“Everyone writes one. At least, everyone who fights in a war does.” These are the first lines of Army chaplain David W. Peters’ genre-defying book, Death Letter: God, Sex, and War. Written in the dark days immediately following his deployment to Iraq, Death Letter is part memoir, part comic lament, on his relationship with the three great subjects of our mythic imagination.
David W. Peters enlisted in the Marine Corps the day after his high school graduation. After his enlistment, he attended theological seminary and worked as a youth minister. Shortly after the invasion of Iraq in 2003, he was commissioned as a chaplain in the US Army. He served as the battalion chaplain for the 62nd Engineer Combat Battalion (Heavy) at Fort Hood, Texas, 2004-2007, which included his deployment to Iraq in 2006. After Iraq he also served as a chaplain clinician in the amputee, orthopedic, neuroscience, and psychological wards at Walter Reed. His published work includes the “A Spiritual War: Crises of Faith in Combat Chaplains from Iraq and Afghanistan” in Listening on the Edge: Oral History in the Aftermath of Crisis published by Oxford University Press in 2014. David is a priest in The Episcopal Church and lives in Austin, TX.