Name: Michael BarfieldAge: 44Job: Army contractor, retired sergeant major, author of “Twenty Years and a Wake Up ...,” a story of his decades in the Army. The book is now available on

So you wrote a book about your years in the Army? Tell us about it. They just sent me authors’ copies three days ago. One I sent to my mother, and the release date worldwide will be April 4. I was 17 when I joined the Army. It’s about me from age 17 to age 44, from private to sergeant major. It’s all the trouble I got into, things I’ve seen, people that were killed. The funny things and the not-so-funny things. I wrote the book the way I talk, the way my infantry peers talk. We use the F-word as a comma.

Why did you decide to chronicle your life? I came (to Baumholder) in 2002. When I had time, I decided to jot down some of my ideas. I thought: I led a rambunctious life, so I’ll put it down on paper.

How long did it take you to write? It took from 2002 to last year. I finished it last year around spring. Since then, I had to keep rereading it and revising it. I’m also in the process of publishing children’s books.

What do you like about writing? You get to learn a whole lot about yourself. I get to learn a lot about myself and entertain people.

What’s the hardest part about publishing a book that people might not know? The hardest thing is actually doing it. I’ve spoke to a lot of people and I say I wrote a book, and they say, “Yeah, right.” The biggest problem is just doing it. Everybody’s got a story. You have to do what you say and not just talk about it.

What was your writing methodology, or what kind of system did you have, if any? I did no more than two pages a day. If I had a weekend, I’d write about five, but no more. When I was writing it, I was writing it in single spacing. Then you have to read it over. Would they care? Do they care about this or that? You have to look and really see what’s interesting for the book.

What’s the hardest thing about being a sergeant major that people might not know? Sometimes you’re placed in the middle of situations when you have to appease your boss and take care of the soldiers. You have to be strong on both fronts.

Any similarities between the two jobs? It gets kind of lonely. You can’t talk to a lot of other people. You can only talk to other sergeants major on the level. And when you’re a writer, it’s lonely because you write alone. You’re alone in both segments.

Know someone whose accomplishments, talents, job, hobby, volunteer work, awards or good deeds qualify them for 15 minutes of fame? How about someone whose claim to glory is a bit out of the ordinary — even, dare we say, oddball? Send the person’s name and contact information to:

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now