The Heroes Behind the Heroes

Exactly four weeks from today my next book comes out. Writing it has been one of the most emotional journeys I’ve ever taken. The book, which I wrote together with my Navy SEAL sniper buddy Brandon Webb, tells the story of eight men Brandon has known, all SEALs — guys, as we say in the intro, that he trained with and fought with, looked up to and learned from. Over the course of the last fifteen years, all eight them gave their lives for their country and their team. Putting someone else’s story to paper, doing your best to get it right for posterity, is an imposing challenge. Writing someone’s story whom you never had the chance to meet, and who is not around to correct errors, add critical details, set the record straight? That borders on the terrifying. For Brandon this was an emotional journey for obvious reasons. He knew these men; they were his buds. (One of them, Glen Doherty, was his best friend in the world.) What made it so for me wasn’t even the stories of these men as much as it was the stories of their families. The ones they left behind. Because these amazing heroes — the mothers, father, brothers, sisters, and wives — I did have the chance to talk to, in some cases at length. With some of them I’ve formed friendships I expect will be in place for the rest of my life. They are in many ways the unsung heroes of the book. Though not entirely unsung. When it came to getting endorsements for the back of the book (what...