Writing out your thoughts can be therapeutic exercise, and something that has had a special impact on Web Design & Development graduate Robert M. Tanner III. Robert is a former United States Marine Corps infantryman, and took to writing as a way to process his experiences during his service in Iraq. What started as a personal exercise continued to take shape over half a decade, and recently resulted in Robert publishing his first book, Memoirs of an Outlaw: Life in the Sandbox.
Since its release on April 15, the response for the work has been overwhelmingly positive, garnering press from online media sites for Robert’s honest portrayal of his life in the Marine Corps outfit Outlaw Company. The book has also been a commercial success, having been the number one Hot New Release on Amazon for books on the Iraq War, and number three overall on Amazon in the same category.
Following its debut, we spoke with Robert briefly about his writing, and the response he’s gotten from sharing his experiences with the public.
Full Sail: When did you begin working on the project?
Robert Tanner: I’ve been writing the book since 2006. When I first started, I did it because I wanted to get memories from my times in Fallujah as an infantryman out. As I continued to write, my friends and family began to read it and persuaded me to make everything into a book. I wrote the rest of it on and off for the next six years, finally finishing up the draft in November of 2012, about a month after I finished my coursework with Full Sail.
FS: What kind of response have you gotten from it?
RT: Readers that I’ve never met have given glowing reviews. They are thrilled that I wrote a book that doesn’t necessarily glorify combat but instead talks to the realities of war, focusing on the daily life of a Marine in a hostile combat zone. Men that I served with have thanked me for telling our story and getting it out there for others to read. In a way, it has acted as the first step in the healing process for some. I know that it was the first step for me.
FS: Is there something you’re most proud of now that it’s released?
RT: The story is now out there for everyone to read and understand the hardships our service members make on a daily basis. The story is out there so that our children and grandchildren can read about the accomplishments and sacrifices of the Outlaws. The story is out there so that the memories of our brothers that fell in combat will always be remembered. So, when someone asks what I’m most proud of, that is what I tell them – the story of the Outlaws, my brothers, will never be forgotten.