Vetville: True Stories of the U.S. Marines at War and at Home

Vetville: True Stories of the U.S. Marines at War and at Home

by Mike Sager
Vetville: True Stories of the U.S. Marines at War and at Home

Vetville: True Stories of the U.S. Marines at War and at Home

by Mike Sager



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Mike Sager has been called “the Beat poet of American Journalism.” Vetville collects the best of his stories about the Marine Corps. Together this tetralogy of long-form pieces charts a life story arc of the modern Devil Dog.

It begins at Camp Pendleton, CA, on field exercises with Lieutenant Colonel Bob Sinclair and his BN One-Four—the 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment—as they prepare to invade Afghanistan, the first wave of American combatants sent to war after the deadly terrorist attacks of 9/11. “You realize that your country has been attacked,” he says. “You wanna strike back.”

From there, we head to the Wounded Warriors Barracks at Camp Lejeune where we meet Ringo, Cebula, Wildman, Lieutenant Colonel Maxwell, and the rest of the men recuperating together at a unique barracks where wounded Marines harness their esprit de corps to help one another through emotional and physical recovery. We hear their battlefield stories of war and heroism. And their stories of injury and despair. And we discover the soft center that lives beneath the tough exterior shell of the Marine Corps mystique—a deep love of comrades and country. “Wounded Warriors” was awarded a number of awards, including The Military Writers Society of America Founder's Award.

In “Vetville” we visit a small farm in the mountains of Tennessee, where a Marine sergeant, in an effort to save himself and others, has opened his doors to veterans whose deep wounds don’t necessarily show. And, we catch up with John Cebula, one of the men encountered aboard the Wounded Warriors barracks. Without a supportive network around him, he has turned to drugs.

Finally, in “Fifty Grand in San Diego,” we focus on the return to civilian life after the corps, with a look at a modern version of the American Dream—an ex-Marine playing Mr. Mom and finding his silver lining in a dirty diaper.

Wounded Warriors was awarded:
*The American Author's Association Golden Quill Award
*The Military Writers Society of America Founder's Award

“Entertaining and fascinating. At the end of the book, you will find yourself changed in some way. Call it empathy, or just a compassionate response to have seen and become aware of another man’s pain and suffering; but you will remember these men that you read about long after putting this book to rest.” --Military Writers Society of America

Sager has written a gripping account of how these Marines are coping with their combat-altered lives. An experienced interviewer, he lets the Marines’ stories speak for themselves…Powerful stuff.” --Leatherneck, Magazine of the Marines 

Product Details

BN ID: 2940163228096
Publisher: The Sager Group
Publication date: 05/18/2019
Sold by: Smashwords
Format: eBook
File size: 769 KB

About the Author

Mike Sager is a bestselling author and award-winning reporter. He’s been called “the Beat poet of American journalism.” For more than fifteen years he has worked as a Writer-at-Large for Esquire magazine. In 2010 he won the American Society of Magazine Editors’ National Magazine award for profile writing. Sager’s career in journalism began in 1978, when he quit law school after three weeks to take a job on the graveyard shift as a copy boy at The Washington Post. Eleven months later, he was promoted to staff writer by Metro Editor Bob Woodward, of Watergate fame. Sager left the Post after six years to pursue a career in magazines. His first collection of articles, Scary Monsters and Super Freaks, published in 2003, was a Los Angeles Times bestseller, as was his second, Revenge of the Donut Boys, published in 2007. His first novel, Deviant Behavior, was published by Grove/Atlantic’s Black Cat in April, 2008. A third collection, Wounded Warriors, was published in October, 2008 and received the Military Writers Society of America Founder’s Award and the American Author’s Association Golden Quill Award. A former Contributing Editor of Rolling Stone and Writer-at-Large for GQ, Sager has also written for Vibe, Spy, Interview, Playboy, Washingtonian and Regardies. He is proud to be Editor-at-Large for WordsETC, the first black-owned literary magazine of South Africa. For his stories, Sager has lived with a crack gang in Los Angeles; ex-pat Vietnam veterans in Thailand; a 625 pound man in El Monte,CA; teenage pitbull fighters in the Philadelphia barrio; Palestinians in the Gaza Strip; heroin addicts on the Lower East Side; Aryan Nations troopers in Idaho; U.S. Marines at Camp Pendleton; Tupperware saleswomen in suburban Maryland; high school boys in Orange County. Eight of his articles have been optioned for or have inspired Hollywood films. Sager has read and lectured at the schools of journalism at Columbia University, New York University, the University of Illinois, the University of Missouri, and the University of California, Irvine, where he served as a Periera Visiting Writer for four years. His work is included in textbooks presently in use in college classrooms. Born August 17, 1956, Sager is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Emory University and a former intern at the pioneering Atlanta alt-weekly Creative Loafing. He lives with his son in San Diego, California. He is a past recipient of La Jolla Youth Soccer’s “Competitive Manager of the Year” award. The Marinovich Project, a documentary aired by ESPN in 2012, was inspired by ASME winner “The Man Who Never Was” and features Sager as a narrator. For more information, please see and

Table of Contents

Author’s Note

The Marine

Three months after 9/11, Lieutenant Colonel Bob Sinclair and his Marine battalion are in the first wave of American combatants headed to Afghanistan. “You realize that your country has been attacked,” he says. “You wanna strike back.”

Wounded Warriors

Meet Ringo, Wildman, Sergeant D, Lieutenant Colonel Maxwell, and the rest of the Devil Dogs at the Wounded Warrior Barracks at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. From day one, the Marine Corps trained them to be lean, mean killing machines. But what happens after the machine is broken? A report on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the human aftermath.


More than 2 million Americans have served in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Many returned wounded, thousands have committed suicide—nearly 25 percent suffer from PTSD or major depression with little hope of relief. On one small farm in the mountains of Tennessee, Alan Beaty and his ragtag squad of Marine vets have found a modest solution—taking care of each other.

Fifty Grand in San Diego

Shun Ducksworth lives with his wife and two kids in a duplex condo close to the beach. And not far from the edge. A look at the modern version of the American Dream—an out-of-work ex-Marine playing Mr. Mom, finding a silver cloud in a dirty diaper.


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