Bob Swagger is a retired Marine Gunnery Sergeant who was born in 1946 and raised in Blue Eye (a fictionalized version of Mena, Arkansas) in Polk County, Arkansas. He is the son of Arkansas State Trooper Earl Swagger (Earl was also a former Marine First Sergeant and Medal of Honor recipient) and June Swagger. Bob Lee had a natural gift for firearms from an early age, something seemingly possessed by all male Swaggers. He had a half brother, named Lamar Pye, the product of a one night stand between his father and Edie White Pye.
After his father died in 1955, Bob Lee joined the Marines, forging a successful career as a Marine Sniper. Bob Lee served three tours in Vietnam, working with Special Operations, and earned the nickname 'Bob the Nailer' for his uncanny ability with a rifle. Despite official counts crediting him with 87 combat kills, in reality he has killed a total of 391 men, with his most notable success being an engagement with a battalion of the North Vietnamese Army who were closing on a lightly defended Special Forces Base. Bob Lee and his spotter, Lance Corporal Donny Fenn, succeeded in delaying the battalion for two days until air support could arrive, and during the engagement Bob Lee killed in excess of 80 enemy troops, only stopping when his ammunition ran out.
While serving in Vietnam, Swagger was shot in the hip from a distance of 1400 meters by T. Solaratov, a Soviet sniper who also killed Fenn soon after with a shot to the chest from the same distance.
Bob Lee was retired by the Marine Corps in 1975, suffering from a permanent disability due to the hip wound. He became an alcoholic to numb his depression, which resulted in the break-up of his second marriage to Susan, and he retreated to a hermitic existence on family land near Blue Eye. Sworn off killing, he hunts trophy deer using an innovative non-lethal projectile bullet which stuns them for several minutes, during which he saws off their antlers so they are no longer attractive...