With the Old Breed


E.B. Sledge

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Ken “Doc” Caswell Character Analysis

A Navy corpsman, Doc distinguishes himself through his generosity, bravery, and self-sacrifice. He plays a crucial role in helping Sledge retain his sanity when he tells him not to collect a dead Japanese soldier’s gold tooth, knowing that Sledge would degrade himself through such insensitive behavior. In battle, Doc proves capable of self-sacrifice, ignoring his own wounds in order to tend to others, thus revealing the seriousness with which he understands his commitment as a corpsman. Although he is later severely wounded in Okinawa, he survives and is sent back to his native Texas, where he remains one of Sledge’s closest friends from the war.
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Ken “Doc” Caswell Character Timeline in With the Old Breed

The timeline below shows where the character Ken “Doc” Caswell appears in With the Old Breed. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 5: Another Amphibious Assault
Leadership and Courage Theme Icon
...in the arm by a sniper. Sledge calls out for a corpsman, and his friend Ken Caswell , nicknamed “Doc” like all U.S. Navy corpsmen, crawls over. A Marine comes by to... (full context)
Death, Horror, and Trauma Theme Icon
Patriotism and Morality Theme Icon
Leadership and Courage Theme Icon
Friendship and Camaraderie Theme Icon
...finds himself inclined to take a few gold teeth from a Japanese corpse himself. However, Doc Caswell sees him and tries to stop him. He tries to remind Sledge that his parents... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 12: Of Mud and Maggots
Death, Horror, and Trauma Theme Icon
Friendship and Camaraderie Theme Icon
...Company K is told to take cover and wait for instructions. Sledge then learns that “Doc” Caswell is hit and, forgetting about the intense shelling, Sledge suddenly feels sick and decides to... (full context)