With the Old Breed


E.B. Sledge

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Bill’s foxhole buddy proves negligent when he falls asleep while on watch duty. This keeps him from seeing the Japanese infiltrator who is about to enter his foxhole—and from realizing that his buddy Bill has, in the meantime, left the hole. When Bill later dies as an unfortunate consequence of this series of events, the men in Company K consider Sam responsible for Bill’s death because Sam failed to fulfill his most crucial task as a Marine: protecting the life of his buddy.

Sam Quotes in With the Old Breed

The With the Old Breed quotes below are all either spoken by Sam or refer to Sam. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Death, Horror, and Trauma Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Oxford University Press edition of With the Old Breed published in 1981.
Part 1, Chapter 5 Quotes

This standard procedure in combat on the front line was based on a fundamental creed of faith and trust. You could depend on your buddy; he could depend on you. It extended beyond your foxhole, too. We felt secure, knowing that one man in each hole was on watch through the night.

Sam had betrayed that basic trust and had committed an unforgivable breach of faith. He went to sleep on watch while on the line. As a result his buddy died and another man would bear the heavy burden of knowing that, accident though it was, he had pulled the trigger.

Related Characters: Eugene “Sledgehammer” Sledge (speaker), Bill, Sam
Page Number: 108
Explanation and Analysis:
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Sam Character Timeline in With the Old Breed

The timeline below shows where the character Sam 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
...the back. At the same time, he does not understand why his companions, Bill and Sam, have not fired at the Japanese soldier yet. (full context)
Death, Horror, and Trauma Theme Icon
Patriotism and Morality Theme Icon
Friendship and Camaraderie Theme Icon
...all agree that the person at fault in this story is not the shooter but Sam, who was supposed to keep watch while Bill was sleeping. This buddy system is crucial... (full context)