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Interview with the Author, Daniel L. Pinion:

  •  Why a book?  

I think the easiest answer is, “I don’t know.”  I asked myself this question many times.  I know the importance of remembering my Soldiers weighed heavily on me. I felt driven by the need to make sure these stories and great Soldiers would be remembered-- there are life lessons here that I felt should be shared. Maybe, subconsciously, I also felt delving into these stories on a personal level would be therapeutic, at least in the sense that I could rest in knowing these tales have been recorded in some fashion. As I began to type our stories on my computer, I experienced all the grief, laughter, and emotions as if I were reliving the moments. It was hard and joyous. I think I may also have been compelled to write this book in particular because I continually revisit these memories in my mind. They bring me comfort. I deeply miss my previous life, all of it and all of those in it. I will be forever grateful to and cherish those with whom I had the privilege to serve. Chop that Sh*t Up! is my testament of love for the great Soldiers I was honored to meet, know and serve beside. In the end, I just knew and know it was important to share these stories.

  • Where did the idea come from?

This is much easier than the previous question.  I was sitting at Fort Benning, GA and I was just informed that I couldn’t be a CSM as planned. I was placed on medical hold while they tried to figure out what was wrong with me.  Suddenly it was all flashing before me. Every morning, I would show up to work and go to my colleague’s office where we would bullshit around and tell stories. We would be laughing so hard our ribs hurt.  I recalled how we noticed others hovering around to listen-in or to join-in. The idea was conceived there. I told Greg, my colleague, “Imagine if everyone in the office told one story from their career. We could put that in a book and sell millions!”  I realized, in that moment, that I could look forward and that I didn’t need the office; I had many of the stories already--enough to fill a book, if not a few books. It was at this point that I knew, I just needed the courage to write it.

  • Why “Chop that Sh*t Up?” as a title? 

I like this question. The title is fully explained in the first chapter of the book, but it is a life lesson that carried me from a Private to the highest enlisted rank achievable, Command Sergeant Major.  However, the metaphor applies to everything we do. It means overcoming obstacles that look huge and complicated. Break things down into pieces and you can overcome them one at time and eventually,... all of them!

  • Is there anything you want to say to the soldiers in the book, or those you lost, or those you served with? 

First, I am blessed to have had the opportunity to serve my country and its way of life.  I still choke-up listening to our National Anthem and I truly SERVED our country.  Next, there are some stories in the book that taught me valuable lessons. Some learned the wrong way, but overall, I think I did ok as a leader and a Soldier. To my brothers and sisters-in-arms, I love you all so much and I miss the times we had together.  Nothing in this world can replace the bond that Soldiers have, absolutely nothing.  I was fortunate to serve with so many great Soldiers and I consider myself blessed for that opportunity.  Some names have been changed in the book to protect the innocent or their reputations. To the fallen, those I lost…this is the hardest part because for the rest of my life I will consider myself a failure for not being able to protect them.  Clint, Brad, Marquees, and David, I love you and I can’t wait to be with you at Fiddler’s Green soon enough.  I hope I told your story accurately, with love, compassion and truth. You deserve to have your story told! To the Families, I am sorry I did not keep my promise to you. I tried to save them and protect them. I could not be more deeply and profoundly sorry.  May their stories and sacrifice live on forever, through this book, in our hearts and our memories. 

  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

​​There are a million things I wish I could say or write, maybe I will muster the courage and get it all out one day. However for now and the sake of brevity, I would just like to share these two thoughts: One, when you read the book, you can follow a change in me that I didn’t call out more obviously in my journey from a young man, to a naive leader, to a mature and confident warrior, to a broken senior leader. Most Soldiers who served our country and deployed to war, following same or similar path as me, were not as fortunate as I am to recover enough to survive after. I lost two brothers to suicide who could not get the help needed for the horrors they experienced. We MUST do better for them and us. Lastly, there are choices and paths I should have taken, but didn’t; I have accepted there was a reason behind each of them. I am on borrowed time. I hope this borrowed time lasts as long as possible to share these stories and so many more that I have from my time as a Soldier and a leader.  I will see my brothers and sisters again in Valhalla and at Fiddler’s Green-- I promise when we are all together again, we will laugh until our bellies and ribs hurt and I will hold each of you tight in my arms and tell you, "I love you!"

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