October 18, 2019

Lethal Warriors: When the New Band of Brothers Came Home

When Colorado Springs Gazette journalist David Philipps began investigating the murder of 24-year-old Kevin Shields, he was struck by the mug shots of the alleged killers: all young men, they could have been local college students. Instead, these men had spent their formative years fighting in Iraq , and when they returned, they became involved in a series of violent crimes, this one resulting in murder. In LETHAL WARRIORS: When The New Band of Brothers Came Home, award-winning journalist Philipps delivers the searing story of our returning soldiers who find themselves irrevocably changed by war and falling through the cracks of a broken system.

They were once known as the “Band of Brothers,” a term that brings to mind images of heroic World War II battles. Now, 60 years later, the army unit from Fort Carson , Colorado has been renamed “Lethal Warriors.” Deployed to some of the worst regions in Iraq for multiple tours of duty, many of these soldiers are plagued by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). With prose that is by turns gripping and moving, and drawing from harrowing prison, family and police interviews, Philipps pieces together the tragic story of this unit, taking readers into the action overseas, as well as portraying the heartbreaking drama unfolding at home. He also turns a wider lens on the subject, addressing the broader issue of PTSD as it rages throughout the country. Finally, he highlights the inspiring story of the brave men and women in the armed forces who are reaching out to these soldiers and trying to change the mindset and the stigma associated with war trauma.

Today, there are an estimated 800,000 (and counting) soldiers who suffer from some level of PTSD. More veterans have committed suicide since 2001 than the number of service members killed in duty during that period. As we take time this Veteran’s Day to celebrate those who fight for our country, this book will challenge us to deal with an issue that isn’t spoken of enough, and face openly and honestly the true costs of war.

David Philipps is a features writer for the Colorado Springs Gazette whose articles have also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, The Philadelphia Enquirer, and The Seattle Times, among others. His coverage of the violence at Fort Carson won him the Livingston Prize for National Reporting, and he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. This book was a finalist for the J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award. David has appeared on CNN, NPR, and MSNBC. He lives in Colorado Springs , CO .