The US Navy Seal Teams have received unprecedented exposure over the last several years. A small segment of the community welcome exposure while the vast majority wish all the attention would go away, adhering to the original humble roots of the SEAL Teams, which hold on to the tenet “The deed is all, not the glory.” Every man who has decided to talk has his reasons to do so. I originally chose not to, but as I began to speak to friends and leaders about the ups and downs of my personal journey, they encouraged me to share my story.
Over the last six years, I have had ample time to reflect on my twenty-year career in the SEAL Teams. I served in Iraq, Afghanistan, and various hot spots in South and Central America during deployments both pre- and post-9/11. I took pride in my accomplishments, but I also forced myself to face difficult truths about who I was when I was a younger man. I thought about those lessons from my own experience as I spent long weeks in hospital beds around the United States. I wish I’d paused and been so contemplative earlier in my life. I wrote this book to be both a signpost toward a successful future and a cautionary tale of hubris.
I grew up in a community of warriors, but I possessed an immaturity that lingered far too long. Hard lessons showed me the right path, and with help from admirable and respected friends, I found myself taking it. In time, I learned the true meaning of leadership, and the responsibility required to lead men into battle. Today, I look back and feel supremely honored to have been with men far better than me on missions bigger than all of us.
Many of the SEAL narratives written over the years have portrayed us as infallible machines. We are not. We are humans, driven to achieve and be the best at what we do – but still humans complete with all the frailties built into our species. How we manage those frailties is one of the reasons for our success. My story sheds some light on that reality and how I overcame my own shortcomings.
Being a SEAL took me to the edge and beyond. It shaped me into who I am today. When I look back, I liken my path to that of an ancient sword being made into an effective combat weapon. I was selected and hardened, hammered and sharpened, until I was finally used in battle. But the rigors of combat revealed my flaws, and I was broken at one point. A second chance reforged me into a better leader and allowed me the honor of fighting alongside some of the greatest warriors this nation has ever produced.
This is my journey.
Learn more about Jason HERE
“There already are many books on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. There will be more, including by those who experienced the fire of combat. This story, though, is not just about a SEAL on the Iraqi battlefield, but a SEAL at war with himself, and his ultimate victory. I believe his story will inspire the reader, just as it did me.”
Robert M. Gates, Secretary of Defense, 2006-2011