With the Old Breed


E.B. Sledge

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Sledge’s section leader on Peleliu and 81 mm mortar platoon leader on Okinawa, Duke is a kind, fair, and generous man. He reassures Sledge when he sees him crying out of despair on Peleliu, thus proving both compassionate and intelligent in his capacity to help a soldier overcome traumatic emotions. On Okinawa, he demonstrates his ability to understand military logic beyond abstract rules, allowing Sledge to build a foxhole a few feet away from a dead Japanese corpse, instead of forcing him to dig at the exact spot planned by superiors. In addition, Duke is dedicated to showing respect to his men when he goes out of his way to explain the strategic importance of the fight of Shuri, Okinawa. This reveals his intellectual generosity and humility, as he shares information with them that is usually concealed from mere infantrymen.
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Lt. Duke Character Timeline in With the Old Breed

The timeline below shows where the character Lt. Duke 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
Death, Horror, and Trauma Theme Icon
Friendship and Camaraderie Theme Icon
...absurd experience, in which young men like him are killed on a daily basis. Lieutenant Duke then puts his hand on Sledge’s shoulder, asking him what is wrong. He tells Sledge... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 13: Breakthrough
Death, Horror, and Trauma Theme Icon
Leadership and Courage Theme Icon
...the specific locations for foxholes, but Sledge angrily retorts that he cannot possibly do so. Duke, a lieutenant who was Company K’s sections on Peleliu, arrives and tells Sledge to dig... (full context)
Death, Horror, and Trauma Theme Icon
Leadership and Courage Theme Icon
...Sledge is so affected by these events that he finds himself unable to concentrate when Duke shows the Marines the plans for the next day’s attack on the map—a uncharacteristic decision... (full context)