Author Recounts Life of Military Service in New Book

Author Recounts Life of Military Service in New Book

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

The U.S. Army has been through remarkable changes since the move to the all-volunteer force almost 50 years ago.

Colonel R.D. Hooker, US Army retired, serves as a first-hand witness to those changes as he recounts his decades of service in the latest title in the AUSA Book Program, The Good Captain: A Personal Memoir of America at War.

Hooker enlisted in the Army in 1975 as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division, and after a couple of years headed to West Point as a cadet. After graduating, he served for thirty years as an Army officer, commanding paratroopers at company, battalion, and brigade level, in peace and at war, around the world.

In other assignments, he taught at West Point and served in the offices of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the Secretary of the Army, and the Chief of Staff of the Army. He also served in the National Security Council for multiple presidential administrations.

The AUSA Book Program sat down with Colonel Hooker to discuss his memoir and his dedication to the Army and the country.


AUSA: To begin, given that you retired from a distinguished 32-year military career as a colonel, what’s the significance of the title The Good Captain?

Hooker: As a young company commander I overheard a junior NCO tell a Soldier that the “C. O. is a good captain” - probably the most meaningful accolade I ever received in my long career.


AUSA: What inspired you to join the Army?

Hooker: My father’s example, the GI bill, and a desire for adventure!


AUSA: You’ve served with troops all over the world and had postings at West Point, the Pentagon, and the White House. Which assignment are you proudest of?

Hooker: Probably battalion command in the 82d Airborne, which included successful deployments to Kosovo and the Sinai.


AUSA: How did you balance the roles of officer and parent when your elder son deployed to Afghanistan?

Hooker: A wonderful and supportive wife, my faith and confidence in my son’s chain of command. It was the most difficult year of my life, but also very rewarding!


AUSA: What is the most important lesson today’s Army leaders can take from your life of service?

Hooker: Good leadership begins with love of Soldiers. Without it - you’re in the wrong business.


To order a copy of The Good Captain, please visit