(Palgrave Macmillan, 2010)
In Lethal Warriors: When the New Band of Brothers Came Home, David Philipps examines the development and consequences of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) on soldiers.
Once known as the “Band of Brothers” after the famous World War II 506th Infantry Regiment, Philipps takes the reader into the personal and combat lives of some of the soldiers in the army battalion renamed “Lethal Warriors.” Through intensely detailed personal accounts, we are shown life on the battlefield in Iraq since the beginning of the war in 2003. We see, hear, and smell the war from the soldier’s perspective—their legal and illegal actions and their struggles for life and brotherhood among each other.
The examined soldiers reveal the psychological pains they encountered at some point in their combat years. But their cries for help, whether audible or silent, were mostly ignored, misdiagnosed, or left unattended by superior officers or under-staffed psychiatric units. The major underlying factor in the lack of proper care for the disorder, however, was that soldiers and military personnel often thought claims for PTSD were bogus or an attempt to escape active service.
Philipps’s narrative emotionally pulls one into the lives of each soldier. I couldn’t help but be curious of the soldiers’ motivations for their actions and personal welfare. Unfortunately, their participation in the Iraq war is a tragedy which will take many of the soldiers and their families years to resolve.
With a compassionate, storyteller’s flair, Lethal Warriors, revives the discussion of soldiers who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder who serve multiple tours and how they should be treated while in battle and when they return home. The book doesn’t stigmatize or glorify a solider experiencing the disorder but brings understanding to the cause and outreach they need.