"The predatory energy has also found a way to mine the spirit, has found a way to mine our minds, it can even feed off the essence of our spirit."
- John Trudell Stickman

The campaign for Guadalcanal remains the marines’ longest engagement of World War II, and the individuals of the 1st Marine Division who fought there were truly warriors in every tribal sense of the word — they sacrificed their flesh for the greater good of the tribe. They took completely upon themselves the absolute brutality of war. They looked upon the atrocities and extreme deprivation of each day in combat the way the rest of us face the mundane tasks of our everyday lives because that’s what warriors since ancient times have always done. Though many were just teenagers at the time, they will forever be known as "The Old Breed". There is certainly no modern equivalent of these soldiers, and for some of them, the battles never really ended.

All war is an atrocity, and many of these men brought the atrocities they had witnessed and committed back home with them. Some even became these atrocities — the modern medical term for this horrible transformation is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a syndrome affecting combat veterans, and, of course, anyone else who has suffered similarly the desecration of the human spirit in some extreme traumatic event or series of events.

There is an undercurrent, not usually portrayed in the media or even in most historical accounts of World War II, that expresses the true feelings and perceptions of the small percentage of soldiers who fought on the front lines. Almost as if by conspiracy on the grandest level, the reality of the War, spoken in plain terms from the people who know it best, is seldom if ever brought home. In the words of writer Paul Fussell, humans have a strong tendency not to examine any "information likely to cause distress or to occasion a major overhaul of normal ethical, political, or psychological assumptions."(1) Bob Worthington lived most of his life with the burning anger and the frustration of having these secrets locked inside him. His dying wish was that they be revealed in this work. Even today, as war continues to be the first choice among people and governments to resolve conflicts, Bob’s story is more timely than ever.

This story is the story of the children of the depression and the generation who fought World War II. It is also the story of Bob Worthington's life in the aftermath of the War, restlessly living on the edge, constantly creating and seeking out stressful, dangerous situations from which he had to extricate himself, and, in his later years, his search for healing and closure. It is a unique perspective of a World War II Marine, like no other story you've ever heard.

(1) Fussell, Paul. "The Real War 1939-1945." The Atlantic Monthly, August 1989: 32-40.

Click here for more on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

   
 

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