Alone at Dawn: Medal of Honor Recipient John Chapman and the Untold Story of the World's Deadliest Special Operations Force Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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The astonishing true account of John Chapman, Medal of Honor recipient and Special Ops Combat Controller, and his heroic one-man stand during the Afghan War, as he sacrificed his life to save the lives of 23 comrades-in-arms.
In the predawn hours of March 4, 2002, just below the 10,000-foot peak of a mountain in eastern Afghanistan, a fierce battle raged. Outnumbered by Al Qaeda fighters, Air Force Combat Controller John Chapman and a handful of SEALs struggled to take the summit in a desperate bid to find a lost teammate. Chapman, leading the charge, was gravely wounded in the initial assault. Believing he was dead, his SEAL leader ordered a retreat. Chapman regained consciousness, alone with the enemy closing in on three sides, beginning the most difficult and exceptional fight of his life.
John Chapman's incredible display of valor - first by saving the lives of his SEAL teammates and then, aware that he was mortally wounded, single-handedly engaging two dozen hardened fighters to save the lives of an incoming rescue squad - posthumously earned him the Medal of Honor. Chapman is the first airman in nearly 50 years to be given the distinction reserved for America's greatest heroes.
Alone at Dawn is also a behind-the-scenes look at the Air Force Combat Controllers: the world's deadliest and most versatile special operations force, whose members must not only exceed the qualifications of Navy SEAL and Army Delta Force teams, but also act with sharp decisiveness and deft precision - even in the face of life-threatening danger.
Drawing from firsthand accounts, classified documents, dramatic video footage, and extensive interviews with leaders and survivors of the operation, Alone at Dawn is the story of an extraordinary man's brave last stand and the brotherhood that forged him.
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|Listening Length||11 hours and 23 minutes|
|Author||Dan Schilling, Lori Longfritz|
|Narrator||Kiff VandenHeuvel, Betsy Foldes Meiman|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||June 25, 2019|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #3,547 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#5 in Afghan & Iraq War Biographies (Audible Books & Originals)
#8 in Special Forces Military History
#9 in Afghan War
Reviewed in the United States on July 29, 2020
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Top reviews from the United States
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1. The American people believe that we can fight a limited war with minimal enemy casualties. That we should fight a "moral war" where nothing bad ever happens. As a result, troops second, third and fourth guess themselves as Leavenworth is never far from their minds. If you've never served, don't say you support the troops. You don't. You'll throw them under the bus in an instant.
2. Politicians care more about what the American people think than whether or not service members come home or if wars are won or lost. To them, your children who choose to serve are nothing but cannon fodder. If it were not so, battlefield commanders would be given the autonomy to fight and not have to wait until they are in imminent danger to defend their own lives. While our enemies are prosecuting wars, OUR troops often have to wait until their lives are literally on the line to engage when they could neutralize the threat before it becomes imminent. No politician who endorses "rules of engagement" support the troops.
3. General officers far removed from combat consistently make poor decisions that cost American lives because they think they know better than the battlefield commanders seeing the action in real time. Imagine if Alexander the Great had tried to lead battles while sitting in his Lay-Z-Boy in Macedonia, guessing at what his generals in Persia were facing and disallowing his generals to adjust to battlefield dynamics. It would have been a slaughter. That's precisely what our troops face in every battle. The generals who made the decisions that got these men killed bypassed the man who had the intel on the battlefield precisely because they thought they knew better than the man who knew what was happening and who told them that they were wrong in their decision making. But they were generals, so their hubris cost many men their lives. When it was clear that they messed up, they tried their best to throw the lowest ranking enlisted man under the bus to cover their mistake. So...what happened to these general officers?
George Bush promoted one to Lieutenant General, then to Ambassador and Chief of Counter Terrorism. Talk about promoting your incompetent.
We hear the press talk about war crimes. The worst of the crimes is what the politicians (and most general officers are just that) hamstringing our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines and making them tie an arm behind their back to fight an enemy who wants the whole of the USA destroyed. The men and women that they don't get killed, they turn the leftists and their hit squad of "reporters" on to assassinate their character.
We either need to get into the business of war and embrace it, or get out of it entirely. Trying to take a delicate balance between the two is an untenable position. And our young men and women are paying the ultimate price for it.
Overall there are a number of storylines to follow as well as much of the military jargon that necessarily finds its way into such a book. I’m terribly thankful to the authors for all their detailed and dedicated effort to “get this right”. They did.
For those who simply wish to whine about the fact it was too complicated to follow I’d only add that you can read a book more than once, or for that matter you can take detailed notes as you read it (digitally or on paper). Short of that, perhaps try growing a brain.
What some of the special ops forces have endured since 9/11 is simply beyond the pale. For someone to complain about the pain of actually having to “think” while reading about it is disheartening. It has been my painful experience to have to listen to the pain of so many friends who have had loved ones serving in these roles, for now these many years, and to understand the pain of what it has done to these wonderful warriors.
John Chapman left a tremendous legacy of dedication and love and it really shined through at the end of the book. It was sad to learn of some of the military game playing that some of his supporters encountered (I’m sure that’s an understatement) in getting his valor recognized. Unfortunately military institutions from top to bottom have pretty much unfailingly produced some of the best and some of the worst in human behavior. Thins always go wrong in war. Some face up to it, some don’t. A theme does run through this book that is unfortunately not very favorable to some of the Navy Seals involved (and in fact team Six). But given the proclivity for this thing to happen in pretty much all wars, it rings true that some of the players made big mistakes and later tried to cover them up.
In reading about military history, and especially US Military history I have found that as enough time passes certain valiant actors eventually get their due. But usually it’s only after significant classified information becomes de-classified. You will find much of that here with some seriously dedicated Air Force Sr. personnel. It reminds me of another GREAT example of the same behavior that was the experience of John Waldren from Torpedo Squadron 8 at the battle of Midway during WWII. He lost his life but his actions & those of his fellow aviators changed world history in mere minutes. Read Richard Mrazek’s wonderful tome on this episode for a gleaming example of military facts being covered up to protect the guilty. Sadly this wonderful story is tarnished by some of the same, but the authors have done their work and provided a compelling and worthwhile read.
Personally I think the world of all of our incredibly brave US military people. They “write out a blank check” for an amount up to and including their lives, and sign on the line to serve. You will NOT be disappointed with this story about some very incredible US citizens going above and beyond the call of duty so that we can sleep at night. Special thanks to Dan Schilling & “Chappy’s” Sister Lori for putting in all this effort so that some truth can begin breath again for those who have fallen.
This book opened my eyes to 'the rest of the story' and gave me even more respect for Chapman, who was literally 'left behind' and yet continued to fight, and then in a final heroic act did his utmost to shield an incoming helicopter from the enemy that awaiting its arrival.
Top reviews from other countries
I knew these combat controllers existed, but I never in a million years realised the scope of what they do and what they have to attain to get there.
As with all books of this nature, a good chunk of the start is building up, giving an insight into the roll of CCT and the people involved, but it’s worth it because when you get to the operation itself you have such an investment in the guys going into the thick of it.
All of those guys were hero’s, but when you read about what John actually did, and try and understand what must have been going through his mind at the time, it is truly mind blowing.
I can honestly say I have never had chills and a lump in my throat from reading a book before.
Chapter 21 will leave you in utter disbelief and chalet 24 will have you welling up, guaranteed.
You absolute have to read this book!!