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Once a Warrior

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Once a Warrior

How One Veteran Found a New Mission Closer to Home


15 min read
9 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Team Rubicon gives veterans a chance to serve again through responding to natural disasters. 

Editorial Rating



  • Eye Opening
  • Engaging
  • Inspiring


After two tours each of Afghanistan and Iraq in the Marines, author Jake Wood returned home. He describes his psychological wounds, and explains that thousands of US former servicemen and women struggle to integrate back into society, searching for the sense of purpose they found in the military. When an earthquake rocked Haiti in 2010, Wood and a team of veterans went to help. This launched Team Rubicon, a disaster relief organization that now has responded to many catastrophes. In this gripping, painful and honest account of war and its aftermath, Wood details the transformative power veterans find in rendering meaningful service.


Since 2012, more veterans have committed suicide than have died in combat.

Veterans often struggle to find meaning in life after leaving the military. Many lose their sense of identity; the less fortunate end up on the street, or worse. The challenges of reintegrating into society go beyond coping with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). Many veterans return to communities that don’t appreciate them, and they feel invisible. They receive an occasional honor at public events, but local businesses hesitate to hire veterans for management positions, citing their lack of experience despite skills many acquired in the military.


After experiencing the military’s brotherhood, vets may have difficulty relating to people who are self-absorbed and career-oriented. However, thousands of veterans have discovered new vigor and meaning through volunteering with Team Rubicon to aid disaster victims in the United States and abroad. Former soldiers find purpose in humanitarian missions where their strength, determination, teamwork and leadership make a difference...

About the Author

Former Marine sniper Jake Wood is co-founder and CEO of Team Rubicon, a disaster relief organization he launched in 2010 that now has 125,000 volunteers.  

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