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Archive for the ‘Seal Team 6’ Category

Note I am reviewing this book in light of it being a Memorial Day holiday.  I am thankful and indebt to the men and women who have died defending our country.No Hero Mark Owen

Mark Owen. No Hero: The Evolution of a Navy SEAL.  New York, NY: Penguin Group, May 20th, 2014. 304 pp.

The author was among the SEALs who participated in the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden.  I have previously read and reviewed his earlier controversial book titled No Easy Day that gave his firsthand account of the famous raid.  In this second book the author moves beyond Operation Neptune and covers his story including his personal childhood growing up in Alaska and his determination to be a SEAL at an early age.  The book also covered his decade plus experience of being a SEAL operator.  This is a book that will make the readers appreciate the fact that there are men defending our country and stand in the line of fire against evil men around the world.

The book opens up with a prologue titled “Forty Names.”  Here he tells us about him being home and hearing about the helicopter containing another squadron of SEAL Team Six that was shot down  not too long after the Bin Laden raid.  I thought this opening was a sobering reminder that what one is about to read is not just some fictional adventure but true stories of the men who risked it all in defense of our country.

The chapters in the book were written in such a way as to impart to the readers lessons the author learn that was also relevant for everyday life.  As someone who was in the Marines and never liked height the best chapter that stuck with me is chapter three on fear in which Owen tells us of his rock climbing training in Nevada.  Owen is also someone who does not like heights and during the rock climbing exercise he experienced a moment in which he froze.  The civilian “billy goat” instructor climbed over to him and gave him an advice that changed his life: Don’t look at the things that he can’t control but rather stay “in your three foot world.”  Focus on the things that you can have some control over.  This helped him not only with his immediate rock climb but also other areas of life in the SEALs.  I thought this was very helpful for life in general!

I also enjoyed his chapter on the importance of communication in which he talked about after action report and how that helped the SEALs community to implement lessons learned.  He also had a good chapter about accountability and relationships.  I loved how he described the closeness of his SEAL team and contrasted that with the one mission he went alone with the CIA in Pakistan and just how much displeasure he had with the CIA’s culture of everyone for himself and the politics within that agency.

Also interesting was his chapter on compartmentalization towards the end of the book in which he talked about killing.  He shares about how after many so many deployments soon he was having difficulties sleeping when he came back home and felt the need to go to his SEAL locker cage to prep his gear for the next mission.  His account of being alert for danger and the messed up thing he saw is something other combat veterans could relate to and I thought it was important he shared this so that over veterans who were not with Special Operations Forces can realize that they too are humans (though of course tough ones).

Read this to appreciate the men and women who serve—especially those who were in combat and those in combat with Special Operation Forces such as the SEALs.

Purchase: Amazon

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Want to find a book to read this July Fourth Weekend?

I couldn’t stop putting this book down and finished it in one sitting (one day).

Fearless Adam Brown

Purchase: Amazon

An emotional biography of a SEAL TEAM SIX operator name Adam Brown, who was killed in August 2011. An incredible story: I don’t think I’ve ever read such a real and powerful account of drug addiction than I did in this book (which is worth buying the book in of itself) and how he failed so many times; yet, it’s also a story of faith and how Jesus Christ changed his life around, and through him others as well. Based upon interviews of SEALs, family members and his widowed wife, it is also balanced with official Navy record. Adam Brown was an incredible man of God, American, SEAL and human being. His battle with the inner demons of drugs, his entrance into the SEALs despite his small size is already itself an incredible story in it’s own right: But then we also learned that Adam Brown went on to try out and selected for SEAL SNIPER and a member of DEVGRU/SEAL TEAM 6 (the tier one outfit that got Bin Laden) despite the disadvantage of losing an eye and crushing his dominant hand (which he had to resort to shooting with his weak hand). I appreciated how this book shared so much about the wife’s journey as a NAVY wife, and how it was with the loss of her husbands with her kids. It’s indeed a story of faith but the author does a good job of showing how faith doesn’t sugar coat the harsh realities of this world: from disappointments and failure of kicking a drug addictions, the imperfection of believers, and the mystery of why God allow some to die and others to live. Reading this as a father of a one year old and a three month old, i can’t help tearing up especially towards the end of the book. As I have said in my reviews of other SEALs book, I believe every American ought to read a book like this–especially considering the small percentage today of those who serve. You would get a better picture and a deeper appreciation for the sacrifice of those who served and their families since 9/11. I highly recommend this book.

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