Company K’s mortar section leader on Okinawa is a young man who has recently graduated from an Ivy League college and officer training. Although Sledge recognizes this as evidence of Mac’s intelligence, Mac ultimately proves arrogant and incompetent in actual combat. Behaving with no apparent understanding of the life-and-death gravity of war, he often puts his own fighters in danger through his own mistakes and reckless deeds. In addition, he takes part in disgusting acts of gratuitous cruelty, as he insists on peeing in the mouth of any dead Japanese soldier he encounters—which strikes Sledge as the most revolting action he ever sees a Marine perform during the war. Because of Mac’s behavior, the men in Company K despise him and feel ashamed to have them as a leader, as they believe that he does not represent the dignified attitude of the Marine Corps.
Mac Character Timeline in With the Old Breed
The timeline below shows where the character Mac appears in With the Old Breed. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 2, Chapter 7: Rest and Rehabilitation
Training intensifies over the weeks and Company K discovers that their new mortar section leader, Mac, is a New Englander who has just graduated from an Ivy League college. Sledge notes... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 9: Stay of Execution
Part 2, Chapter 10: Into the Abyss
Part 2, Chapter 11: Of Shock and Shells