Thursday, August 2, 2012

FEARLESS, by Eric Blehm

Saying that this book deeply impacted me seems like hardly enough to cover the range of emotions I experienced while reading it. This is the true life story of Adam Brown, who was a Navy SEAL operator serving in Afghanistan with the elite DEVGRU team, otherwise known as SEAL Team Six - the group that took out Osama bin Laden. He was an extraordinary man of faith, love, kindness, courage, compassion, and bravery. He was a man who gave his all for God, family, his SEAL Team brotherhood, friends, and country. Although I knew how the story would end, I really couldn't bring myself to believe it. Adam was shot down while on his last team mission in Afghanistan.

As he was growing up, Adam wanted nothing more than to be the best that he could be at whatever he did. When he became a teenager, his goal was to wear his high school’s football jersey, even though he was undersized. With gritty determination, Adam accomplished everything he set his mind to. After his high school years, Adam fell in with the wrong crowd and soon found himself in a downward spiral of destruction. His recovery began when he gave his life to Jesus. He stayed on the road to recovery because of his unshakable faith in God, the love of his wife Kelly, his family, and his newly determined goal – to become the best of the best – a U.S. Navy SEAL.

This was my first look into the world of Navy Seals. I was absolutely fascinated. The applicants are well screened to even get a foot in the door. The men who do get accepted begin a strenuous, dangerous program of training. Only a small percentage reaches the next tier. Adam's goal was to reach the top tier – DEVGRU – Naval Special Warfare Development Group. The DEVGRU SEALs are “one of the United States’ premier Special Missions Units, capable of executing top-secret missions anywhere in the world.” Adam pushed on with great courage and determination. With his unflagging faith in God, he overcame every obstacle - a crushed leg, almost losing all the fingers on one hand, blinded in his right eye which eventually had to be removed, arthritis, back problems, constant pain. The training never stops. Once a Seal begins missions, most of his time between missions is spent in more training. That's why they are the best of the best.

The author Eric Blehm interviewed ten of the men from SEAL Team SIX. Seven of those men “. . . were locked and loaded on a CH-47 helicopter that was approaching a landing zone in Wardak Province when an insurgent-fired rocket-propelled grenade struck the aft rotor blade, causing the CH-47 to crash into a dry creek bed and explode. Everyone on board was killed: thirty U.S. forces and seven Afghan soldiers.”

In disbelief the author said, “Never could I have imagined that nearly every SEAL I’d visited with and spoken to about Adam Brown would perish in the single worst loss-of-life incident in Naval Special Warfare history.”

As he did everything in life, Adam Brown carried out his last mission fearlessly. He is truly an American Hero. He is truly an American to be proud of. My heart is broken for what he and so many others have sacrificed for me. My heart weeps for the families left behind who also sacrificed for me.

May the Lord bless and protect all our soldiers.