|Holofernes, choking on his own blood
"By the end of the deployment, 20 Marines in the battalion had been killed and 140 had been wounded. Many lost limbs. Some were badly burned; others were so battered by blasts that they can scarcely function day to day.
Others returned unscathed, but unable to fall in with civilian life. Members of the battalion say what they brought home from combat is more complex than just PTSD. Many regret things they did — or failed to do. Some feel betrayed that the deep sacrifices made in combat seem to have achieved little. Others cannot reconcile the stark intensity of war with home’s mannered expectations, leaving them alienated among family and friends. It is not just symptoms like sleeplessness or flashbacks, but an injury to their sense of self.
“Something happens over there,” said Mr. Havniear, whose best friend from the battalion tried suicide by cutting his wrists after returning home, but survived. “You wake up a primal part of your brain you are not supposed to listen to, and it becomes a part of you. I shot an old woman. I shot her on purpose because she was running at us with an RPG. You see someone blown in half, or you carry a foot. You can try, but it is hard to get away from that.”
After Mr. Bojorquez returned home, he started having a recurring nightmare. He was patrolling with his squad when bomb blasts killed everyone but him. As the dust cleared, he looked up to see enemy fighters surging forward. He often sat up in bed, thinking he was choking on his own blood."