With the Old Breed

by

E.B. Sledge

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A veteran of the famous battle of Cape Gloucester, Snafu is one of Sledge’s fellow 60 mm mortarmen in Company K. Thanks to his knowledge and experience as a veteran fighter, as well as his obvious commitment to performing his duty as expertly as possible, Snafu becomes a figure characterized by trust and respect, capable of making Sledge feel more secure. The two of them become “buddies” and often share a gun hole throughout the war. Snafu proves reliable and helpful, as he gives Sledge advice at the beginning of Peleliu to keep him from harm. Although Snafu is loved and respected by his companions, he is also capable of challenging his companions’ actions or opinions, once mistakenly accusing Sledge of failing to fire his mortar and thus causing an action to fail. This defiant attitude occasionally leads to insubordination, as he is unafraid to behave pugnaciously and criticize his superiors’ orders. He is one of the twenty-six members of Company K to survive the battles of Peleliu and Okinawa.
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Cpl. Merriell “Snafu” Shelton Character Timeline in With the Old Breed

The timeline below shows where the character Cpl. Merriell “Snafu” Shelton appears in With the Old Breed. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 3: On to Peleliu
Death, Horror, and Trauma Theme Icon
Leadership and Courage Theme Icon
Friendship and Camaraderie Theme Icon
As dawn arrives, Sledge stays close to Snafu, who makes Sledge feel safe because he is a Gloucester veteran. Snafu offers Sledge a... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 4: Assault into Hell
Death, Horror, and Trauma Theme Icon
Friendship and Camaraderie Theme Icon
...near the tractor. Finally, the men are ordered to exit the amtrac and Sledge follows Snafu. When machine-gun fire barely misses his face, he loses his balance and falls on the... (full context)
Death, Horror, and Trauma Theme Icon
Friendship and Camaraderie Theme Icon
When Sledge reaches a group of veterans, he asks for a cigarette and Snafu teases him for doing exactly what he had said he would. As Company K moves... (full context)
Death, Horror, and Trauma Theme Icon
Friendship and Camaraderie Theme Icon
...he is completely dehydrated, and that no one knows when they will receive more water. Snafu and Sledge then settle for the night in their gun pit. When he sees Sledge... (full context)
Death, Horror, and Trauma Theme Icon
Friendship and Camaraderie Theme Icon
At one point, Sledge and Snafu stumble and fall down. Snafu is hit by the fragment of a shell but only... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 5: Another Amphibious Assault
Death, Horror, and Trauma Theme Icon
Friendship and Camaraderie Theme Icon
That night, in the foxhole, Sledge keeps guard while his buddy Snafu sleeps. Suddenly, Sledge sees two figures emerge from the darkness, speaking in Japanese. With his... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 9: Stay of Execution
Death, Horror, and Trauma Theme Icon
Friendship and Camaraderie Theme Icon
When Sledge wakes up to start his watch in the foxhole he shares with Snafu, he grabs their “Tommy” or submachine gun. After a few minutes, he notices a man... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 10: Into the Abyss
Death, Horror, and Trauma Theme Icon
Patriotism and Morality Theme Icon
Leadership and Courage Theme Icon
Friendship and Camaraderie Theme Icon
...and does not experience the same numbing panic as he did the first time. As Snafu and Sledge reach a side of the ridge where they are to dig their gun... (full context)