SEAL Target Geronimo Climbing Up Bestseller Lists

Posted by on Nov 18, 2011 in Books | 37 comments

SEAL Target Geronimo: The Inside Story of the Mission to Kill Osama Bin Laden is climbing up various bestseller lists — with a bullet! Publisher’s Weekly, as released Thursday, November 17, ranks Geronimo at Number 8 in the Hardcover Non-Fiction category. That’s ahead of Catherine the Great and nipping at the heels of Condoleezza Rice. Pretty interesting company!

Even more exciting is the New York Times Bestsellers list. It should be noted that this famous list is always published a week or so after the fact. So the official release date for the list reflecting sales this week is November 27. But advance notice has SEAL Target Geronimo in these pole positions:

#7, New York Times, Hardcover Nonfiction, dated 11/27/11
#2, New York Times, Nonfiction E-Book, dated 11/27/11
#5, New York Times, Nonfiction Combined Hardcover & E-Book, dated 11/27/11
#8, New York Times, Nonfiction Combined Hardcover & Paperback, dated 11/27/11

Thanks to everyone who bought the book. In an age when it seems we don’t often have a lot of unambiguous heroes, the SEALs who completed this mission clearly fill that bill admirably. And your humble Webmistress can espouse that thought even as the daughter of a West Pointer and career Army officer. (Go Army! Beat Navy!)

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  1. Fascinating read Chuck. I enjoyed the book; however I offer some corrections to your description of the PLO evacuation on page 89 and 90.

    1. The PLO was not evacuated to Cyprus. Most, if not all of the evacuations done by sea, were aboard chartered vessels given US flag status and were accompanied by US Navy warships. Most evacuees were escorted to Tartus, Syria and Alexandria, Egypt. Many were back in the Shouf Mountains east of Beirut in short order. In driving the perimeter in my jeep I was at once concerned about their having the high ground.

    2. Arafat and his party embarked in the Greek liner Atlantis. They were escorted to Athens, Greece by the US warship William V. Pratt (DDG-44) with deployed DESRON 14 Commander Captain Robin Battaglini embarked and in command of the operation, the French destroyer Dupliex (D641) and a Greek Gearing Class Destroyer. During the transit a wounded girl in Arafat’s party was treated by a Greek doctor from the Greek destroyer who was hoisted down into the empty swimming pool aft. She and her mother were subsequently transferred by the same helicopter to Cyprus at the British Navy Hospital TPMH RAF Akrotiri where she received further treatment.

    3. I do not recall SEALS being a part of the initial PLO evacuation operation, being present in Beirut Harbor and certainly not in company on the Arafat escort operation to Athens. The evacuation OPS covered the period 25 Aug-10 Sep 82. You indicate SEAL personnel escorted Arafat. Really? During the MNF Peacekeeping phase I recall there being a 1200 man Marine (800), French (400) and Italian (400) presence. The Italians were late to arrive due to difficulty in arranging sea transport for their contingent. This peacekeeping mission seems to fall outside the SEAL mission statement. The presence mission, for which the SEALS were more appropriate, began on 29 Sep 82. It was not in March 1983 as you indicate on page 90. There were a series of four mission expansions or phase escalationss before the Marine Barracks bombing in October 1983. It might have been during one of these that the SEAL presence began. You are in a better position than I to know but I don’t believe they were there as early as you intimate in the book.

    4. I visited Green Beach as well as the perimeter of the Marine positions around the airport and up to the area around American University as well as the Green Zone in October 1982 after the Sabra and Shatila Camp massacres. By then the IDF had retired to checkpoint positions along the highway south of Beirut International Airport. I recall Beach Jumper, SEABEE and Marine personnel at the Green Beach position. I do not recall being aware of SEAL personnel. That of course does not mean they were not there

    5. From my personal observation, at least during the fall of 1982, the sniper teams were provided by Marine personnel from the 32nd MAU. You intimate your 6 month tour included the October 1983 bombing. If your deployment was the first of the SEAL missions, it places SEAL members there in spring 1983 and not in the earlier phases of the operation and clearly not during the peacekeeping phase. Clearly the situation was deteriorating and anti-sniping teams were required.

    All of the above are only minor distractions most likely unrecognizable to the average reader; but to the informed reader they raise credibility issues with your book. If there were these errors could not other areas be in error as well? A little elaboration or clarification as to the exact when and where might have been helpful if SEAL personnel were involved.

    I must say though that the Neptune’s Spear scenario you lay out is much more credible than the versions I had heard emanating from D.C. Well done!

    • Jim,

      Thank you for your thoughtful comments. And I appreciate your input.

      I agree that a great number of the PLO were evacuated coastwise into Syria, and to Alexandria Egypt, as you wrote. But Larnica, Cyprus was also one of the major destinations. You are right, it didn’t take the PLO long to return to the Shouf and South Beirut. I am sure that SEAL counter snipers were positioned overlooking Beirut harbor as Arafat embarked on Atlantis. I did not witness this, but was formally debriefed on their operations, and we later used some of these same shooting positions during our deployment. SEALs were never in “close protection” for Arafat, but deployed as an over watch and as counter-snipers. As far as I know, no SEALs went to Athens with Arafat, and the Seafox patrol boats did not travel farther than 30 miles from the coast of Lebanon during the escort operations. They were responsible also for the security of the ships of the amphibious squadron, and there were frequent threat indicators for Syrian trained combat swimmers. You might have also known about a pretty serious game of submarine cat and mouse that played out during each of the deployments.

      The error as to the deployment timeline is my fault; it was my own platoon, FIFTH Platoon of SEAL Team FOUR that arrived in 1983. And I will point out that I was not then the Platoon Commander, but the Executive Officer. The FIFTH was commanded by my friend Frank “Giffland”. I wrote about our deployment in Warrior Soul, and my own narrative was informed by the history of Eric Hammel, whose The Root: The Marines in Beirut is the definitive story of the America’s doomed peacekeeping effort.
      My outfit operated with the 24 Marine Amphibious Unit, under the command of Colonel Tim Geraghty. (Tim is one of the best and brightest officers I have ever known, and I highly recommend his book, Peacekeepers at War). Our wire diagram put us under the command of Commodore Morgan France, the Commander of Task Force 61. As the situation deteriorated we were tasked for a variety of missions, including operations for ComSixFleet. Many of these operations are still classified—but I can tell you we operated throughout the Eastern and central Mediterranean.

      Regarding Green Beach, it was FIFTH Platoon of SEAL Team Four that first established an operational base there in April ,1983. Prior SEAL Platoons launched and recovered from the amphibious ships, and kept only a pair of connex boxes at the beach. The “Phantom FIFTH” operated from a bunker dug into the buried seawall just south of the beach tower. It was our good fortune to have turned down office space at the Battalion Landing Team headquarters at the airport, which was destroyed on 23 October 1983 by an Iranian designed truck bomb. Our first bunker had berthing space for twelve operators-and fighting positions facing north and south- it was later expanded by another bunker to shelter an additional ten men, and with more fighting positions. As you remember, when the Israelis pulled out (late August) the shelling became very heavy. Green Beach came in for almost daily rocket and mortar attacks, and everybody, Beach Masters, Marine Shore Party, and SeaBees all moved underground. Like the Landing Zone at Rock Base, the tents were left as diversionary targets. Every tent at the Beach was shot to pieces by the end of the deployment.

      Thanks for keeping me honest—and thank you for your service in Lebanon. It was the most intense and difficult combat I have ever experienced, and I have nothing but praise for the gallantry of the Marines, Beachmasters, and Seabees at Green Beach. They are heroes—every one of them.

      • Greetings,

        My name is Mike Sinclair and I have a question Sir. I am a former Marine 0341, Mortarman, served on the Carrier JFK in the MarDet and am a life member of the Beirut Veterans of America. I am sure you know what Carrier Marines do. We make sure big things go boom when the word comes down. We are picked from the Infantry for this duty in case someone reading does not know that. So we are not rear area types to start off on board. An anti-terrorism role at sea and in port as they used to say. A lot of ceremonies too though so that was an annoying and differing part of the billet. It is where people get the mistaken belief that Sea Duty Marines are spit and polish Marines with an easy job. My Mother asked if I served the officers food. I said yes just to put her at ease. She was tough. She called me a sissy. Told me to go to the part where they fight. I laughed so hard. Ceremonies are sort of like seeing a SEAL in his cracker jacks at a dog and pony show. You know what is under the uniform if you know the type of duty they perform and the training they come out of. We were in the slots that got quotas to special operations schools more readily than regular Marines. A few of us went to Amphib Recon School and perhaps on to Force Recon after serving on ship. Some went the anti-terrorism route in their careers. We lost a JFK MarDet Marine serving in my old infantry unit, 3/4 in 2006. Master Sgt. Brian McAnulty from Vicksburg Miss. You can see his career path in the embassy guard, anti-terrorism teams in his obit. We have maybe two of us still serving to this day in Army SF in these current conflicts. In the early 80’s, we were the only ones authorized to use deadly force on ship or in port. One MMA had a .38 cal. That was it. One NIS agent maybe was armed. I never saw him with a weapon. Carrier MarDets are gone. I believe the job shifted to the Marine FAST teams since they do the same anti-terror role since the Panama invasion time frame. Sea Duty was a Marine tradition that is gone forever. MMA’s do the job now. The main task is similar to the Air Force guy sitting in the ground in North Dakota back in the days. You get the drift. Then money guard, Captains Orderly (body guard), riot control, port security, you name it. You get understand. You have seen it in your time. We were one of the only Marine units still deploying the M-14’s. That is, along with the M-16A1’s and M-60 MG’s back in the early 80’s. Some 14’s for silent drill and some for drilling bad guys silent as we would joke. Some wood stocks and some that were the brown fiberglass stock of the early McMillan design color. A few were full auto versions. We had our own little armory on board. We had most infantry weapons aboard. A ship’s magazine full of toys that we had to take temperatures on every 4 hours. Anything for the mission. There were about 70 of us and 5000 Sailors. You guys had that E model M-60. Great weapon. I remember EOD on ship during our Beirut operations and then I also remember “other EOD/UDT guys” that would pop up. We used to just say that the SEALS were on board for something. It was sort of obvious to some. I would just shrug as if I had no idea if they were or were not. Our EOD was not as tough looking as their new friends on board. I saw some Zodiacs come and go here and there. I think we had some SEALS stay on board as a detachment for awhile. I am not certain though. I am sure you would know more than I. There were groups of Nomex or wet suit wearing guys that would come and go usually from a little area on the ship where EOD/UDT stayed. We used to take all weapons away from anyone who came on board and hold them until they left but I don’t remember any SEAL weapons. EOD and UDT were not armed on our ship. UDT was still a rate then as I remember. I am foggy on the memory there. I am almost certain that we had these guys that were telling us that their job was going to the SEALS soon. No more UDT as a separate rate. We once were told that we must take the weapons of some strong looking guys that protested as they went into CVIC. We made our point. They were not going in armed. Admiral’s rules. Civilian clothes types. I think CIA. Probably. That was common, CIA on ship to go to CVIC. To our embarrassment, one day, we left the bags of small machine guns near the Admiral’s passage way door unprotected for a few minutes. The X.O. of the ship walked by and saw them in several bags. He chewed out, in front of us, my MarDet C.O. for some PFC’s mistake. Our ships X.O. was a Viet Nam veteran pilot and our Marine C.O. was a Viet Nam Corporal mustang now Captain, so we were a little more partial to the ground pounder in that little tiff. It was embarrassing though for us. I have to say that I picked up your book by chance in an air port in Las Vegas. I had never heard of you before. I was at a reunion for the USS JFK MarDet this past Marine birthday. I am just finishing up the book Warrior Soul. My best buddy Barry, who is a fellow former Marine, former Green Beret and fellow teacher and I love the writing style. You can learn 50 new words that I never heard of in my life in this one book. We look for new words to bother each other with all of the time. I have more ammo now. It flows well. I mention my friend because we are always looking for the sort of writing style that you have. I read him some over the phone. You know, two old Marine idiots laughing saying that we will use that word with the boss next time. Like the back of the book describes. High-quality prose. You certainly are one of the most intelligent writers that I have ever read. Very introspective. It is amazing to read all of the training and real world experience that you have. I will read everything that you have written and will write in the future. It is very entertaining. I understand that it is your real life though. I do see that you are involved with writing for a living so I see that you build the real life characters with extraneous detail. Some readers get annoyed with the little things but a military veteran is going to appreciate that. I believe it is essential that you described the backgrounds, personality and accents of each man that you served with. Furthermore, most readers don’t understand that you don’t start a book with a caveat stating that you had to fill in conversation since you really can’t remember exactly what someone said to you on any particular day during a deployment. It is more of a para phrasing I suppose that is necessary to tell the story. I can’t remember much of what I said to my buddy on a cold night while tired and hungry on any given night in my enlistment. Other than that we hated the “Gunny” I suppose or what it was like back home even though home may have really sucked. I have a few detailed memories. Some I never talk to my wife and kids about. I can remember a lot of conversation but the sad stuff, I just see silent mouths moving in my mind. I don’t remember much of any conversation during those times. I remember doing things but I really can’t remember conversations. Just the incidents. Whether peacetime training deaths or KIA’s. Still, lost ship mates or Marines either way. I could guess what we said. Probably complained. Sometimes we just stayed quiet with a grim look that Marines are commonly seen with. I remember a lot of that. No conversations with officers. Playing Spades a lot. I was down in Honduras in 85. They hoped that we would test the new SAW out in combat was the word. I did see that thing fired on accident, almost killing friendlies. The boogey man was always around the corner but never showed himself much to a noisy Infantry company. Sneaking into town was dangerous. We did it anyway. We did some training with a SEAL detachment. Some stupid rope classes that we all knew already. The SEALS apologized that they had to teach it. They were stuck with us at this small base on a Bay. So, we swam and took pictures with star fish in our hands. Army SF was all over the place. All of the Honduran Marines with us were on medical leave for wounds. They never mentioned it at first. It was light duty for them we found out. Go figure. It was all live ammo down there and it always seemed like it could come your way any minute. Tense nights in the bush. We lost nobody. some Marines were KIA in other units down there. We landed with the BFA’s on weapons to a whole press Corp on the beach. Then it was live ammo inland. We had a 1st Sgt named Montgomery that had a pinky shot off in Nam. If the nub wiggled, you knew it was dangerous up ahead. It would twitch. We would laugh at that nub when it did that. My C.O. was Captain Kelly. He is a Lt. Gen. now. He lost his son KIA in Afghanistan last year. Only General to lose a child in the war. His kids were small when I walked away from my men by the company office in August of 85 on Lejeune. That was tough not knowing whether to stay with them and reenlist. You get the phone calls over the years. Who went down in a Helo. It gets old. I did have one question though as to something that you wrote of in Warrior Soul. I thought it odd that you pass it over given the context and time frame in the part of the book. Your frustration of leaving and not seeing a major air strike — having seen the intended one called off. You mention that after the bombing of the barracks in Beirut, that there was a planned air strike that was cancelled at the last minute. That it was kept secret for years afterwards. That there was never another one. You further wrote that you returned home the first week of December to the Virginia Beach area I think. I did not note the page. Too lazy to look. I was just wondering why you would leave out the very public air strike on Syrian gun positions that were conducted by two U.S. aircraft carriers in the exact week that you wrote that you returned. I wondered how you could miss that in the book since we had one of our JFK pilots being held POW by the Syrians and one KIA. It was National news. The USS JFK and the USS Independence conducted an air strike on December 4th, 1983 (December 3rd USA time) losing several aircraft. Lt. Mark Lange was KIA when his A-6 was shot down and the navigator, Lt. Bobby Goodman was taken as a POW by the Syrians. We were already pissed that our JFK Sgt Maj FB Douglas left the ship and was blown up in his last assignment in the Corps in the bombing on the 23rd October. Now they had our pilot and were taunting us. Jessee Jackson went to Syria with Louis Farrakhan and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and negotiated his release. We also lost eight Marines on the same December day. I had the unfortunate task of recovering Lt. Lange from the Syrians on December 7th, 1983 and returned him to the medical department of the USS John F. Kennedy. There was some confusion on the USS JFK as to whether there was a bomb in the wood coffin/crate that they presented to us, so Navy EOD and my Marine detail were relegated to prying open the box while sealed outside of the ship on an aircraft elevator. The doors were shut to the hangar bay to contain any blast. To this day, I think it was just someone asking if they ever checked the box more forward in theater than us. I don’t think so since EOD was pretty shook up when we pried that lid off fresh. It was not opened when we got him but it was open after that elevator. You can see it cracked on the video. It was shut with simple nails and a pry bar did the job. Navy photo lab gave me a copy of the video. It is the oldest VCR tape that I own. It says “Cpl Sinclair MarDet” in old ink on it. I have not done anything close to what you have done in your career but it was a tense moment there as we wondered what would happen in the next minutes only six weeks after the barracks bombing. I still am confused as to what was going on since there was a bunch of Sailors saluting on the flight deck when we carried the crate/coffin that we got him in off of the Helo. It had no handles. We thought some Syrian cabinet maker was laughing at that moment when we realized that there was no way to pick him up. In the video of that recovery, EOD is walking off the elevator looking relieved as they walked into the hangar bay from the elevator as I follow behind on video with my fellow Marines carrying Lt. Lange. We transferred him to a proper casket with flag. I wish that I could have done more during the conflict but they pulled us out. I wondered if you wanted to keep some parts of that strike out of the book. I have no problem saying that we know that we killed a fair amount of Soviet missile techs according to CVIC. The Syrians were not allowed to control the Soviet Satellites that the newer missile systems were tied into. It tied into their whole national defense network. That is cold war stuff that I think can be mentioned finally. I would hope that in a future edition of Warrior Soul, that you could add that little bit of pay back on December 4th, 1983. I pushed some of those bombs to help the red shirts that day and saw the pilots coming back in tears. Kissing the flight deck and coming up with blue/black lips from the grease on the non skid. I never thought I would see these warriors showing any emotion in my young enlisted life. I felt like I was intruding just looking at them. It was a messed up mission that went a bit bad but we did get some revenge. We stayed on station and would rotate combat air operations with the Carrier next to us on an every other day basis. We stayed black out when we were the off ship that night. We dropped many laser guided bombs after December 4th. I laugh when I see it stated that they were first used in the Gulf War. I have my own personal pictures of the Jersey. I am so close to it that it took two pictures overlapped in my photo album to fit her full length in. The Soviet weapons annoyed the hell out of us on that deployment. All of the AA, old and new alike. We were afraid of the ZU-23-4. That one was a scary SOB. The Jersey targeted many of these systems. The Jersey had one Marine 5 inch mount. It was called upon for several fire missions from what I saw. I do agree though that it was the wrong war and the wrong weapons system for the task. I think we arrived back in VA Beach in May of 84. They made me the Marine of the Quarter in my unit for those last few months. I felt nothing as they gave it to me. We closed the place out. Left with nothing accomplished. I was a young pissed off kid from Brooklyn NY at the time. 19 years old and on active duty since a few weeks past my 17th birthday. I went to Portsmouth Naval Hospital for some supposed shoulder surgery/rash that won’t go away problem when we got back but I walked out and just went back to my unit. I think the Docs called asking if I were back on ship. Each day, I was getting one more Doc standing around me asking me questions. A whole group. Scared the crap out of me. I hated complainers and I was not one to complain. The Gunny ordered my rash to go away. It worked for me. You have to do what the gunny says. Especially when he has his Navy Chief buddies with him chasing you around ship. Mr. Pfarrer, you have a gift. Keep writing. As for your service, I don’t think that any civilian could digest the level that you reached in the military. Only a few of we Marines came close to it. I never got a quota for the Force Recon route so I got out. If you are bored, you can look at one of my MarDet JFK buddies in this link. He left us on for the secret squirrel world that came and recruited from our ranks on the JFK. He met an untimely death. Interesting read. Especially what his career path was. He is missed. I can tell you that. God bless.

        Mike Sinclair
        Staten Island NY

        Shane Corbit death below. Strange read.

        • Mike,

          It was an honor to hear from you. And I thank you for your service. I do know what “carrier Marines” do, and for our readers I will say that the Marines who serve aboard nuclear aircraft carriers are selected from the best and brightest in the Corps. Their exact job is classified, but I will say that it is among the most serious and critical responsibilities in all the Armed Forces. These men are burdened with an almost unfathomable responsibility, and I have witnessed with my own eyes that they perform their duties with the professionalism and dedication that is the trademark of the Corps.

          Mike, you are right about the air strike on Dec 14, 1983– and I had the privilege of meeting Lt. Goodman and his wife briefly at Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach when I got back. I didn’t mention that meeting, or the Alpha Strike launched from JFK in my book, and that was an oversight.

          It was my duty to cross into enemy territory to observe a the French Navy’s retaliatory strike, and I was, like every Marine and Sailor who served in Beirut, bitterly disappointed that the United States did not successfully strike back until nearly two months after the bombing of the Battalion Landing Team headquarters. Worse, much worse, was to see politicians in and out of uniform pin blame for the bombing on Colonel Tim Geraghty, the commanding officer of the Multinational Peacekeeping Force. Tim Geraghty was the finest officer I have ever had the privilege to serve under. Every Marine or Sailor who served ashore in Beirut will tell you, as I will, that he is an officer of exceptional intellect as well as extraordinary courage and fortitude. Tim Geraghty was scapegoated after the bombing, and for almost twenty years the National Security Agency kept secret that it had intercepted the messages between Tehran and Damascus that ordered the bombing. These were not decoded until a week after the 243 Marines perished in the bombing of the Marine Headquarters—a staggering display of ineptitude that was made criminal by the fact that these intercepts were kept secret during the congressional hearings that investigated the bombing. NSA sat back, smirking, while politicians blamed the very officer who warned them that an attack was likely, and who asked, repeatedly that he be allowed to better fortify his position to protect his Marines.

          To the everlasting shame of our republic, for twenty years Washington kept secret that it had advanced warning of the Beirut bombing—and CIA and NSA had failed in their duty to warn and protect the Marines on the ground in Lebanon. All of this was finally revealed by Freedom of Information Act requests, filed by Tim Geraghty himself. They are revealed in his excellent book, Peacekeepers at War, published in 2009. Every American fighting man should read Tim’s book—as it spells out, explicitly just what sort of despicably casual betrayals politicians are capable of. More Marines were killed in Lebanon than at Khe San. I lay that blame, squarely at the feet of the National Security Agency.
          Mike, it seems our paths may have crossed on a number of occasions. I was definitely one of those wet suited guys slipping on and JFK, and I can remember many times roaring up in a Zodiac, and pulling under the lee of that massive aircraft carrier to come aboard, dripping, for a midnight conference with the Battle Group staff. There was many a time I slipped past a Marine guard in the passageway with a wink– we both knew that I wasn’t there, and that he didn’t see me. SEALs know that Marines keep secrets.

          As you mentioned, there was a lot going on in the eastern Mediterranean. I did not reveal in Warrior Soul that we, too, operated against Syrian SAM sites– and some of the best ops I had the privilege to lead were an in and outs against Syrian SAM 2 sites. Our MO was to come away a few of their cables and gizmos and leave their weapons in a compromised condition. These particular missiles went boom on the ground and not in the air. You may have seen some recon shots of scorched SAM sites— I hope they were some of ours.

          I too, served in Honduras, and you are right, it came very close, many times, to becoming a real war– not one in the shadows, but one on the front pages. We both know that there were more than a few Americans who came up “from down south” with holes in them. It was a secret then, and the whole story has yet to be told.

          Mike, thank you for sharing your experiences. America is a great nation because of the 1% of her sons and daughters who volunteer their lives to serve and protect. It has always been my pleasure, and honor, to operate with Marines. And every SEAL I know will say the same thing: God bless the Corps.

      • Chuck,

        Thanks so much for your comprehensive reply. And thank you for YOUR service. I have always admired SEAL warriors and the service you extraordinary and dangerous men provide to America. Each and every opportunity I have had to interact with SEAL teams has been one characterized by consummate awe in the professionalism of each team member.

        As to Beirut, I was long gone by October 1983. By that time I was on CNO staff involved in the contingency palnning for Operation Urgent Fury.

        I was astounded to have learned that the Marines had moved into a building but I suppose by this time the mission had so changed it was considered necessary. What a horrible tragedy.

        Good luck on continued success with your book. It was important to get the message out and you have done that well. Again, I really enjoyed your book and passed it along to my son. I have used my Facebook connections to recommend it as a must read.

  2. I am still troubled about the assassination of the 30 SEALs in Afghanistan soon after the Bin Laden raid. Any thoughts on why so many valuable warriors were lost? Were they sacrificed to appease Islam? Seems fishy to me.

  3. Hi Rolf–

    I’ve been asked often about that loss, and it was a tragic day for out community. The SEALs were not assassinated, they were killed on a combat mission, I’d to to explain it this way; when there is a fire, the truck leaves the station with every firefighters it can carry. The enemy adapts his tactics and this time they got lucky. These men were some of America’s bravest and best, and they are missed terribly.

    • Yes they are. Thank you.

    • Chuck, I have read and enjoyed many of your books but Geronimo reads like propaganda. What if it wasn’t a fire the Seals were “going to? What was that fire that Seals would be so needed for to be loaded on to an uncustomary, older, bigger craft? How many of the 30 killed were in the Geronimo raid? What if OBL wasn’t even in the “compound”? Is the “trigger” seal still alive? What if OBL has been dead for several years? Wasn’t OBL and crew funded by the US gov’t in the 80’s to fight against the Russians in Afghanistan? What if 9/11 was an inside job? Ever wonder why Bush had to take away so many of our liberties in the name of the “war on terrorism” but yet our southern border is wide open? How has all the US gov’t wars on ___________ (fill in the blank)poverty, drugs… worked out? I don’t trust anything coming out of the District of Criminals. Wish you knew/or could write the truth.

  4. Chuck,
    Just finished reading SEAL TARGET GERONIMO. I appreciate your approach to the subject. The historical perspective and background (including BUD/S training and other “processes”)presentation is priceless. It educates the general public of some very interesting inner workings on both sides of the “pond” and prepares the reader (to certain extent), to get a glimpse and have a better understanding, at field level, why “things” happen the way they do.

    Now, I really don’t care if you missed a detail here or there about when you were or not at a specific ops area, etc. That’s irrelevant to me. Other than the SEALS successfuly completing this specific mission without casualty, what is most important to me and hopefully the general audiance grasps it, is that you tell it like it is when addressing the DC cesspool environment. The shenanigans, the PC bull, the spineless, weakneed stuff that goes on, the lack of respect and disregard for the citizenry of our country.

    You know, we do not have to worry so much about the radical Muslims coming to “get” us. The politicians and special interests will take care of it; they are taking our country down. Perhaps your next book and movie could address this topic in a more surgical premise. I know you have the guts to do it. God bless you and GOD HELP US ALL.

    Chuck, thank you for your service, sir. Hooyaa!!


    PS: Just started reading “Warrior Soul”.

  5. Dan,

    Thanks for getting in touch, and I am glad that you liked Geronimo. I hope you’ll enjoy Warrior Soul as well. There’s been an astonishing amount of “push back” regarding the book, and much of it tries to leverage on the small errors that I made in writing the history of Special Operations. As a writer I assume responsibility for what I wrote, and I admit to making several errors. I will shortly post a list of the editorial mistakes in the book– substituting Offut Air force Base for Hurlbut Field, and the getting the wrong date for the establishment of the Special Forces among them. None of these errors change the story of the raid, and I stand by what I have written. I was told what happened by witnesses to the event– military and intelligence professionals who had no political agenda, and who spoke to me because they wanted history to be recorded accurately and fairly.

    I‘ve found that the most strident attacks against the book (and me) have been made either anonymously, or by people who did not witness the raid. Often my detractors are both anonymous and under informed. The mission was filmed, in its entirety, by a Sentinel drone—the video feed was beamed into the White House situation room and to a command center at CIA headquarters. The people who watched the mission live include Barrack Obama, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Leon Panetta, Brigadier General Marshall B. “Brad” Webb, Denis McDonough, Deputy National Security Advisor Robert Gates, Secretary of Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Tom Donilon, National Security Advisor William M. Daley, Chief of Staff Tony Blinken, National Security Advisor to the Vice President Audrey Tomason, Director for Counterterrorism for the National Security Council. John O. Brennan, and James R. Clapper, Director of National Intelligence. These people saw the mission, and they saw it happen as I described it in the book. Not one of these officials has come forward to refute what I have written. It is apparently one thing to have a subordinate call me “a liar” but quite another to go on the record, personally, and deny what they saw with their own eyes. I am certain that one, several, or perhaps all of these people will eventually write their memoirs, and it will be interesting to see what they say not only about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden—but why they felt it wasn’t necessary to come to the defense of an honest man who wrote the facts.

    I have learned long ago to never be disappointed by people—especially politicians.

  6. Chuck, suggested corrections for the Second Edition.

    Re the origins of SIX: CP wrote, “In 1980, SEAL Team SIX was formed by Dick Marcinko, then the operations officer of SEAL Team Two.” You should clean that one up as it is a non-starter. Marcinko was CO of TWO in 1974-5.

    Re, Son Tay: The version I heard, and am pretty confident in, is that the centerpiece of the assault plan was to insert the first element in a stripped down chopper that would come in hot at the compound, virtually crashed and, by plan, not used for extraction. This novel idea was from your Krupinsky guy. The reported heartburn you correctly refer to was the fact that the LCDR would frequently get direct calls from the CNO, a little chain of command issue. And of course it was the Z-man who plucked/detailed him to the Son Tay planning group. If you want to drill down on Son Tay there is no better report than that by Sharon Manecki, Cener for Cryptologic History (NSA), titled “The Son Tay Raid.” (google it)

    It will be interesting to see how history treats your version of the actions at the compound. I will remain agnostic for now, although I relate to your version because it is closer to dogma/doctrine. ONE learned the hard way in Vietnam, splitting an assault team up on a night raid.

    Still have my nose in Geronimo. Maybe some other pointers.

  7. Hi Jake!

    Thanks for writing. I will be correcting the editorial mistakes in the subsequent printings– and it is a task I take seriously.

    I was a freshly minted Ensign, just out of BUD/S, in 1981 and reported to UDT-21 (soon to become SEAL Team FOUR at Little Creek. Then LCDR Marcinko had recently decamped from the “Back 40″ of the SEAL TWO compound at Little Creek, and taken the nascent “MOB SIX” over to their new quarters at another base. I stand corrected, and I succumbed to what was “given wisdom” that Marciko had been Ops Boss at ST-2 before his departure. Even the existence of SIX was then a secret (maybe the worst kept one in the Teams) and what was current then was that Marcinko had split with about 20 operators and set up on his own.

    Regarding San Tae, I thank you for you input. I was one of the Junior Officers who under went CDR “Krupinksy’s” Operations Course, and it was comprehensive. I might even say it sucked—but like everyone else who survived it I can say that it made me a better officer, and paid direct benefits by keeping me and my guys alive through combat on two continents. CDR “Krupinsky” was, as I wrote, a cigar chomping, opinioned know it all—who actually did know it all. I am better off for having met him. After undergoing his planning courses—which always stressed “round trip” operations– I can say it seems very “un-Krupinsky” to plan an operation with a “one way” aircraft. As you know, the operation at Son Tae nearly went sideways, the command ship put down at the wrong location and wound up in unscheduled contact with several companies of NVA and PLA soldiers. As far as I am aware, the crash at the Son Tae compound was not deliberate, but an accident. It would have certainly been an extreme maneuver– as the ride home was 800 yards away, and in a ferocious firefight with about 200 of the enemy. I will eagerly read article you recommended. Even though I studied under CDR Krupinsky, and we often used Son Tae as an operational example, he never mentioned that one of aircraft was intentionally sacrificed. You are right on however about the direct line to the CNO– that seems both in keeping with what I know about Admiral Zumwalt and CDR Krupinsky. Thanks very much for writing.

    • Chuck,

      Re TWO “Back 40″: Good one. More like “Back 00.75.”

      Re “MOB SIX”: My reaction, ‘What do you mean these bastards are getting brand new Chevy Blazers?!’

      Re Marcinko: Think you were a little harsh. Personal opinion, No Marcinko, No DG. Only a maverick, visionary and IBM salesman type could have pulled off what he did. You supply some ‘flavor’ for that. He relieved Gormly. Then Gormly relieved him. Didn’t know he was a no-show for that C of C. Very bad form, no question. Still, and even considering the RC lapse, I am not on the firing squad. A severe spanking, absolutamente.

      Re Son Tay: The full title of Maneki paper is, The Son Tay Raid: An Intelligence Paradox. Very hazy in my memory, but think she developed the possibility of enemy SIGINT that might have caused the prisoners to be moved. The POW compound was not that big, i.e. not a lot of open space inside the fence, and perimeter not much better. Aerial at Son Tay Raid website (below) shows the problem. Planners stewed over element of surprise. Ski’s suggestion was to completely strip Bird 1, put it on the ground in the compound fastest way possible, even if rotors were going to clip shit. Bird 1 was making a one-way trip. See para beginning, “The Plan was not unduly complicated.”

      The most provocative aspect of Target Geronimo was “al Baya” and WMD. If you are sure of your facts on that, ‘stir the pot’ in your media interviews because it is still relevant and eclipses Neptune’s Spear.

      Press the attack, but beware received wisdom at the FO!

      • Jake,

        It’s a pleasure to talk to a guy who is so obviously well-informed. I remember those Chevy Blazers, and also those sweet Mercedes four-wheel drives with the top turret hatch– though by that time, I was guilty of driving one of those myself. If I came down too hard on CDR Marcinko, I will state here categorically that it was Dick Marcinko who created seal 6, and single-handedly change the face of Naval special warfare. Like Pappy Boyington before him, Dick Marcinko was able to take on the Navy Department and create a fighting unit out of whole cloth. For that alone he is a hero; he has my respect if not always my approval. And I have always been on Dick Marcinko’s side regarding the red cell incident at Seal Beach. Let it not be forgotten that the gate guard who was “traumatized” during that security exercise later became a millionaire by suing the government. And let us all remember that this clowns job was to safeguard nuclear weapons–and at that he failed miserably. And I agree enough said.

        I will definitely read the San Tae article, and I have long suspected that the operation was compromised from the outset. Let it not be forgotten that John Walker was trading the U.S. Navy’s crypto secrets with the Russians. With Walker in place selling America’s codes more than a couple of America’s Cold War failures can be explained neatly. And you are right again, CDR Krupinsky was a “round trip” guy– and there was enough aviation redundancy in the mission to recover assaulters inserted by that crashed helicopter. I think it is one of the ironies of history but 40 years later another of America’s premier special operations would leave a tail rotor behind. In 1982. then LT. Bill Craven was also one of the junior officers who endured commander “Krupinski’s” planning course. The transportation redundancy in Abbottabad raid also paid dividends. When one of the Stealth helicopters crashed on target, there were still seats available to make sure all of the assaulters made a round-trip. For that I think commander “Krupinsky” can take a bow.

        Regarding the WMD in Iraq, I laid it all out in an article I wrote for The Counterterrorist Journal back in 2008. My web mistress has posted the article on this website and a couple of clicks will bring you to it. I based it, or rather confirmed it, on open source documents–including reports of the United Nations weapons inspectors who actually found the chemical weapons in Iraq. This stuff has been “secret” only because the media failed to follow up on it. The New York Times and the BBC both reported Al Qaeda’s 1st use of nerve gas in Al Baya in 2004, but managed to stick their heads in the sand and not say a word about more than a dozen United Nations reports that stipulated explicitly that chemical weapons, including VX nerve gas had been recovered in Iraq. In 2004, the New York Times managed to ignore a report with this title—“Weapons of Mass Destruction Recently Found in Iraq.” But that’s okay, they ignored reports that said the same things in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Go figure.

        Jake, write back any time and keep me honest. It’s good to hear from you, sir. I believe this country is big enough to handle the truth. And there’s enough of it out there to keep us all awake at night.

  8. Chuck, thank you for writing a book that pulls no punches and tells an unvarnished truth – it is so often the case that news stories and commentaries include cynical distortions to support politics and personal agenda. As a twidget, I appreciated your comments about us geeks, but infinitely more important, Geronimo is a real world account that should open the reader’s eyes to the professionalism, courage and risks that every operator makes for us every day.

    Adam Willwerth
    ETCM (Ret)

  9. Master Chief– Thanks for taking the time to write, and I am delighted you liked the book. You know pretty well that all military units need to shoot, move and communicate– and without ETs you’re not going to do any of the above. Thanks for writing and thank you, Master Chief, for your service. (For our readers, ETCM is Navy for Electronic Technician, Chief, Master– a Master Chief Petty Officer. Master Chiefs are the highest enlisted rank in the navy, roughly analogous to Sergeant Major– except that Master Chiefs are the saltiest things that ever floated and the eat Lieutenant Commanders for Breakfast and Ensigns for between meal snacks!) Don;t mess with a Master Chief.

    • Thanks for the kind words and keep writing! I remember you in the team room after an op vividly sharing your experiences and always enjoyed listening. Teamwork is what brings it all together and none better than ST6. All best, Adam

  10. Chuck, I just finished reading Seal Target Geronimo and it was a great book. I have followed the war on terror since 9/11 while doing my undergraduate studies and I remember getting a call that sunday night in May this spring not believing bin laden was killed..I respect so much what our guys do behind the scenes and I agree with you on many aspects of this book that some details just need to never be talked about. It is a matter of national security and america doesnt need to know everything..thank you for other books to read..too bad ive read most of those already..thanks again for a great book..have you written any others..god bless america..and Seal Team 6

  11. Just finished your book. I found your narrative of Obama’s conversion to a militant more convincing than what I read elsewhere. You did touch on the later story, his speaking out against the Sadia royal family, and exile etc. But Israel / Palestine / Lebanon narrative you tell is more convincing focus to me. You did omit the Iraq/Iran war with us arming both sides?

    I wonder though about your assertion that his beliefs “of a handful of twisted psychopaths” given the recent elections in Egypt where the Brotherhood and the Salafis won together far more than a majority?

    Your case about WMDs is new to me. I wonder on the amount of WMD found though. It doesn’t sound like allot , esp. if it can’t be found? But I am probably showing my own ignorance here. (Guess I will have to read your other books/articles on that.

    I thought your book might end with something on the status of Ayman Zawahiri (and the rest of al Qaeda? (I don’t know why the White House announced the mission, I guess they felt it would be impossible to keep it secret?)

  12. Chuck…Great insight and analysis in Seal Target Geronimo. Excellent update on the WMDs. We are at risk – still. VR.

  13. Chuck,just finished Seal Taget Geronimo. Exceptional book. I had an opportunity to join the Navy in 1973 with a “promise” to go through naval avaition training. (My dad was a naval aviator in WWII in the Atlantic theater and I wanted to follow in his footsteps.) But things changed and I did not – big regret. Would have liked to have tried the SEAL route but don’t know if I could have cut it. You guys are amazing. WHo wouldn’t want to counted as the best.
    Again, I really enjoyed the book, the tactics, the history, everything about it. It’s not just a history book but a true story well told. When I heard the stories coming out of the Administration, I knew we never find out exactly what happened. Glad you cleared it up. BTW, Joe Biden is an idiot for opening his mouth about the mission. Unbelievable…
    FYI, I am recommending your book to everyone I see and email.
    Thanks for your service and for the work of the SEALS. We are safer because rough men stand ready….

  14. I just finished the book, and it would have been very good but for several flaws. First, you exude anger toward President Obama and the White House, when he has been the first president to use the SEALS and SEAL Team 6 effectively. You take way too many snarky shots at him, which only detracted from your narrative. And you mostly went soft on the Bush/Cheney/neocon gang. You never mentioned that Bush refused to give the go-ahead to Delta Force at Tora Bora to take bin Laden out, when they pleaded with him – had bin Laden in their crosshairs.
    Your account of WMDs just doesn’t pass the smell test – not plausable. There is no way on earth that if all of those chemical and biological weapons were found that Bush and Cheny would have kept it quiet. They wouldn’t have given half a thought to some of them falling into Al Queda’s hands. And, the media would have gone wild. You can’t tell me the Washington Post was too vested in the story of no WMDs. The opposite was true for years. Your account just sounds like one of those whacky conspiracy theories.
    Finally, you claim SEALS like to keep everything they do quiet – you even ridiculed the White House for revealing that SEALS were involved. And yet you write this book immediately after the operation – with extensive details about assets, tactics, etc. You sound like you think you’re the only one in the country who should be allowed to reveal anything about SEALS operations – you above the President of the U.S. Sounds fishy.
    President Obama had every right – no actually an obligation to the American people to tell them immediately when we finally got bin Laden, the one who attacked our country and slaughtered so many innocent Americans. Bush failed in 7 long years to do it. Good for Obama.
    Most of all, congratulations to SEAL TEAM 6 for an incredible job.

    • I enjoyed your book very much.
      there where a couple of mistakes in the first part of the book
      but it was not on the Seals. You are wright about one thing Seals do not talk very much until you are a known entity. The seals
      I came to know where circa 1964-66 Ft. Bragg 1966-73 Laos/Vietnam.

  15. CHUCK: Just finished reading ”SEAL TARGET GERONIMO” and I thoroughly enjoyed it…..a very fitting testament and tribute to the men of THE TEAMS…….both the operators and support personnel…..
    As a NAVY veteran– I had the honor and pleasure of serving in a support billet (USNR) on a reserve det at TEAM 2.(just a ”sleeve”..actually an RM2)—however- it was TRULY an honor and a privilege to serve and support those guys…..
    What would be the best route to get you to personalize//autograph my copy of your book???? Your assistance would be GREATLY appreciated………
    Rick Levi
    Rick Levi

  16. Chuck, read SEAL Target Geronimo today, cover to cover. It was riveting! I am sorry your SEALs were placed in the limelight so uncomfortably but they make a hell of a read. I always wanted to be a SEAL but the military won’t have me (disabled as an infant), so I pick you guys as role models. I know a man who made it through BUD/S but washed out in the second phase and he says anyone who makes it all the way deserves the anonymity they crave, because “BUD/S was hell and it only just started.”
    Dick Marcinko may have been a hothead but he did a huge favor to counterterror by forcing MOB 6 down the stuffed-shirts’ throats.
    Also, that WMD bit I read twice. It floors me that we still don’t hear about those chemicals. Everyone knew Hussein was manufacturing, but no one was suspicious when nothing turned up? Yeah, ‘no WMD’ my ass. That’s still relevant today, too, and it freaks me out that sarin and ricin and VX and so on are under control of a bunch of psychopaths. I hope that one day Zawahiri stands still long enough for a SEAL to end his miserable existence; I hope Zawahiri never has to make it big on US news (seeing as how he hasn’t already).

    Thank you for dogging through your book against all your detractors and may you stomp personal agendas to dust in future books.

  17. Dear Mr Pfarrer – I have just finished your book Geronimo. I was never in the armed forces, heck, never even been in a fight since schooldays – so I have absolutely no idea about the world you describe.

    I came away from your book with deep and enduring admiration for your Brotherhood, for your Integrity and Honour – and for men who in our name visit righteous wrath against some very nasty people. Thank you one and all.

    Your book in particular explained the background and mindset of the events on a way which was erudite and engaging.

    Please know that there is one very ordinary Englishman who deeply appreciates everything you guys do, and who is in eternal admiration for the values and abilities you deploy so I and my family sleep safer at night.

    With deep gratitude


  18. Chuck,

    I just felt the need to say that Seal Target Geronimo is a great book that is sobering and detailed and incredibly fair and balanced in the true definition of the phrase. my military service was on an aircraft carrier as a boatswain mate, but i served during our forays into lebanon and was in uniform when the marine barracks was attacked. I am embarrassed to say that I had not paid enough attention to the facts and had, like many of my colleagues (both USN and USMC) believed a version of events that are in direct conflict with your book and clearly, the truth. More grizzled and salty naval veterans during my time in service, consistently advised us to ignore official reports of “disaster” as anything more than exercises by flag officers to cover their rear ends and your book presents clear examples of this.

    Time often reveals the truth but the wait is agonizingly long.

    Having just finished the book, I did want to add one perhaps critical comment. I completely agree that keeping the operation secret would have been ideal and I completely understand the frustration of operatives from all branches of our government. But I cannot get my head around the difficulty of keeping an operation secret when Pakistan would wake up and find a super secret, heretofore unknown helicopter in a residential neighborhood. Using the Beast of Kandahar’s outing in Iran after it crashed as an example, people would have wondered why the US went in and looted that house and since ISI people knew who was in the house, I imagine it would have been hard to keep secret the fact that Osama was killed or captured and by whom Though pretending he was captured and being interrogated might have flushed out some rats.

    That said, not to put words in your mouth, I think we would both agree that POTUS was going to have a news conference even if Six had picked up their brass and left no fingerprints or witnesses.

    Anyway, it is a brilliant book and my chief regret is that I read it after Christmas and did not give many copies away during the holidays, but it is going to be a book I recommend.

    Jack Aimone

  19. Thank you Mr. Pfarrer for providing your readers insight, knowledge and truth about some of our Nation’s most valuable resources. As a Navy helicopter pilot in the Persian Gulf during the Iran-Iraq (“tanker”) war I visited the “barges” and hosted “Little Birds” on our ship while involved with the escort operations of reflagged Kuwaiti tankers conducted under operation Ernest Will. All the “Special Operators” I met in 1987/88 whether SEALs or TF-160 aircrew/mainteance pesonnel were very, very impressive and obviously provided a critical capability that significantly augmented the “conventional forces” (ships, planes, soldiers, tanks, etc.) that most of us think of when we contemplate our nation’s armed forces. What your book “Seal Targert Geronimo” tells me is that, our Special Forces capabilities, including SEAL Team Six, and The Night Stalkers, have really improved their capabilitites in the last 25 years. Unfortunately our nation needs their unique expertise and technology more than ever. Please pass my deepest appreciation and admiration to SEALs and Special Warriors and their spouses/partners. As you say in your book, “Its not for everybody,” but I am very thankful to know they are trained, ready, willing, and “on watch.” Thank you also for seeing this project through to completion! V/r,

  20. Hi Chuck – It’s been a while but our friendship at the lake was important to me. I have just finished SEAL TARGET GERONIMO and it is an amazing piece of literature. Having been “married to” NSA and CIA, I thought I had some idea about “Black ops”. I hadn’t a clue. I learned an enormous number of facts and was made to understand facts that, until now, had been relatively meaningless. I was amazed at the wealth of knowledge and continued to wonder how you became so knowledgeable as I read the book. Page 175 held a partial explanation as you described some of what makes up a SEAL. The book is scholarly, facinating and eye-opening. Congratulations! I was very surprised that right away the government revealed that SEAL team 6 made the strike. I thought that type of information was not shared. Probably not a good thing for the SEAL family. but a great thing for your book.
    I tried to contact you through the 2 e-mails I have but was unable to get through. I want to tell you how proud you should be – and I am sure you are – of Paddy. I also want to find out when you will be up north and available to sign books. I hope you are doing really well health wise!



  22. Chuck,
    I first want to say Thank you for having the balls to write what others wish they knew…..
    As for the “current administration”, you were and continue to be..on the mark. There were so many that jumped on the Obama parade wagon during his election. Everyone chanted “change” at the top of their lungs. CELEBRITIES (which makes me sick) campaigned and leant their names to the so called political rock star. These were people that had/has no frigging clue about polotics. This administration pretends it inherited a mess. They speak as if Obama was not elected, but CALLED IN to clean up this terror campaign. MY commander in chief…Mr. George W. Bush, was the one that was thrust into a war. From 9/11 on, Mr. Bush spent his term fighting not only terrorist but also, the critics from the other side of the aisle. it makes me sick to the core that the current administration reaps the benefits of the hard work the Bush era had done. These are the same idiots crying over enhanced interogation tactics that worked to keep America safe.
    The “job” was done effectively. Osama is learning what his crony so called suicide “martyrs” have learned….there are no virgins waiting. Only eternal damnation.
    Hold your head high Chuck. You done it right today. Thank you for not wavering. you have admitted the “TECHNICAL” errors in the book. thats good enough for me. Good luck my brother.

  23. I just finished listening to your book from Audible and loved it. I will now purchase the print version. The narrator chosen for your audio book is spot on with his narration and actually put me on site with the teams. I would recommend it to everyone I know but people think it is weird that a female is so interested in the military. I never served but my Grandfather, Father, Brother and Nephew did. Each in a different branch and in each war. I cannot begin to thank the men and women who serve on a volunteer basis and the Special Ops guys for keeping me safe. Bless you all. The ones still here and the ones who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

  24. Like Julie, I listened to an Audible recording of this book and feel compelled to recommend it to anyone interested in global current events especially related to terrorism. I will be reading the printed version. The record of events has the distinct feel of an almost completely true story, but reads like an action adventure novel. I caught a few mistakes but they were minor and didn’t detract from either the story or its believability. I’ve read many history and other non-fiction books and I sincerely enjoy them, but I can’t ever recall a more exciting and riveting story than Geronimo. Thanks to the author for educating and entertaining.

  25. Chuck,

    Your latest book is fantastic. It was such a great read. I admire your writing talent so much. Just wanted to say it has been an honor and privilege to have known you. I wish you and yours all the best. Sending angels to surround you. God bless. Katy (SunAir)

  26. Chuck, I just wanted to say that after some major events in my life, I’ve listened to your audiobook “Warrior Soul” multiple times. Your ability to speak confidently about your life and not omitting the trials and real difficulties you have faced has helped me through some of my own this past year…I’m just a surgeon and an air force brat but felt I needed to pay you the profound respect I feel for what you have contributed to this country and to me personally in the battles I currently face. Thank you- J. Kraus

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