Once a Warrior is Jake Wood’s story of forming the Team Rubicon disaster relief organization.
Wood is an ex-Marine, and part of the book discusses his time in combat. He notes something I’ve heard from everyone I have talked to who has seen live combat, a sentiment from The Things They Carried – there is nothing like it – the thrill, the sense of camaraderie, the terror. This is one of the things that makes re-integration into the civilian world so difficult.
One of the unique features of Wood’s Team Rubicon is an acknowledgement of this sentiment, and one of the goals of the organization is to help veterans re-integrate by providing a way for them to realize some of the same aspects of brotherhood, duty, and action, in a non-combat situation.
It’s almost subversive – taking the idea of a hero so often associated with combat, making appeals to the type of person who is attracted to a certain type of heroism – and redirecting it towards peaceful action.
One of the things I have always admired about the military is how effectively it removes barriers – mixing people from all different ethnic, geographic, religious, political, etc backgrounds – and helps them form bonds, mutual respect, trust. It’s just kind of a shame that one of the very few organizations we have that does this is designed for war.
Team Rubicon could be blueprint for a new kind of national service, one which shares all of the admirable features of the military, but which is directed toward more peaceful ends.