I read Hackworth’s About Face in law school, and his Steel My Soldiers’ Hearts a year or two ago. Both are excellent books which I strongly commend to you. They give a feel for the man and the reality of fighting — and for what it takes to live and function and succeed under extremely adverse conditions.
Hackworth joined the Army as a 15 year old kid. He was a brave and skillful warrior. Like most such men it is clear that he was not always an easy person to deal with. He left the Army because the Army would not let him fight the Vietnam war in a way that would allow us to win. In recent years he worked as journalist and published on the Soldiers for the Truth website.
Hackworth spent seven years of his life in combat assignments.
The overwhelming sense you get from his life and writing is that he had an absolute devotion to the wellbeing and survival and success of the American soldier — or warrior, as he would have put it — as he saw it. In particular, he was a relentless critic of anyone or anything that might prevent American soldiers from having what they needed to be effective and successful and as safe as reasonably possible. You got the sense from reading his site that anyone in uniform anywhere in the world, if they suffered or saw some abuse going on, felt that they would have a champion who would raise Hell about it, if they let “Hack” know about it. I did not always agree with everything he wrote. But there is absolutely no doubt that his heart was in the right place and that he was a man of moral and physical courage who spoke his mind, and the consequences be damned.
Col. Hackworth was an American original, and his voice will be missed.
Rest in peace, sir.