Veteran Spotlight: Justin Thomas Eggen

The warrior poet is a man of both letters and steel. He is as natural in combat as he is a dinner party in some Manhattan high rise. Whether through intensive training or birth, warrior poets seek to embody the perfect balance between the physical, spiritual, and intellectual being.

It's an ancient archetype. Samurai warriors penned haikus in times of peace and fought expertly in times of war. King David fought in many bloody battles and penned the Psalms. Modern warriors are no exception.

About Justin Thomas Eggen

Justin Thomas Eggen arrived to Marjah, Afghanistan in February 2010. He was immediately assigned to the lead gun truck as a heavy machine gunner behind a .50 Cal. By April 2011, on his second deployment, Eggen headed to Sangin Valley as the Guide, Lead Gun Truck Commander, and Platoon Navigator for Route Clearance Platoon 2 which was responsible for finding over 79 IED's throughout their subsequent seven months of deployment.

Justin Thomas Eggen was awarded the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation's Robert A. Gannon award for poetry

After several years of being out of the military Justin acknowledged struggling with many invisible wounds that come with combat. Realizing these emotions weren't going anywhere, he decided to write. He turned to his pen and paper and wrote a poem. Eggen says, "there is an artistic side I wanted to expose in myself. I wanted to take that side of me and push myself as far and as hard as I could down the path of writing poetry." After many months of contemplation he began to write and produce his first book: ‘Outside The Wire: a U.S. Marine’s Collection of Combat Poems & Short Stories Volume 1'

Since the release of his first book, Mr. Eggen has gone on book tours/ speaking engagements to Emporia State University, NC State, & American University in 2017. In 2018 he again went on a spoken word book tour with two other veteran poets called "The Verses & Curses Tour" where they travelled down the east coast in an RV.

In 2019 and 2020, the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation awarded Justin the Robert A. Gannon award for poetry for his books "The Art Of Warrior Poetry" (2019) and "The Sun Rises In Helmand" (2020).

Eggen is preparing for the June, 22nd release of his first novel Adahy, the first book in a historical fiction fantasy series that takes place in the thirteen colonies. You can preview the first five chapters here Pre-orders can be placed here

Justin shared a poem with Veteran Artist Residencies. This poem is entitled, Too Much Time, and it touches on themes common in Eggen's work: the struggles of combat and how writing has altered his mind and led him onto a positive life's path. Too Much Time is a poem that you could reread a thousand times and continually uncover fresh nuance and depth. May it spur you to action.

N. B. Hankes

N. B. Hankes

Founder and best selling author of "Waking Up On the Appalachian Trail."
Humboldt County, California