INCOMING: An excerpt of Benjamin Busch’s “Home Invasion”

Our anthology of true veteran literature, “Incoming: Veteran Writers on Coming Home” was published this week. We hope you love and are as transformed by it as we are. It’s a collection of real stories, written by veterans, in their own voices, on the theme of coming home. This is the book that launched a public radio show! Purchase copies on Amazon, tell your friends, tell your colleagues, tell your Goodreads friends.


Contributor Benjamin Busch is an actor, writer, photographer, and filmmaker who spends considerable amounts of time looking at rocks in the wilds of his beloved Michigan with his wife and children. We are so proud to publish Ben’s story, “Home Invasion,” in Incoming. Here’s a little snippet:

In the spring of 2001 we were rehearsing for wars we no longer expected to happen. Everything we carried was green and we weren’t thinking of deserts yet. We stayed on our bases and made believe, attacking ourselves and then going home, over and over. We drove to drills from suburbs through the back roads of Virginia, paved colonial routes that wound through the countryside.[…]

[…] By the spring of 2005 I was in Ramadi, Iraq on my second combat tour. The city was made of concrete and metal, all the homes poured or built with hollow blocks. The floors could not rot, but they could be cracked and the city often shook with car bombs or IEDs, smoke rising out of neighborhoods full of children. Some homes had been collapsed by the war, all of the rooms crushed into a thin pile of fragments and rebar. Our enemies fought us from houses and apartments, holding families hostage or driving them out. They brought violence and we responded in kind, keeping the city frightened. Our patrols took sporadic fire and we fought house to house because there was no other choice. We were left to search homes we had searched many times before, the women and children gathered in one room waiting for us to leave, knowing that the men we sought were already gone. They lived in between all of us.

Benjamin Busch served 16 years as an infantry and light armored reconnaissance officer in the United States Marine Corps, deploying to Iraq in 2003 and again in 2005 where he was wounded in the battle for Ramadi. He is the author of a memoir, Dust to Dust, and has published in Harper’s, The New York Times Magazine, Prairie Schooner, Five Points and Michigan Quarterly Review among others. He has been a contributor to NPR’s All Things Considered and The Daily Beast. He lives on a farm in Michigan.

Read the rest of Ben’s story, as well as many others like it and many others wildly different from it, in our freshly minted anthology, INCOMING: Veteran Writers on Coming Home.

“What they have to say is often unbearable, sometimes hilarious, always compelling, and cinematic.” – Robin Young, NPR’s Here and Now.