"Since the first navy frogmen crawled onto the beaches of Normandy, no SEAL has ever surrendered," writes Chuck Pfarrer. "No SEAL has ever been captured, and not one teammate or body has ever been left in the field. This legacy of valor is unmatched in modern warfare."
Pfarrar, a navy SEAL in the 1980s, has since become a screenwriter with several high-profile movies to his credit (e.g., Red Planet; Darkman). This highly selective look back at Pfarrar's life describes the intensive navy SEAL selection and training process and tells the story of some of the operations he participated in. Pfarrar is an excellent action writer who brings a strong sense of immediacy to his combat stories. He takes us from Lebanon in 1983,where he narrowly missed being in the explosion that killed 240 U.S. Marines; to the Achille Lauro hijacking; to trading shots with a Sandinista gunboat;and then to fighting terrorists in the Middle East. Along the way, he barely mentions three wives and devotes all of two pages to a serious bout with colon cancer. He does take time to express contempt for the clueless politicians, both U.S. and foreign, who risk soldiers' lives. Long on meditations about the soldier mind-set and spirit, this book is likely to be a popular choice in public libraries and subject collections.-Edwin B. Burgess, U.S. Army Combined Arms Research Lib., Fort Leavenworth, KS Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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December 30, 2003
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Excerpt from Warrior Soul by Chuck Pfarrer
It was a Friday night, and Gate 14 at Norfolk International was not crowded. American Airlines Flight 405 was a scheduled hop from Norfolk, Virginia, to Miami, with continuing service to San Juan, Puerto Rico. The maybe two dozen people in the departure lounge were hardly sufficient to fill even a third of the seats of the 727 now completing fueling at the end of the jet way. The bulk of American 405's passengers were said to be boarding in Miami for a weekend junket to the casinos and nightlife of San Juan.
When my row was called, I lifted my carry-on, showed my boarding pass, and walked down the jet way. Through the windows, I could see thunderclouds pressing low on the horizon. It was 8:25 p.m., only ten minutes before our scheduled departure, and the last red light of day was showing in the west. As the flight attendants closed the doors and made ready for departure, I found my seat and managed to push my duffel into the overhead rack. I had definitely exceeded the recommended dimensions for carry-on luggage. Concealed in my bag was an MT-1-X military parachute.
I wasn't going to Miami.
Like a dozen of my fellow passengers, I was going to jump from the airplane.
A closer look at the people in the departure lounge might have been instructive. Most of the passengers were under thirty-five, and the men all hard-eyed and fit. Some might have noticed that the passengers had a predilection for Rolex watches and expensive running shoes. Beyond that, they hardly seemed remarkable. The passengers were no mixed bag of civilians; they included a twelve-man Navy SEAL assault team. The balance of the people on American 405 included members of the Defense Intelligence Agency, air force combat controllers, navy parachute riggers, and a handful of officers from the Special Operations Command, based in Tampa, Florida. All were in civilian clothes; all exhibited what the military calls "relaxed grooming standards." In short, they blended in.
I was as unassuming as my fellow passengers. My reddish hair was collar-length, and my face was swathed by a luxuriant Wyatt Earp mustache, something I'd grown to add some authority to my perennially freckled face. My father used to tell me that I looked like a shaggy tennis pro, or some kind of overmuscled yachtsman. I certainly didn't look like what I was-an active-duty lieutenant in the United States Navy. Not just any lieutenant. As far as I was concerned, next to being a space-shuttle pilot, I had the best job in God's navy. I was an assault element commander at the navy's premier counterterrorist unit, SEAL Team Six. The other men hefting duffel bags were my shooters, my "boat crew," as the parlance went. I was in charge of tonight's festivities, a low-profile exfiltration and insertion exercise.