“I have an incredible story to tell. It’s not that I have done anything incredible or that I possess any attributes that one might consider to be incredible (I am really pretty regular). Rather, it is that I have had some life changing incredible things happen to me in the last couple of years. It is possible that it all may have never happened and it is interesting how it did”.
So to recap from my previous blog post I am a veteran along with my wife. We both served in the Navy. I love professional sports as much as the next person but my real heroes wear camouflage. It was through a book titled SEAL of GOD that my interest in America’s elite special forces was rekindled. Reading that book left me hungry for more and so my pursuit of the next great story began. Marcus Luttrell’s books were next and I loved them both. Since then I have read many great stories about the warrior class of individual that this great country has produced. While a person may agree or disagree with our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, you have to appreciate the men and women that have put themselves in harm’s way in defense of our country. This, for me, is especially true when it comes to special operation forces and especially the Navy SEALS. This is not to exclude the Army’s Special Forces Green Berets and others.
So my reading continued and it became apparent that I needed to keep the costs down. I thought that it would be a good idea to purchase a kindle. I had to run the idea past my boss (Rosie) first. You know men hold most of the leadership positions on this planet but women really rule the world. Come on guys, you know it’s true. She agreed and so I put one on order.
I believe that the first book that I purchased was one called OUTLAW PLATOON by Sean Parnell and John Brunning. It was another incredibly good read about an Army Ranger unit serving in Afghanistan. It was brutally honest in parts but for good reason. It really educated me as to the conditions that these warriors served under while deployed. Outlaw Platoon was a really good book about a brotherhood that is forged only through courage, personal strength, and valor. Much respect and appreciation for Sean Parnell's service and dedication. John Brunning is an outstanding author.
I had mentioned in my previous blog post that I had seen a book on the shelf of a bookstore titled FEARLESS but was hesitant to read it. I guess it takes some of us longer. It probably was on my mind or possibly came up on my suggested reading list but reading FEARLESS was next. This book would turn out to be a life changer for me. For those who haven’t read the book, it is about a man named Adam Brown of Hot Springs Arkansas.
I have always had a soft spot for the state of Arkansas. Makes sense right? After all, I grew up in California and now live in Oregon. Um…well you see it’s like this. I had a couple of friends growing up who were twin brothers. Their parents grew up in Arkansas and they were wonderful people to me. Chris and Cary Martin’s parents were named Otis and Deana. Growing up, me and the twins were like brother’s. I enlisted in the Navy at the same time as Cary. We made contact once stationed together at NAS Memphis Tennessee. I remember to this day, traveling together on a Greyhound bus to visit some of Cary’s family in Arkansas. My guess is that we were somewhere near Sheridan Arkansas because that is where his pop was from. His mom grew up in Hot Springs. How awesome is that! Anyhow, I loved this family like my own and still do. Much later in life I worked as a short term consultant for a few weeks in Camden Arkansas. It was for a defense contractor that was taking over one of the projects that my previous company had. They were trying to lure me into moving there but we were already committed to Oregon. I am happy to be here but who knows what might have been.
So as I was saying, it took me a while to read FEARLESS. Once I got down to reading it I was glued to Adam’s and his family’s story. It turned out to be maybe the most incredible and inspirational life story I have ever read about. The story about Adam’s parents, their upbringing, and how they came together in combination with the Brown’s early life together would have been enough to hold my interest. But that was just the beginning. The only authority that I have for anything that I am writing is that I have read the book, as of this moment, five times. I have a friend on Facebook that has read it at least seven times.
Adam was a really good kid growing up. He was taught excellent values by his parents. He had a ton of energy and it is clear from reading the opening pages that Adam had always been Fearless. He loved his family growing up and was very courteous to others. He watched over his twin sister Manda and stuck up for those who couldn’t help themselves. A big example was a kid named Richie Holden who had Downs Syndrome. Adam protected him from other kids that were bullying Richie because those are the type of values he was taught at home.
Adam excelled in anything he was passionate about and that included playing football for his high school football team, the Lake Hamilton Wolves. He helped to motivate the team to excel and they did through hard work and dedication. It was after high school that Adam fell into drug use and that began to change him for the worse. He no longer was the innocent and trustworthy type of person that he was, much to his family’s despair.
Adam’s story goes from that of being a good kid to becoming an untrustworthy drug addict. That would have been an unhappy ending to the story but it doesn’t end there. In the pages to come Eric Blehm would detail how Adam went from being a Crack Cocaine addicted junky to becoming a member of the United States Navy’s SEAL’s elite Team Six. The story of the love between him and his wife Kelley and how they would overcome Adam’s addiction together is just incredible.
Adam would go on to accomplish everything that he set out to do in the SEALs in spite of some serious injuries. That is another incredible part of the story.
There is a quote that I have seen by George Orwell a number of times that is used to describe the American Warrior and specifically the elite of the special operations community:
~People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf~
I agree with the above quote to a large degree. I actually believe that I sleep peaceably in my bed at night because of God’s Grace and his hedge of protection. I also owe it to the first responders that serve in my community in order to keep us from total anarchy. HOWEVER, I agree that a large part of my freedom is due to the rough men that stand at the ready to do the job that only they can do. They are some of the most intelligent and brave individuals that exist. To become a special operator, they go through very extensive training, as well as physical and mental challenges that weed out most of the individual that seek to be part of their number. America needs rough men that can accept and endure the challenges they face both here at home and while serving their country abroad. Adam Brown was one of these rough men. But he also had his Tender side.
One of the things that came out in the book was the fact that Adam could return from deployment and turn the war off like a light switch. He went from being a fearless warrior to being a loving father and husband as soon as he landed on American soil. Near the end of FEARLESS it is stated that Adam was sharing a book with his teammates that was titled The Tender Warrior. It was written by a man named Stu Weber. Stu is a former Green Beret officer who served in Vietnam. The title Tender Warrior perfectly describes Adam and he will forever be known as that. I read this book as well and got a chance to meet Stu Weber briefly. More about that later.
I am going to quote the opening line from chapter one of FEARLESS here:
“When Adam Brown woke up on March 17, 2010, he didn’t know he would die that night in the Hindu Kush mountains of Afghanistan--but he was ready.”
The story of Adam’s faith and how it transformed his life. How he overcame so much to reach the tip of the spear. How he was such a great family man and teammate. How he overcame so many obstacles and how nothing deterred him. These are all part of why I love this book. Eric Blehm has you laughing on one page and getting overcome with emotion on the next. Every time that I approach the end of the book, I know what is coming. I wish it could end differently but it doesn’t. I could go on about that but I won’t. Adam’s story is awe inspiring and ultimately one of eternal victory. There was a group of us on Facebook that were reading all these books that are telling the stories about all the great warriors serving in these latest conflicts. On more than one occasion I was told something like “that was a great book. It wasn’t as good as FEARLESS though.”
It doesn’t matter how old you are (within reason) or what your gender is. FEARLESS is an incredibly inspiring true story. I couldn’t put it down. Every time I read it everything else just stops. I’ll be sitting at a tire shop or some other place getting all weepy eyed trying to make sure that I am not embarrassing myself in front of others.
I remember after reading it for the first time that I was sitting in front of my computer and was thinking “How do I get ahold of these people to tell them what an incredible story I think this is?” I saw the website for the book and tried to leave a message. I am sure that it was not seen by the Brown family. One day I would get my chance!!
While I was on Facebook, I became aware of a page that pays tribute to Adam called
R.I.P Adam L. Brown. It was through that page that I would begin to develop new friendships (Albeit online friendships) with other FEARLESS fans. I would eventually meet a man who was chosen to memorialize Adam in a spectacular way. This would lead to additional friendships and groups I follow. I would travel and eventually get to tell Adam’s family in person how much their story means to me.
I don’t mean to be overly dramatic although I guess I have a flare for that. Life can be pretty mundane at times. If all I had was my own life to think about, I would be content with that. However, this stuff has changed me from being just a regular guy to one who has an incredible story to tell.
Judge for yourself