Ronny Bruce is a renaissance man: philosopher, drifter, Gen X rock ‘n’ roller, and gentleman. At thirty-two, divorced and burnt-out with the burbs, Ronny bails on his teaching career and seeks army infantry. It’s no joke when boot camp is mandatory since his marine corps’ service ended ten years beforehand. Assigned to Charlie Company, 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment, Ronny’s platoon hunts an Afghan foe who’s never surrendered. Half collapse from wounds.
Ronny’s decade-long postwar journey examines victory and failure. Realities include grieving over friends’ deaths and processing crimes or addictions of old battle buddies. Six men expire before thirty-five as a result of four suicides, one unexplained death, and murder. Labels for the living include felon, vagrant, drunk, addict, depressed, and suicidal. Ronny checks some boxes. Graduate, businessman, engineer, teacher, accountant, and rich describes other paths. Ronny checks some of those too.