Q. Philip Caputo, “Lines of Departure”

Philip Caputo served in Vietnam with the US Marines.

The story: Two Vietnam veterans encourage an Iraq vet to tell his story at a veteran’s retreat in Northern Michigan.

Characters: An unnamed first-person narrator, a Marine Vietnam vet. Will Treadwell, another Marine Vietnam vet. Charlie and Laura Stiggses, a couple who run a veterans’ retreat. Devin, an Iraq vet.

Themes: War’s long reach, helping fellow veterans, the importance of story-telling

Discussion Questions:

  1. Why and how do the narrator and Will Treadwell connect? What do they get from each other?
  2. What is the narrator’s attitude toward Charlie and Laura Stiggses? Does he approve of them?
  3. Why does Devin hesitate to tell his story and what are the circumstances that finally inspire him to share it?

For further exploration, watch this video of Philip Caputo’s thoughts about the movies Apocalypse Now and Platoon:


Find “Lines of Departure” here:

Hunter's Moon


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