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nohero_cvr

Co-author(s): Kevin Maurer

In No Easy Day, Mark Owen took us through the famous raid that led to the finally removal of the nutter known as Osama Bin Laden, and all that led up to that point which included his training. In No Hero, Mr. Owen returns to talk about excerpts of other missions he was a part of during his stint in SEAL Team 6, and even some life lessons that he learned during his time with the SEALs. Mr. Owen takes us from his humble upbringings in Alaska to his first meeting of an actual Navy SEAL onwards toward his early years of Navy SEAL training. His vivid descriptions of his training at times can be as nerve wracking as some of his missions. Through it all, however, Mr. Owen’s voice is ever humble as writes about his extraordinary life in the SEALs. There is something delightful about his post-deployment of ritual of stopping in at Taco Bell for a taco … something that many of us take for granted. No Hero is not only a constrained chronicle of the life of a noble and valiant man, it also offers some very interesting life lessons. One such moment (for me) was Owen’s encounter with a mountain climber in Las Vegas and the concept of working within “your three feet world”. Brilliant piece of advice for occassionally overwhelmed, multi-taskers such as my self. Quite the eye opener, that one. Earlier in the book, Mr. Owen writes about the meaning of his title for the book. Though it is humbling that Mr. Owen sees himself as anything but a hero, I have to respectfully say that I strongly disagree with him on that. In a world where some narcissistic tart and her family are celebrated simply because they have some shitty reality show and offer the world nothing more than need for more attention (yes, Kardashians I am talking about you) to paraphrase Bonnie Tyler: “we really need some real heroes”. Any person that puts up with the most grueling, training regimen in the world and then goes off to some spot of hell on this earth, for the sake of country and fellow man, is, in my book, a hero. And in my books, Mr. Owen you are … in the truest sense. God Bless you and yours and the rest of your days under the sun. And thanks for the “three feet world”.

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navy-seals-untold_cvr

Co-author:: William Doyle

The last time I reviewed a book by Dick Couch it was a brilliantly written book about the Special Forces and the behind the scenes training. It was called Choosen Soldier. Now Mr. Couch has written many other books and it is sad to admit that I have not gotten around to reading many of them. Give me time, mates. It is no surprise that I’m a big fan of all things special forces. I know … shocking (of course, the tons of Navy SEALs book on my site pretty much kills the subtlety factor). So naturally, when this appeared on my stacks, I could not help restrain myself. But enough with the blah-blah-blah and let’s get this review on it’s way, shall we?
Navy SEALs is a well written book that takes the reader from its origins to the present theater and role of operations. It is also, seemingly, a tender tribute to the SEALs, past, present and future: Mr. Couch’s alum. Needless to say, but some of the stories in are a bit tough to stomach but it makes you more appreciative of these past heroes (both alive and deceased). Some of the tough stories took place during World War II when the unit was known as Naval Demolition Combat Units (NDCU) and eventually Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT). One such story took place during the Normandy invasion. Now over the years of watching various celluloid depictions of the Normandy invasion, it was mostly from a Marine or Army perspective and … yes … it was a bit tough. However, reading about the NDCU’s role during the Normandy invasion was a bit scary. For starters, most of the naval demolitioneers went into battle with very little (a fortunate few carried a sidearm) and they had to set up explosives on a beach where bullets and mortar was raining down on them from HIGH ground. Some never made it to shore since mortar rockets detonated explosive ordinance in their boats … and let’s just say it was not pretty. Today, SEAL team operators are more prepared to deal with situations from a team level to an individual level (heaven forbid should things get so grim). In the earlier stages, things were a bit dicier for the forbearers of what was to become Naval Special Warfare. And though there were some tough moments, there were a few decent breaks like during their training in Korean waters, during the Korean war, many naval combat divers found themselves sharing waters with bare-breasted, female pearl divers. Hey, it was a tough job and someone HAD to do it.
Though the SEALs have evolved over the years, as they moved closer into the twenty-first century there were still many lessons that forged them in the elite fighting unit that they are to this day. Sadly, some of these lessons were learned the hard way in places like Vietnam, Grenada, Panama and the Afghanistan.

Though Untold Story is centered around the SEALs, it is a tribute to all those that serve in the special operations community. Those that are called upon to do the extraordinary, to go where many fear to tread and at times prevail (or sacrifice) amidst the evils and horrors that exist in those dark corners of the world daring to reach forth its tentacles on the rest of civilization. Well written and tremendously touching, the stories compiled by Couch will keep readers riveted and in the end, filled with appreciation and admiration even more for these brave men. May God bless them all and their days under the sun.

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NoEasyDayCover

Running title: No Easy Day – The firsthand account of the mission that killed Osama Bin Laden

It is no secret that I am fascinated with the world of special operations, especially the world of the Navy SEALs. So after the world largest scumbag was dirtnapped and it was revealed that his appointment with Allah was made possible by SEAL Team 6, I must say that I was not surprised. I don’t say this to come off as some arrogant, know-it-all, wanker or such. I say it in the vein that I truly felt that if there was any military unit out there that could pull this off … let’s just say that the SEALs had my vote by a high measure. Anything else would have been a combination of SEALs and British SAS. Enough with the kissy-kissy.

With Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty (back in January) beckoning to me like a randy, saucy Siren to a marooned, undersexed sailor, I couldn’t wait to get my mits on this book (mostly to compare notes with the movie … and needless to say, it came pretty damn close). The book starts out with Mark Owen and his team enroute to the infamous compound that housed the world’s biggest asshole, along with the biggest stash of retro, dog-eared, printed porn. But very early enough, the book takes the scenic route as Mr. Owen invites us on his journey of becoming a SEAL to joining SEAL Team 6 (DEVGRU) … and eventually the historic mission. And it is quite a fascinating journey that most readers would feel quite honoured to be on.
Like most SEAL books that I’ve read, Mr. Owen talks about simply enjoying the simple things such as walk and feeling the grass beneath his feet, or taking a bite into a taco from Taco Bell after returning from a mission (a taste of home, civilization). Irrelevant to most, but it really captures the somber and serious tone of his job where every deployment could be your last and it was always wise to take time out to smell the roses (literally) … whenever he could. It is a sincere sentiment and Mr. Owen is no lesser for revealing this bit of vulnerability. In my honest opinion, it only confirms his noble and valiant nature. Now only if politicians could be this open, honest and honourable. As the book eventually makes its way to the historic mission, the reading becomes like a roller-coaster where you find yourself gripping the pages with pure anxiety, despite knowing the outcome, and every turn of the page becomes a bowel-clenching moment … in a good way (of course this doesn’t pan out too well when you’re stuck in mass transit with a loaded Hoover Dam type bladder).

In the end No Easy Day is what it set out to be: a no-nonsense account of what ACTUALLY happened on the mission (sans the usual hype, bollocks and other sensational blah-blah-blahs provided by external media types). On the other hand it is just another (well-earned) tribute to the lives of those valiant souls that do the extraordinary in view of most of us whilst in their eyes it just all part of the job. Just another day, where yesterday was an easy day. Though some may disagree with his politics (and this may subtly rear its head) it is still not hard to say “Thanks Mr. Owen and the rest of your mates in the SEALs that, to us, do the extraordinary”. Thanks and cheers, mate.

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Running Title: Lone Survivor – The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing And The Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10

In view of the recent demise of the Earth’s #1 tosser, wanker, scumbag and turdkicking jackass, I just felt that I had trot this review out.

Lone Survivor is a harrowing story of bravery, nobility and tragedy that pulls at the heartstrings and keeps you on an emotional roller-coaster. It is the recount of an ill-fated Navy SEAL mission that occurred in Afghanistan in the earlier part of the war on terror. Retold by Marcus Lutrell, the only survivor of this mission, the reader is given a tour from from his humble beginnings to his training for entrance into the SEALS to his deployment into Afghanistan and the harrowing ordeal of the mission. It is quite the read that pulls you in and gives you a deeper appreciation for what these chaps do for their country and fellow countrymen. In several reviews I’ve encountered, concerning this book, some folks feel that Mr. Luttrell do seem full of himself as he indulges in a lot of self-inflicted backpattings and the such. I, on the other hand, disagree. Considering that this is a nation that rewards complete twits for “singing” nonsensical bollocks about how much cars they have, women they did and bling that they where … I find such gripes directed towards Mr. Luttrell is bloody laughable. Let’s face it, here is someone that VOLUNTEERED to endure viciously, rigorous training to become part of military unit that is OFTEN called upon to go off to godforsaken hellpits of the world and basically put their life on the line … and oh yes, they don’t paid millions or get a bloody clothesline. Aye, I’m guessing Mr. Luttrell has not only earned the right to toot his horn but to toot it from the mountain tops if he bloody well pleases. It seems I have detoured. Haven’t I? Let’s return, shall we.
In the center of the book there are series of pictures, some black and white and some color, of Lutrell and his former SEAL buddies. In a sense, this book is also a tribute to his fallen mates (one was from New York). As I read the book, every time their names were mentioned I often found myself going back to that center of the book to look at the person’s picture. I think doing this brought even more home to me and tore at my heartstrings. Especially when you read how a noble (yet tactically unsound) decision to protect “innocent” lives, instead of preserving their stealth, basically backfired and cost these men their lives. I say innocent in quotes because it makes you seethe in rage when you wonder how many of these tossers that got spared came back with Al-Qaeda and Taliban nutsacks to destroy the very hands that spared them. At certain points, the story reads like a movie where you’re expecting the calvary to come and save them. But real life is not like the movies and in the real world, sometimes the calvary themselves get hurt or destroyed in the process … which just makes this story even more heartshredding. Mr. Lutrell’s story is one of many that needs to be told, an eye-opener and a very appreciative view of the men that serve as Navy SEALS. On a few occasions, however, Mr. Lutrell veers off course to lash out at the “liberal media” and this is not only distracting but annoying. The cry of the so-called bloody “liberal media” is usually the war cry of tosser bloggers and wanks on the camera who think too bloody highly of themselves. Mr. Luttrell is so much more and is bigger than this, to reduce himself to the level of these twits. Something I once saw on the bumper of Bronco, complete with gunracks, in Florida: The Media Is As Liberal As The Conservatives That Own It. Thankfully he is subtle and conservative in his rants against the “liberal media” and stays on course with his story of tragedy and tribute. It is a sobering read, and unless you have the emotional content of stone, it is enough to make you at most shed a tear to the least, give a silent salute to these chaps that gave so much.

Thank you Mr. Luttrell and all the chaps that serve in the SEALs for your service. God Bless and rest in sweet peace, Mr. Michael Murphy, you brave soul.

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Running Title: Chosen Soldier – The Making Of A Special Forces Warrior.

In Chosen Soldier, Dick Couch take the reader on an intimate journey through the training process for the Special Forces. This is a much welcomed and spirited read for those of us that are fascinated by and admire the members of the armed forces. Dick Couch, a former Navy SEAL, brings more than just real-time narrative as he interjects a bit of his experience of being part of the special operations community. This adds tremendously to the experience and makes the reading a bit more interesting as Chosen Soldier removes the bloodthirsty, gun-toting, Neanderthal, Rambo-type imagery that is often generated by little alcoves in Hollywood and the scores of wannabes that has never set foot in Bragg or Coronado. From the moment the candidates step off the bus in North Carolina onwards through the four crucial phases, the readers are guided intimately by Couch as he demonstrates nothing more than pure fondness and admiration for these valiant and brave young man … as would a father of an extraordinarily gifted child. The training is rigorous and taxing. And though brawn is required, far more is demanded of the brain as SF candidates are required to learn, in depth, everything from weapons, communications, medical procedures and battlefield negotiations. In a sense, they are not just being trained to be warriors but also … teachers. I’m guessing the wank that came up with the phrase “those who can’t do … teach” has never met a Special Forces member and wouldn’t dare to say it to their face. Good luck on that one, mate.
There are some unexpected moments that appear in a book that seem centered on special forces training such as the expectant birth of SF candidate Miguel Santos’ daughter. To some this may seem soft, but this is what the Special Forces are made up off: ordinary people training to do extraordinary things for the love their fellow man and country. Another fascinating bit learned about the Special Forces: despite the popularity of elite units in the world such as the British SAS and the French Foreign Legion, there are many that come from around the world to be a part of the US Army Special Forces. It is indeed a testimony to its training and its operators. Some came from Africa (Patrick Kwele), Norway (Instructor Micheal Jariss) and even a gentleman that took a pass on the New Zealand SAS regiment waiting list.

On thing that this book does NOT do ( and some just might say so) is glorify war. If anything, it shows the grim and seriousness of it all as valiant men are preparing themselves for the moment they are called to put themselves in harm’s way for the sake of a nation and all that is good. This is not Hollywood or any sort of videogame bolllocks. And as candidates pass through the various phases of their training, those that fail are treated with the same accord as those that have succeeded: with respect and dignity. There is no emasculation for those that fail, but (surprisingly) encouragement and advice for those that seek to try again. In the instructor’s minds these men have stepped up to an extraordinary challenge and that alone is admirable.

Dick Couch’s Chosen Soldier is in many ways, an eye-opener which debunks many a myth and lore (often generated by wannabes) about the physical, social and psychological aspects of Special Forces training. It brings to light the intelligence and courage that accompany these men, from all walks of life, that take up that calling to be a Special Forces member. Most of all it adds to the existent adoration that many of share of members of the special operations community. For those that are seriously (and that’s serious with a capital S) contemplating joining the Special Forces, then this is the book to read.

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