cover image

After Combat

True War Stories from Iraq and Afghanistan

Marian Eide

Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Imprint: Potomac Books
Published: 09/2018
Pages: 280
Subject: History
eBook ISBN: 9781640121065


Approximately 2.5 million men and women have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in the service of the U.S. War on Terror. Marian Eide and Michael Gibler have collected and compiled personal combat accounts from some of these war veterans. In modern warfare no deployment meets the expectations laid down by stories of Appomattox, Ypres, Iwo Jima, or Tet. Stuck behind a desk or the wheel of a truck, many of today's veterans feel they haven't even been to war though they may have listened to mortars in the night or dodged improvised explosive devices during the day. When a drone is needed to verify a target's death or bullets are sprayed like grass seed, military offensives can lack the immediacy that comes with direct contact.After Combat bridges the gap between sensationalized media and reality by telling war's unvarnished stories. Participating soldiers, sailors, marines, and air force personnel (retired, on leave, or at the beginning of military careers) describe combat in the ways they believe it should be understood. In this collection of interviews, veterans speak anonymously with pride about their own strengths and accomplishments, with gratitude for friendships and adventures, and also with shame, regret, and grief, while braving controversy, misunderstanding, and sanction. In the accounts of these veterans, Eide and Gibler seek to present what Vietnam veteran and writer Tim O'Brien calls a "true war story"—one without obvious purpose or moral imputation and independent of civilian logic, propaganda goals, and even peacetime convention.  


Marian Eide is an associate professor of English at Texas A&M University. Her research and teaching address twentieth-century and contemporary narrative with a particular focus on ethics and war. She is the author of Ethical Joyce​. Michael Gibler served as an infantry officer in the U.S. Army for twenty-eight years. His assignments included Airborne, Air Assault, and Light and Stryker Infantry Units; he participated in Operation Just Cause, Operation Desert Shield/Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom.    


"After Combat paints a picture of the messy aspects of war and their aftermath on veterans, their families, their friends, and their personal and professional lives. There are no ordinary stories of the men and women who are deployed to fight our nation's wars. America is fortunate to have those who volunteer to wear the cloth of our country. A must-read if you care about America and its military men and women."—Lt. Gen. Frank Helmick, U.S. Army (Ret.)

"In After Combat Marian Eide and Michael Gibler capture the true essence of our generation's defenders of freedom. From the warrior perspective After Combat highlights the emotion, the sacrifice, the anguish, and, most important, the heart of what it means to serve in combat. Once again we witness the selfless sacrifice of our nation's greatest treasure: her sons and daughters, as they tell their stories of their time in the 'crucible of fire.' Where do we find men and women of such courage, patriotism, and selflessness?"—Lt. Gen. Frank Wiercinski, U.S Army (Ret.)