rifleman Dodd is the account of a British soldier during the times of the Peninsular War.Stuck behind enemy lines, Dodd must find his way back to friendly lines while still completing his orders as a soldier knowing that he may not make it back or survive the rest of the war.Dodd uses hit and run style of tactics against the French in his time trying to find his way back which helped stop the French advancement. I believe in this book the author’s purpose and or mission in writing this is definitely tied into the warrior ethos which states “I will always place the mission first”. Dodd showed this by completing tasks and small raids against the French even when he knew that he was alone and may not have made it back to his regiment.
Rifleman Dodd still fought and pushed to help his country although he was by himself. The second part of the ethos, “I will never accept defeat and I will never quit” is shown numerous amounts of times throughout the novel because no matter what Dodd was put up against or no matter what the outcome could have been, Dodd never quit or gave up the fight and kept advancing and fighting against the French movement and their attempt to advance. I also believe that this book ties into the values of the Marine Corps and goes along with the foundations that we are built upon.I believe with all the training we have been through and preparation to not only do the jobs in the Corps that we were assigned, but to also carry out tasks that we won’t always do. For example, no matter what job you have in the Corps you will always be a rifleman, so when bad things go to worse we can grab a rifle and run towards the fight. The most effective part of this book that helped the author accomplish the author’s mission or purpose in the story line begins with the continuation of the fight that Dodd did even though he was all alone without his brothers in arms and the aid of help. Another reason that was very effective was the fact that Dodd practically faced starvation throughout the whole book.
The lack of food can really drop someone’s morale and will to continue on, but for Dodd this was a different story. Dodd kept pushing and found his will to go on without food. To me, the adrenaline Dodd had rushing through his body enabled him to continue advancing during the firefights and also helped him put aside the fact that he was hungry. Another part that was really effective was the fact that throughout all the firefights and lack of nutrition, for Dodd it definitely put hell on his body and caused him a great amount of fatigue.Fatigue is very strenuous and decimating on one’s body because of lack of sleep and nonstopmoving without breaks, but Dodd was able to look past all of that and not worry about himself and was able to stay focused on the fight. He knew that this wasn’t about him at all though part of it was but it was much bigger than that, this was about fighting for his brothers and fighting for his country.
Dodd was able to put his personal problems behind himself and fight on and to me this was a big factor in emphasizing the author’s mission in my opinion. In my opinion, I believe what the author believed to be true in order to accomplish his mission was that no matter the circumstances you are in… whether its getting separated from your brothers, the amount of fatigue you put your body through or the amount of starvation you have to go through to survive, the fact that Dodd still kept pushing on through all of that, he became the most feared individual on the battlefield. I also believe that if you can do those three things and also put your own personal problems behind, you can become a feared opponent in any circumstance. The author shows us this in the book by a few things. Matthew Dodd was known to the French as the “Green Shirted One”. As we all know that British regulars wore red coats, but Dodd on the other hand did not. He wore a green shirt.
This helped signify who he was personally but at the same time, put a target on his back, but that didn’t bother him. The French feared the Green Shirted one so much that they carved silver bullets and gave Dodd the nickname of the Devil. Dodd also harassed a lot of French soldiers with the help of Portuguese peasants, he had them torture and starve the Frenchmen. All while this was happening, Dodd had one thing on his mind and one thing only and that was his Duty to follow his orders and fight on. These factors really help the author accomplish his mission and purpose behind the book.
This book is most relevant to what I do because I have been put into the same situations during my training to become a Marine and while I was a Marine. Although I’ve never been through war or the same situations that Dodd had been through, myself and all other Marines before me were put through trainings that put us under fatigue and starvation. You see every Marine goes through a culminating event to earn that title and its going through the Crucible.
As you are working to earn the title, you are put through fifty-four hours of simulated hell with limited food and little sleep. I learned to put my issues and my pains behind me while going through the crucible. Even while I was tired and hungry and feeling down on myself, I looked around and saw my brothers and realized “yea I am hungry and tired but so are they”. This is where we banned together and pushed each other to keep fighting on. I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter how tired you are or how hungry you are, but if you realize that you are not the only one going through the hell then you can push through and strive for the same success. When most of us started boot camp, you learn a lot of people are just there for themselves and don’t care how anyone else feels. There was a lot of fights and a lot of disagreements, but as time went on we all learned that all we needed to do was ban together and work together as a team and when we started to do that and realize that we are going through the suck together, that’s when our bonds and brotherhoods were forged.
The same bonds got stronger throughout Marine Combat Training and through rough physical trainings. I will also be going through a lot of fatigue once I begin my mcmap course because its non-stop training wherethey try and break you off and push you to your breaking limits. This is where I believe that the Marine Corps and I make a good connection to this book. For the author’s implied conclusion to the Rifleman Dodd, I believe that it had a lot to do with the roles of leadership, the warrior ethos, a sense of belonging and the act of one to keep pushing and fighting no matter what problems, you are faced with or the odds that are given. Leadership was shown when Dodd took charge of the Portuguese peasants and told them to torture and starve the French. The warrior ethos was displayed throughout the whole book because Dodd never gave up the fight even with all the odds that were against him and he also placed the mission first always, even after being separated. Dodd could have easily ran away and deserted the war but he knew what he had to do and how important his role was so he kept fighting to stop the French.
This is where a sense of belonging comes into play, when he was separated. I believe although he was probably scared, he knew it put him at somewhat of an advantage being behind enemy lines, because now he could do raids on the French and also do reconnaissance and figure out how to disrupt the Frenchand stop their whole advancement. I agree with the authors conclusion of this book in all retrospect’s because as a Marine we live by the warrior ethos and are trained everyday to keep pushing on. We also have a sense of belonging, ever since the Marines were forged from Tun Tavern we have been known across the world as the most feared and the most elite fighting force. Marines are always the first force into battle and the last ones to pull out of the battlefield.
Although Dodd is a fictional character, the Marines have our own true story’s of great Marines who are alone behind enemy lines. This book reminds me of the Marine who has influenced me and was one of my main reasons for joining, his name was Gysgt. Carlos Hathcock. Hathcock had to travel behind enemy lines to make a single kill and travel back to friendly lines all without getting discovered, I connected both of these stories together because they show similar traits. I can say the only thing in this book that I don’t agree with the author on is the parts where Dodd had the peasant’s torture and starve the Frenchmen. Although this may have been justified and not frowned upon back in those times, it is definitely not how I was taught to handle the enemy and it goes against our morals and values of being a United States Marine. This book has made a favorable impression on me and it will change the way I see a lot of my trainings throughout the Marine Corps. Since reading this novel I will go into future training knowing that it may suck or be terrible, but I know that the Marines that are going through training with me, will be feeling the same pain and fatigues and it will help me push them and put my own pains and feelings aside and I’ll know that I’m not the only Marine feeling that way.
This gun club I’ve joined isn’t only about me it’s about my brothers and my sisters and bonds we forge over these times we are together. After reading this book it makes me even more proud to have earned the title United States Marine and I look forward to serving the Corps as best as I can in any way and every way possible.