The Breech

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About Sean Davis

Sean Davis is a Purple Heart recipient who served in the army infantry for fourteen years; during his time in the military he served on numerous deployments including a revolution, a war, and three humanitarian missions. He left the military to go back to school and received his Bachelor's from Portland State University and his Master's at Pacific University. He lives in NE Portland with his beautiful family and Great Dane/Mastiff.


  1. Joanna Schroeder says:

    Breathtaking story, Sean. Thank you for sharing it. And sorry for the loss of Sean, amazing how with just this story, it feels like I knew him.

  2. Tom Matlack says:

    Sean thanks for this story. I have not been in war but I have tried very hard to understand what it must be like, both because we seem to be doing so much of it and because I really want to understand what it is like for the me, and women, who have had to endure it. This piece gave me a uniquely valuable insight into what combat, and the unique form of combat we are now waging, is really like.

  3. Mike Kamber says:

    Great piece, really captures what it was like on the streets of Baghdad and the ethical dilemmas faced every day. Fantastic work, Sean

  4. John Oliver says:

    Thank you, Sean, for documenting the tension that exists at the practical level of war. I like your opening line, “War is a machine that loses its parts…” You’re someone that ought to write more about your combat experiences.

  5. Dorine Moore says:

    Amazing writing. Touched my deeply. It’s true that you were both right. And, like you, I wish you weren’t. Thanks with all my heart for your service and sacrifice. And thanks, most of all, for letting yourself feel again. This will benefit us all in ways immeasurable.

  6. Sean Davis says:

    I deeply appreciate everyone reading my story, especially because of what is going on in the news right now with the soldiers who took pictures of themselves with the disembodied parts of the suicide bomber. Those pictures were bad judgment, but these men are at war. War is horrifying and like I said you need to harden yourself against what is happening around you. Some soldiers lose themselves completely. Also, please remember the acts of compassion are very rarely photographed, but they are there. I’ve seen them first hand. My unit was very successful throughout the war. Bravo Company Second Platoon 2/162 Infantry won the Presidential Unit Citation, the same award given to the SEAL Team that killed Osama, and they won this because they not only kicked down doors and caught bad guys, but because they took the time to try and learn the language and read about the culture. I guess, what I am trying to say is that there are good men out there. Some of the finest I’ve ever had the pleasure of calling my friends, my family. This story is an excerpt from a finished book so if anyone wants to read another story feel free to email me: [email protected]. Thank you.

    • Dear Sean, My son’s journal conveys much of what you share. I am deeply moved by your words, so eloquent. I lend you my encouragement, support and prayers. You are a great inspiration.

  7. PursuitAce says:

    Sean, I can find no words. I love all you guys…

  8. Dear Sean, thank you so much for sharing this. I don’t have words to express how moving and poignant your writing is. Thank you again for sharing this with us- I think we all need to be reminded that, as you have said, the many acts of compassion are not what are photographed, and do not constitute the majority of what we hear about. I appreciate so much being reminded of the nature, complexities, and ambiguity faced on a daily basis in combat- thank you for presenting this important reminder.

    thanks again



  1. [...] read The Breech, Sean Davis’ haunting first-person account of the humanity (and inhumanity) of [...]

  2. [...] game, when in reality it is devastating?  Combat veteran Sean Davis’ story here on GMP, The Breech reminds us that what stays with you about war aren’t necessarily about the bullets, but the [...]

  3. [...] read The Breech, Sean Davis’ chilling first-person account of the humanity (and inhumanity) of war. /* [...]

  4. [...] Read the first hand account of Sean and Eric in the war in Iraq in The Breech [...]

  5. [...] 7. How long did/will it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript? I’m prolific. For the longest time when people would call me that I took it as a compliment. Then I looked it up and realized that they just meant I write a lot. That doesn’t mean what I write is good. I tend to compartmentalize. Is that a word? When I wrote WBW it took me a year solid with the most amazing editor on the planet, Mike Magnuson. Mag has five books out with the big houses and if you haven’t read The Right Man for the Job you should. Now a days I work on the novel until I get an itch to write a short NF story that would fit into my collection. Then I usually pound that out and send it to one of the magazines that like my stuff: Fool’s Gold, Sudsy Penguins, The Breech… [...]

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