It's a harrowing tale, seen through his unique perspective as a combat medic.…graphic descriptions and wry gallows humor mixed with reflections on duty and wartime ethics.

    The Times Argus (Barre
  • Middleton's book gives readers a glimpse into the world that few people outside the military know: The horrors of combat, the emotional struggles of trying to balance the need to kill with the Christian admonition of "thou shall not kill," and the emotional acceptance of the ultimate reality of war. . . Middleton, a lifelong Catholic, acknowledges he killed people in Iraq. He also talks about the spiritual journey he went on to reconcile the commandment against killing with warfare and protecting his country, his fellow soldiers and himself.

    Stars and Stripes

About the Author

Thomas A. Middleton

Thomas A. Middleton is an Assistant Fire Marshal and Public Information Officer with the Burlington Fire Department and was a long-time volunteer firefighter and EMT. He served as a combat medic in Iraq as part of Task Force Saber from 2004 to 2005 and as a member of the Vermont National Guard. He lives with his family in Essex, Vermont.

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