Kratman is a political refugee and defector from the People’s Republic of Massachusetts. The mechanism of his defection was enlisting into the Army in 1974 at age 17, which deeply distressed his high school (Boston Latin, founded 1635) as they thought he had “higher and better things” ahead of him. He served two years as an enlisted grunt with the 101st Airborne and one and a half with the 193rd Infantry Brigade in Panama, getting 2 years of collegedone in the process (when he wasn’t in the field he was taking courses). At that point the Army gave Kratman a scholarship and sent him off to Boston College to finish his degree and obtain a commission. Tom graduated, cum laude, in 1980 and returned to the Army as an infantry officer. Tom served another three year tour in Panama, then more schooling at Benning, then 4+ years with the 24th Infantry Division near Savannah, Georgia. Fun times then ceased for a while while he did two years in Recruiting Command.
Saddam Hussein (PBUH) saved Tom from this by invading Kuwait. He has been told that he was the only captain to actually escape from USAREC for the war. Tom arranged a transfer to Special Operations Command and went through the active part of the campaign attached toÂ 5th Special Forces. He continued slurping at the Army trough until it became painfully clear that the bottom had dropped out of the militantly and violently aggressive anti-communism market and that he was not going to like the rather PC direction the Army (which was, arguably, the only thing he ever selflessly loved) was heading in.
Among other things, Tom earned a Combat Infantry Badge and the Ranger Tab.
Tom got out in 92 and went to law school. He hated it but was far too pig headed to quit. He became a lawyer in 95 and quickly realized that what he had felt about law school was but a pale shadow of true hate. Stayed in the Reserves and took every tour he could to avoid practicing law. And when the reserves had nothing interesting there was MPRI (“white collar mercenaries R us”).
Saddam Hussein (PBUH) once again stepped to the fore and saved Tom from the continued practice of law. In February of 2003 the Army called him up to participate in the invasion of Iraq. Still, God has a sense of humor. While awaiting a flight over Tom was informed he had a 100% blockage in his right coronary artery (imagine his chagrin) and wasn’t going anywhere fun anytime soon. Instead, he spent eight months stuck at Fort Bragg, then a few in the DC area, before finally being sent on to be on the faculty of the Army War College as Director, Rule of Law, for the US Army Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute. Keep in mind that divine sense of humor previously mentioned.
Tom retired in 2006, bored out of his gourd and finally ready to admit his love affair with the Army was over. He’s returned to Virginia and, instead of practicing law, writes full time for Baen. (That means, NO, don’t ask for legal advice because there’s no more confidentiality with him. He’s outa da bidnez.)
Tom’s married to a (really beautiful) girl from rural western Panama. Yolanda and he have 3 children and 3 grandchildren. Yoli and Tom make their home in Blacksburg, VA.