Jack Mclean's Loon: A Marine Story

Words: 941
Pages: 4

For this particular assignment, I was tasked with reading Jack McLean’s Loon: A Marine Story. In said novel the author explains in great detail his life throughout the Vietnam war as he transitions from being a normal civilian to a marine, then struggles to re-assimilate into society upon his return. The underappreciated veteran recounts his experiences and hardships both during and after his military service, giving the reader some insight as to what veterans were subjected to, how they were viewed and treated by society, and the tremendous impact of the friendships he forged during his time serving the country in a foreign land.

During his time in the marines, still coping with his decision and the extreme culture shock, McLean develops
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As the marines continue to train and fight for the war half a world away, ironically American citizens at home are actively fighting against it. As anti-war rhetoric spreads across America, support for the war and those fighting it rapidly declines. Gone was the time “when the military was… considered an honorable profession” (McLean 17). Upon return McLean finds that his service is either viewed with mere quiet disdain or outward disgust, in stark contrast to the treatment of returning soldier of the previous the generation returning victorious from WWII. Veterans like McLean, expecting to be revered as highly decorated war heroes, were instead viewed as “physical symbols of our nation’s gross military misfortune. [Their] returning status [being] the polar opposite of that of [their] fathers…. Who had returned from Europe and the Pacific to universal adulation and appreciation” (McLean 231). Indeed, the vets were largely mistreated and ignored by the American public, tired of war and all that pertained to it. Their sacrifices disregarded and the service largely ignored by the civilian public, “it became increasingly obvious…. Americans would not choose to celebrate in the grand tradition of great wars” (McLean 227). McLean explains that his service and his companion’s sacrifices were sadly, nay, grossly