Retired Marine Colonel Eric Hastings remembers flight missions ‘high above the death and destruction’ in Vietnam. From the cockpit, he traced meandering ribbons that cut through the jungle. He recognized the shapes of the trout streams of home. Every night, he dreamed about fly-fishing. When he returned home to Montana in 1969, to a nation decades from diagnosing PTSD, he went to the water. He tied a fly onto a line and cast. The river, he says, healed him.
For months, Captain Blake Smith lived in a delirious purgatory. Certain that he died when his helicopter fell nine hundred feet from the black of night in Helmand Province, he navigated frightening hallucinations. When he finally woke in the Bethesda Naval Hospital, he faced another nightmare: amputation, paraplegia and shame. Navy Seal Elliot Miller was blown up twice. He can’t walk. He can’t speak. But he still wants to be a dad. Sergeant Mark Hupp has disassembled hundreds of bombs. His injury is invisible. The only view of humanity he can conjure is ‘vile and cruel.’
NOT YET BEGUN TO FIGHT offers an intimate and compelling view of the human cost of war, as the Colonel reaches out to five men, a new generation returning from combat. He brings them to the river and shares his secret: there are places where you can still be consumed by a simple act, find joy in a fight, and be redeemed as you gently release another creature, unharmed, into quiet waters.