Tag: US Navy SEALs

No Ordinary Dog: My Partner from the SEAL Teams to the Bin Laden Raid

No Ordinary Dog is the powerful true story of a SEAL Team Operator and military dog handler, and the dog that saved his life.

Two dozen Navy SEALs descended on Osama bin Laden’s compound in May 2011. After the mission, only one name was made public: Cairo, a Belgian Malinois and military working dog. This is Cairo’s story, and that of his handler, Will Chesney, a SEAL Team Operator whose life would be irrevocably tied to Cairo’s.

Starting in 2008, when Will was introduced to the SEAL canine program, he and Cairo worked side by side, depending on each other for survival on hundreds of critical operations in the war on terrorism. But their bond transcended their service. Then, in 2011, the call came: Pick up your dog and get back to Virginia. Now.

What followed were several weeks of training for a secret mission. It soon became clear that this was no ordinary operation. Cairo was among the first members of the U.S. military on the ground in Pakistan as part of Operation Neptune Spear, which resulted in the successful elimination of bin Laden.

As Cairo settled into a role as a reliable “spare dog,” Will went back to his job as a DEVGRU operator until a grenade blast in 2013 left him with a brain injury and PTSD. Unable to participate in further missions, he suffered from crippling migraines, chronic pain, memory issues, and depression. Modern medicine provided only modest relief. Instead, it was up to Cairo to save Will’s life once more―and then up to Will to be there when Cairo needed him the most.

My thoughts …

This book is absolutely outstanding!

No Ordinary Dog by Will Chesney and Joe Layden is a fantastic story told (and read … I listened to the Audible book) by Will himself. The book is written as a tribute to his K9 partner, Cairo. It details the story of Chesney’s service with the US Navy SEALs, his decision to become a K9 handler, and the incredible bond and partnership that developed between these two SEAL warriors.

I am a dog lover, are you?

If you are a dog lover, this book is a MUST READ! It is simply an incredible story of loyalty, courage, sacrifice, commitment, and love. It is a moving tribute to a fantastic dog, a loyal partner, and a best friend. We are truly blessed that Will Chesney chose to share his story with us! It is a book I guarantee you will not want to put down!

The introduction is one of the best I have ever read and brought a tear to my eye. The book just gets better from there. The descriptions of training, missions, and the time Chesney and Cairo spent together have you right there living in the moment. At the same time, the stories of missions are well-done and informative, but not graphic or in danger of giving away any military secrets.

No spoilers, but the part of the story where the author is recovering from a severe injury, and Cairo comes to his rescue, was incredibly moving. Later, when Cairo is in real need, Chesney returns the favor. If you are not at least brought to the verge of tears, you are not human.

I absolutely recommend this book and give it 5 stars, only because that’s where the scale stops. This incredible story is off the scale. You can check the book out on Amazon by clicking here!

I hope you will take a few minutes and check out some of my other blog posts by clicking here! And check out my new novel, Montagnard, on Amazon.com!

The Red Circle

My Life in the Navy SEAL Sniper Corps and How I Trained America’s Deadliest Marksmen by Brandon Webb

“If you want to know what makes up the DNA of a Navy SEAL and have a behind-the-scenes look at the best sniper program in the world, then ‘hold 1 right for wind’ and read The Red Circle.”

Chris Kyle, SEAL Team Three Chief and bestselling author of American Sniper

“Impressive and well-written…The Red Circle is a great book.”

Howard E. Wasdin, Navy SEAL and bestselling author of SEAL Team Six

About the book

Brandon Webb’s experiences in the world’s most elite sniper corps are the stuff of legend. From his grueling years of training in Naval Special Operations to his combat tours in the Persian Gulf and Afghanistan, The Red Circle provides a rare and riveting look at the inner workings of the U.S. military through the eyes of a covert operations specialist.

Webb’s distinguished second career as a lead instructor for the shadowy “sniper cell” and Course Manager of the Navy SEAL Sniper Program that trained some of America’s finest and deadliest warriors-including Marcus Luttrell and Chris Kyle, that makes his story so compelling.

From hair-raising close calls with Taliban and al Qaeda forces in
Afghanistan to designing new sniper standards and training some of the most accomplished snipers of the twenty-first century, Webb describes how the Special Operations warriors at the forefront of today’s military are forged.

About the author

After leaving home at age sixteen, Brandon finished high school and joined the US Navy to become a Navy SEAL. His first permanent assignment was as a helicopter Aircrew Search & Rescue (SAR) swimmer and Aviation Warfare Systems Operator with HS-6. In 1997 his Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) package was approved. He would class up with over 200 students in BUD/S class 215, and go on to complete the training as 1 of 23 originals.

As a SEAL, he served with SEAL Team 3, Naval Special Warfare Group One (NSWG-1) Training Detachment sniper cell. And completed his last tour at the Naval Special Warfare Center (NSWC) sniper course, where he served as the Naval Special Warfare west coast sniper course manager. Throughout his career, he completed four deployments to the Middle East, one to Afghanistan, and would later go back to Iraq in 2006-7 as a paramilitary contractor. His proudest accomplishment in the military was working as the SEAL sniper course manager, a schoolhouse that has produced some of the deadliest snipers in US military history.

An accomplished and proven leader, Brandon was meritoriously promoted to E-6 while serving as an advanced sniper instructor at NSWG-1. He was recommended and advanced to the rank of Chief Petty Officer (E-7) his first time eligible while at the sniper course. He has received numerous distinguished service awards, including the Presidential Unit Citation (personally awarded to him by President George W. Bush), and the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with “V” device for valor in combat. Webb ended his Navy career early after over a decade of service to spend more time with his children and focus on entrepreneurship (both his parents were small business owners).

Today Brandon is focused on building his first billion-dollar business. He is the founder and CEO of the Hurricane Group, a Global Media to commerce business focused on military and outdoor entertainment (news, digital tv, & podcast), subscription-based clubs, and products.

Brandon is regularly featured in the media as a military and business subject matter expert. He has contributed to ABC’s Good Morning America, NBC’s Today Show, FOX News, CNN, the BBC, SIRIUS XM, MSNBC, and The New York Times.

Webb is a New York Times bestselling author. His books include The Red Circle (St. Martin’s Press) Among Heroes (Penguin-Random House), Benghazi, The Definitive Report (Harper Collins), The ISIS Solution (SOFREP books), and The Power of Thought (self-published). He has two books scheduled to publish in 2017. The Killing School: Inside the World’s deadliest sniper program, is set to be released with St. Martin’s Press May 2017. Total Focus: How to Make Better Decisions Under Pressure, publishes with Penguin Random House in August 2017.

In 2012, after losing his best friend, Navy SEAL & CIA contractor Glen Doherty, in Benghazi, Libya, he founded The Red Circle Foundation (RCF), a non-profit with a 100% pass-through model. Every dollar donated goes to the mission, and business partner donors pick up the Foundation’s overhead. RCF is focused on supporting families of the Special Operations community through emergency memorial, medical, and child enrichment programs (camps & scholarships).

Brandon is a member of the New York YPO (Young Presidents Organization) chapter and serves as a board member on the veterans’ advisory committee to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

He enjoys spending time with his tight circle of fantastic family & friends, being outdoors, and flying his experimental aircraft upside-down. He splits his time between his residence in San Juan, PR, and Manhattan, NY.

My thoughts …

I purchased this book at Barnes and Noble some time ago, originally reading it as research for the main character in Serpents Underfoot and its sequel, Montagnard. I just finished re-reading it, and for the second time, I could not put it down.

If you read and enjoy books like American Sniper or Lone Survivor, then this is another book you will absolutely enjoy. Webb takes the reader through SEAL training, the war in Afghanistan, his role in improving the SEAL sniper training program, and so much more.

This is not a book of nonstop SEAL adventure, though there is enough of that to satisfy most readers. This is a book about what it is actually like to be a SEAL written by a SEAL.

I give this book an easy 5 Stars and recommend it to all.

Montagnard: Chapter Sample #1

Setting the stage …

In this sample, we jump into the past to find young Dish, a Montagnard warrior and ally to the American’s during the Vietnam War, narrowly escaping certain death at the hands of the Viet Cong.

Dish is the adopted brother of Mai, a Vietnamese woman and mother to the main character in this exciting sequel to Serpents Underfoot. He plays a key role in this new tale of kidnap, rescue, redemption, and revenge.


17 September 1967

Dish leaned his back against a tall Dalat pine and struggled to quiet his heavy breathing to listen for sounds of enemy pursuit. The ambush had been perfect. Dish, as point man, had been allowed through the kill zone. Somehow he’d missed it, which meant that whoever laid that ambush was also damn good; because Dish was damn good.

The terrain had not allowed for the typical L-shaped ambush, or the Viet Cong’s favorite, a V-shaped ambush. But the Green Beret A-team he was scouting for was now caught in a deadly cross-fire from both sides of their position. Separated from the team by a dense hail of bullets created by both the ambushers and the Green Berets who were returning fire, Dish tried, unsuccessfully, to circle back and rejoin them. Unfortunately, he ran directly in to a group of a dozen or so VC that were moving up to reinforce the right leg of the ambush. Spotting Dish, the group opened fire, and he could do little more than turn and flee back down the trail. The excited VC, forgetting their mission, took off after him, following in hot pursuit.

Reaching up, he removed his Boonie hat to wipe his sweaty brow with the sleeve of his olive drab jungle fatigue jacket. Listening , he heard nothing.  

There’s no way I lost them, Dish thought. Maybe I outran them? He doubted that was the case and was sure they’d be along. More likely, they were moving cautiously.

Finally, he risked a swallow of water from his canteen, relieving the dryness of his throat. Placing the canteen back in its pouch on his left hip, Dish returned the Boonie hat to his head and crouched down, shifting his grip on the M-16 rifle he carried. He listened for several long minutes. Had he lost them? It still seemed unlikely.

That question was answered a few seconds later when Dish heard a twig snap a short distance to his left. He froze. A hushed admonishment in Vietnamese immediately followed.

Then, his eye caught a movement. Dish held his breath as two black-clad figures stepped out of the brush and into a small clearing just a few yards down the slope from where he now stood, pressed against the Dalat pine. Both VC carried AK-47s and wore bandoliers with extra ammunition hanging sash-style over their shoulders. Each wore the trademark conical straw hats as protection from the sun, which luckily at this moment was directly behind Dish.

He felt a bead sweat run down the back of his neck. More sweat stung his eyes. Dish could do nothing; even the slightest movement might give his position away. To his surprise, the two enemy fighters never even glanced his way. Their attention seemed focused on something downslope. Seconds later, the two continued to carefully work their way down the hill and away from where Dish was willing himself to become part of the tree. Then, like jungle ghosts, they were gone.

Turning, Dish began running along an outcropping of rock that was partially concealed by the Dalat pine against which he’d rested. There was a shout. An AK-47 fired, and a spattering of bullets ricocheted off the rock just behind him. They were right on his tail. Dish spotted an outcropping of rock just ahead and raced toward it. Hearing his pursuers closing in behind him, he ducked behind it.

I hope this isn’t a dead-end!

There was no place to hide. The crack created by the outcropping was narrow and not very deep. Perhaps five feet wide at its opening, in narrowed to maybe eighteen inches where it ended in a rock face.  It was seven or at feet deep at best with a thick growth of leafy scrub brush at the base of the rock face. It was a dead end.

At twenty-three years old, Dish had been fighting the North Vietnamese and their VC allies for seven years and had witnessed much of their evil brutality. He was determined not to be taken alive. Moving quickly to the rear of the crack, he pressed his back into the brush and checked the action of his M-16 rifle. Dish had ten fully loaded 30-round magazines available in his rucksack but doubted he’d get a chance to reload very many times.  When he died, several of them would come with him.

Pressing the magazine release, he quietly slid the partial magazine from the well and replaced it with a full one. Working the charging handle as noiselessly as possible, he moved back as far as he could into the split in the rock. Turning to face the opening, Dish leaned back into the brush, wanting to feel something substantial behind him. Nothing. He shifted back just a bit and pressed back again. Still, there was nothing. Crouching, he worked himself farther back into the scrubby growth and suddenly tumbled over backward.

Getting to his feet, Dish looked back at the crack. He was now standing on the other side. The rock face in front of him was solid, but there was a hole, probably cut by water at its base. Stooping, he peered into the hole and estimated the rock wall to be several feet thick. The scrub brush concealed the hole, and he had luckily fallen right into it. Dish listened but could hear nothing. The VC were cautious in their approach, suspecting they had him trapped and in no rush to get themselves killed. Even a trapped rat will turn on its pursuers, and Dish was no rat, more like a tiger.

Dish quickly took stock of his situation and could see he was in a big bowl cut by falling water. He spotted a rocky wash on his right that led up a steep, almost vertical, bank.

The only way out of here is up, he decided.

He slung the rifle across his back and started climbing up the wash, making as little noise as possible. He’d climbed about a hundred feet or so when the wash suddenly turned out onto a rock ledge. Flattening himself out, Dish lay on the shelf and quieting his ragged breath, listened. He could hear the VC below him, now searching for him, calling out to each other in Vietnamese.

“Fan out! He can’t have just disappeared. Poh! Use your bayonet and check that brush.” There was the sound of a bayonet snapping into place on a rifle barrel and then being thrust repeatedly into the brush.  

“I tell you he isn’t here!”

After a time, the perplexed group of VC moved on, their voices fading as they drew farther away. They’d completely missed the hole into which he’d fallen.


I think my readers will find real improvements in style and substance in this new release, due out next summer … a result of lessons learned while writing my first novel.

I have gotten great feedback in emails and reviews of Serpents Underfoot, and I always take that feedback to heart as I strive to improve my skills in my chosen craft as a writer. I am looking forward to hearing from my readers about this second novel when it is released.

Poll: Montagnard Book Cover

First Cover Design for Montagnard

The sequel to Serpents Underfoot

Here is the first attempt at a cover design for Montagnard, the action-packed sequel to Serpents Underfoot. It was created for me by a freelancer on Fiverr.com

I am working very hard to make this second novel a lot better than my first (which from the reviews … wasn’t that bad).

But I did learn a great deal from my first book, and those lessons learned promise to make this second release just that much better.

That should also include the cover! So, please let me know what you think!

montagnard

Navy SEALs Swim Hudson River to Honor Military Vets

Fox News host and Army veteran Pete Hegseth joined a group of Navy SEALS as they swam across the Hudson to show support for our military veterans and their families.

This is the kind of event that makes me so proud to be an American and to have such respect for those who serve. I think back to the day I raised my right hand and swore my oath, and seeing things like this makes me realize that, if I could, I would do it all again.

seal Swim hudson
Fox News Photo

The SEALs routed their swim with stops at the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, before ending the swim at Battery Park. At each scheduled stop, the SEALs performed a number of pushups and pullups to honor America’s legacy of liberty and diversity, and those who have fought and even paid the ultimate price to preserve them. We owe them so much.

While Fox News host Pete Hegseth is an Army veteran, he bravely jumped into the Hudson River with the Navy SEALS and completed the swim. Hegseth did admit he had a bit of help in the first leg of the swim from one of the SEALS, Kaj Larson, when he got caught up in the strong currents, but he completed the other two legs of the swim just fine.

All I can say is “Hooah” to these amazing Navy SEALS and to Fox New’s Pete Hegseth for showing us all what it means to be a true American Patriot!

All photos courtesy of Fox News.

For more Navy SEAL action, check out my military action thriller titled Serpents Underfoot. It is currently available in Kindle, paperback, and hardcover formats, and will soon be out in audio as well.

For interesting post by DC Gilbert, click here!

Buy This Book – you won’t be disappointed!

It takes work, but success will come!

Wow! Sales of Serpents Underfoot are growing. I knew enough to know that writing and publishing my own books would be hard work, and that any reward would be slow in coming. I mean … I am not exactly Tom Clancy!!

Also, there is a pretty long learning curve. How do I use Twitter or Instagram to market my books? How about Facebook, other book reviewers, book signings, etc.? And then, there is the mystery of Amazon Ads! It has taken time and work, but I am beginning to see the rewards.

I won’t lie. While the income certainly helps, for me the biggest reward and kick is simply knowing that someone read my work and got real enjoyment out of it. That makes being a writer really worth while for me!

More great new reviews for Serpents Underfoot

Newest Amazon Review

books by dc gilbert

Buy this book – you won’t be disappointed

A multi-generational story of perseverance, intelligence and craftiness, you will most likely find yourself rooting for Ajax and saying to yourself about the bad guys, “Uh oh – they shouldn’t have done that. Now I’m waiting for the sequel …”

Sharon Fowler

Thank you, Sharon Fowler, for the awesome 5 STAR REVIEW! Click here to read the entire review on Amazon!

The Prairies Book Review

I also recently received an excellent review from The Prairies Book Review. Tina S. at Prairies Review writes:

Full of Navy Seal action, the book will enthrall fans of action thrillers…

The book has it all—authentic detail, breathless action, vividly drawn settings, and an exhilarating plot. Action thrillers fans will be rewarded. Readers will wait eagerly for JD and Ajax to come together for another treacherous adventure.

Tina S.

Thank you, Tina, for the awesome review! Click here to read the entire review at The Prairies Book Review!

The sequel is coming!

The sequel to Serpents Underfoot, titled “Montagnard,” should be released at the end of this year or early next year. Serpents Underfoot was my first novel and it is doing amazingly well. But, I also learned a lot writing this first novel, so I promise that Montagnard will be even better!

However, you will want to read Serpents Underfoot before you read Montagnard, so I’d think about getting your copy pretty soon! It is available in Kindle format as well as paperback and hardcover.

Award Winning Author Gives Serpents Underfoot Five Stars!

Award winning Author, Lee Boyland, says Serpents Underfoot is a good first novel.

Yesterday, I noticed that Serpents Underfoot had received another review, so naturally I went to check it out and discovered I had gotten another 5 Star review. This time from an award-winning author, Lee Boyland,  Lee has several books out on Amazon.com. Check some of his titles out here!

Award

Lee Boyland’s Review

I posted Lee Boyland’s review here in its entirety. It really made me feel good to get this review and I am certainly working hard to improve my style in future works. Thank you, Lee, for your honest review. It is certainly appreciated.

Award

The story begins in 1966 in Vietnam and fills the first six chapters, then moves back to the US. A young US Army lieutenant is thrown from a helicopter inserting a patrol, injured, and then rescued by a Vietnamese girl who returns to the US as his bride. At this point the story transitions to their son, a US Navy SEAL. The author does a good job of describing the real Vietnam war on the ground, the inhuman crimes committed, not by the US but by the Vietcong and North Vietnam army. Hope some of the flower children now running the country read these chapters.

Other reviewers have discussed the plot and in a couple of instances the books grammar and style. Monday morning quarterbacks who should attempt to write a novel. I am sure the author’s style will improve with future works. For me, the story is the important thing. Is the plot feasible? Are the characters believable? Is the action realistic? In this novel they all are.

Smuggling ten small nuclear devices across our border is possible, however, the “suite case nukes” in the story would not be 2 KT. Considering their source, a yield of .3 to .5 KT would realistic. This said, a .4 KT nuclear detonation in a city would be catastrophic. Such small devices exist and in the US are referred to as SADMs, small atomic demolition munitions for use by Special Forces behind enemy lines.

Isn’t that an awesome review?

You can get your copy of Serpents Underfoot (Kindle) here, or paperback here. I would love to hear what you think of the book!

It is also available online from Barnes and Noble as well as Books-A-Million

Free Stuff … Review copies of Serpents Underfoot!

Free review copies of Serpents Underfoot are still available!

free

There are a limited number of free review copies of Serpents Underfoot available on BookFunnel for anyone interested. They are in both Kindle and epub formats. The only catch is that, if you take one, I am asking you to please leave an honest review on Amazon.com.

Do you like military action thrillers written with a real sense of pride in all branches of the U.S. military? If so, you will really enjoy Serpents Underfoot.

This military action thriller is already getting great reviews, but I need a few more. Reviews are very important to self-published authors. They are also very import to Sophie, because selling more books means I can keep her in dog biscuits! And, Sophie needs her biscuits!

free

So, feel free to snag a free Kindle or epub copy of Serpents Underfoot! Read it and enjoy it! Then, leave an honest review on Amazon.com … so people can read how much you enjoyed the book. This way, more people will buy the book and I can buy Sophie more biscuits!

Or, check out Adirondack Bear Tales!

free

Eleven delightfully charming tales of real-life encounters with black bears in the Adirondack Park of upstate New York.

This book can now be found in the Raquette Lake Library! It is selling well and has 4 Five Star reviews to date. The Kindle version is only $2.99. You can order a copy by clicking here!

These tales would be great for sitting around the campfire, bedtime tales for children, or just some pleasant light reading when when the mood strikes. The paperback copy makes a great little gift for a reader in your life at only $5.99. Please check it out, and if you enjoy it, leave a review on Amazon.com!

Check out other great posts by clicking here!

Vietnam Veteran, 5 Star Review & The Flesheater

Check out this great review from a Vietnam veteran!

Anyone who reads Military Fiction will enjoy this book. DC Gilbert did an excellent job developing the characters and bringing them to life. I enjoyed the beginning, being a Vietnam Veteran, and thought it added to the plot of the story. The story has depth, and the author did an excellent job in fitting in historical events. It was evident that he did his research. I am looking forward to the next one!

vietnam

A word about the sequel, Montagnard!

I added a new character to my sequel to Serpents Underfoot. This new character is amazing! He is … the Flesheater!

vietnam

Jim Hammond designed this amazing blade with input from Guru Arcenio J. Advincula. Guru Advincula is also a 1st generation Isshin-ryu Karate student of the system’s founder, Master Tatsuo Shimabuku. Sensei Advincula was a colleague and good friend of my Isshin-ryu Karate Sensei, Sherman Harrill.

Jim Hammond and AJ Advincula designed the Flesheater as a highly effective fighting knife compatible with the fundamental mechanics of both Largo-Mano Escrima and Isshin-ryu Karate.

Introducing the Flesheater.

The story of the Flesheater began when Master Chief Petty Officer Don Griffiths discussed fighting knives with his martial arts instructor, AJ Advincula. The Master Chief led the design and development research for the SEALTAC knives developed for USN Special Warfare (SEAL) Operations in the early 1980s. During one of the Master Chief’s visits to the shop, he accidentally experienced the cutting edge of the first prototype. The Master Chief exclaimed, “That knife’s a real flesh eater!” It seemed to be a very suitable moniker for the blade.

Largo-Mano Escrima

I knew of the Flesheater sometime before my introduction to its capabilities because I have attended a few of Sensei Advincula’s Isshin-ryu Karate seminars over the last several years. However, the real introduction occurred when I began practicing Largo-Mano Escrima with Richard Rosenthal, a fellow long-time Isshin-ryu Karate practitioner and a student of Escrima for the last 15 years.

Richard runs an escrima class on selected weeknights at the House of Hops in Raleigh, NC. Weather permitting, we train in the upper parking lot and then enjoy a few craft beers as well. It is a good time and a great workout!

vietnam

Of course, we don’t practice with live blades. I am partial to keeping my fingers attached to my hands. In addition, I am not too keen on being disemboweled. And, this blade excels in both areas of endeavor. Therefore, we use a hard rubber version of the blade. It is solid and will definitely leave bruises. Consequently, realism is not really an issue. Anyone interested can find the training version here. It is available from several third-party vendors.

It will be interesting to see what part this awesome blade plays in Montagnard when JD Cordell and a few of his fellow SEALs return to Vietnam on a mission that is highly personal in nature!

Certainly, whether hacking your way through a hoard of crazed terrorists, the dense jungles of Vietnam, or simply cleaning your fingernails, the Flesheater is the blade you should have on hand.

Read more great posts by clicking here!

Inspiration: The Story Behind Serpents Underfoot.

Why do authors write what they write?

books by dc gilbert

In discussions with some of my readers, the inspiration behind my military action thriller Serpents Underfoot comes up quite often. When I think about it, there are several factors that inspired me to write this novel.

While inspiration can certainly come from a lot of places, I will discuss what I think inspired me the most in writing this book, as well as what helped to shape how the story unfolds within the book’s pages.

In the battle between good and evil …

One point I would like to make before delving into the things that inspired me to write Serpents Underfoot, is that I believe good and evil are real and exist in this world. There are great many good men and women walking this planet. But, there are some evil men and women walking this planet as well.

What do I mean by “good?”

In my mind, it is important to never confuse a true character trait, such as being a good man or woman, with social skills. Social skills are things like charm, niceness, rapport, well-groomed, or personable. People use these social skills to achieve a result. But, they are tools people can turn on and off.

A character trait is something different. A character trait is deeply ingrained in who we are as a human being. It is part of our core belief system. There is a real difference.

For example, Jeffrey Dahmer could certainly be charming, nice, personable or well-groomed to get what he wanted; namely a new victim. He was not, however, what you would call a good man.

And, this matters because …

Sometimes, good men and women have to do things that are not nice. But they do them to protect the rest of us. They stand between the people they care about and the evil that exists in the world. It is their “code” that allows them to remain “good” while battling to protect the people and values they hold most dear.

My main protagonist in Serpents Underfoot, JD Cordell, is a U.S. Navy SEAL. His father is a U.S. Army Vietnam veteran. His grandfathers were veterans of WWII and Korea. Many of his ancestors fought to protect their country. JD’s mother is the daughter of an honorable and respected Vietnamese village leader butchered by the Viet Cong.

JD is a good man battling evil in the world because that is his job. And because for him, it is also a family tradition.

Inspiration from other authors

My love of reading certainly inspired me. First and foremost, I have always loved to read. I jokingly tell people that I could read before I could walk.

Second, I love books dealing with the struggle between good and evil; books that have a strong protagonist who overcomes seemingly insurmountable odds to go on and save the day.

Lastly, I firmly believe in many old-fashioned ideals that we seem to be in danger of losing in our society today. These ideals include things like honesty, integrity, truth, love, courage, honor, loyalty, and family. These are the ideals that define and create true heroes. And, these ideals, or lack there of, shape the actions of several of the characters in my book, Serpents Underfoot.

Inspiration from favorite books

It is because of this dynamic struggle between good and evil, and my respect for the men and women who are willing to put themselves between us and that evil, that I love books like Lone Survivor and American Sniper. Marcus Luttrell and Chris Kyle, whose stories are told in these books, are real people. And, they live by a code, a code based on the ideals mentioned above. That code helps makes them the men they are. And, it allows them to go bravely into the dark places of the world while still remaining “good men” at their core.

And, of course, there are events in my life …

When I was a youngster, I wanted to be Batman when I grew up. Wouldn’t that be the greatest job ever? Imagine my disappointment in finding out I would probably never be rich enough to afford all those cool gadgets or a Bat Mobile! Obviously, I would have to do something else instead. Maybe James Bond?

Military service

Later, I enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in the infantry for four years. I served with a mechanized infantry unit in Germany, a straight-leg infantry unit in South Korea, and the 101st Air Assault Division at Ft. Campbell, KY. During my time with the 101st, we deployed to Panama where I graduated from the Jungle Warfare School.

Martial Arts

Over the years, I developed a keen interest in the Martial Arts and studied Isshin-ryu Karate for over 35 years. I never had much interest in tournaments or sport karate, but focused on self-defense and personal combat techniques. I still train today and currently hold a 5th Degree Black Belt.

Additional inspiration …

In my early forties, I graduated from the Advanced Executive Protection Program offered by Executive Security International as a Level I Certified Protection Specialist. It was fantastic training and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The program delved into the psychology of VIP protection, legal issues surrounding VIP protection, security details, courtroom defensible self-defense techniques, and defensive firearms training.

All of these things helped inspire and shape the story that grew into Serpents Underfoot. I suspect that, on some level, there is a little bit of me patrolling through the jungles of Vietnam, snatching a wanted terrorist in the mountains of Afghanistan, or battling terrorist assassins invading my family home in Knoxville, Tennessee.

I need to mention one final source of inspiration. That was my mother. My mother was a strong woman. She was independent, self-reliant, and had an indomitable spirit. She came from true Adirondack pioneer stock and was always ready for a new adventure.

While I did not plan it this way, several of the female characters in Serpents Underfoot evolved into very strong characters. JD’s mother, Mai, and Julie, who works for the CIA, both have a quiet strength that serves them very well in the situations in which they find themselves. Even Fatima, a deadly female Syrian assassin and cold-blooded killer, is a strong woman. But, unfortunately shaped by the environment in which she came of age. Perhaps that is why I get so many good reviews from women readers.

As I look at the America we now live in …

The last twenty or so years have ushered in some amazing changes in our society. Many have been good. However, some have not.

Ideals such as honor, integrity, honesty, family, loyalty, or just doing the right thing even when nobody is looking, often seem to be lacking in our current leadership. Certainly not all. But, with enough regularity that it has become alarming to me. These ideals predate even Christianity, going back to early Greek philosophy. They are the corner stones of western civilization and are essential elements of successful self-government.

Part of the inspiration for my writing this book was to fight back just a little bit by addressing some of these ideas through the events that unfold in a thrilling tale readers don’t want to put down. I wanted to remind people that good and evil do exist.

We all suffer from the condition of being human. Therefore, none of us are perfect. And, that comes out in the story as well. But I believe these values are very important to our identity as Americans and if we lose them, America as we know and love it, will cease to exist.

Edmund Burke once said, ”
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing!

I believe truer words have never been spoken.

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