Shane Comes Home
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On March 21, 2003, while leading a rifle platoon into combat, Marine Lieutenant Shane Childers became the first combat fatality of the Iraq War. In this gripping, beautifully written personal history, award-winning writer Rinker Buck chronicles Shane's death and his life, exploring its meaning for his family, his fellow soldiers, and the country itself. It is the story of an intelligent, gifted soldier who embodied the soul of today's all-volunteer warrior class; of the town of Powell, Wyoming, which had taken Shane into its heart; and of the Marine detail sent to deliver the news to the Childers family and the extraordinary connection that formed between them.
At once an inspiring account of commitment to the military and a moving story of family and devotion, Shane Comes Home rises above politics to capture the life of a remarkable young man who came to symbolize the heart of America during a difficult time.
Brian Toolan, the editor of the Hartford Courant, is a provocative source of story concepts who fiercely protects the need for his writers to tell their stories in their own way. It was his idea that I travel to Wyoming to follow the drama of a family waiting for their son’s body to return from Iraq, and he expertly followed up with advice on completing the piece. Managing editor Cliff Teutsch adroitly handled all of my problems on the road, and Jan Spiegel is great at handling details. Candy
Corps was now conducting a national wild goose chase for the parents of the first killed-in-action in Iraq, but no one in charge had any way of knowing that they were somewhere on the interstate highway system between Lubbock and Killeen. Frustrated and glum, Hutchison and Morgan drove into Powell to see if they could find a place still open for lunch. Their opportunities for relieving the tension of the day with humor—Morgan deriding his captain for reading too many books, Hutchison chiding his
was no cupcake herself. Naturally matriarchal and take-charge, she would prove adroit over the years at managing her rambunctious brood during Joe’s frequent absences with the navy. From the start, however, they shared a love of adventure and a strong sense that they were running away from the same thing. Judy liked to say, “We never looked back and jumped right into life.” Joe would fail at an initial attempt to escape the economic orbit of the navy, but in a way that would establish his
1996 Shane made a ten-day trip to Israel to be with her and tour the Jerusalem historic sites, but the trip was a disaster. Because of her language skills, Adi was based with an Israeli Army intelligence unit up on the Lebanese border, acting as a liaison with the multinational forces enforcing United Nations border agreements. The day Shane visited her base up north, it was shelled by guerilla forces from Lebanon and Shane had to leave as soon as he reached the gate. Then when she got back to
guess I’m never going to get married,” he said. “I’m married to the marines.” After his commissioning Shane was busy throughout the summer of 2001 attending his officer training classes at Quantico, and then taking over his new platoon at Camp Pendleton in southern California. Then September 11 happened, training intensified, and all marines realized that they might soon be deployed overseas. It really was better for now that Shane was married only to the marines. Shane’s commissioning week in