But this book isn’t simply a story about his service, and sacrifice. This is his story about “The Forging and Reforging of a Navy SEAL Leader,” just exactly as Redman states in the title of his book. This book confirmed my belief that in order to be a great American hero or leader, humility is at the top of the list of requirements. Jason was almost kicked out of the SEALs because of his arrogance and pride. The Trident is his story of how he came to the lowest place in his life, before he could actually do what he was called to do. It is an amazing story that I encourage all to read. Not only does it entail what it took to earn that Trident and keep it, it encompasses the seriousness of his injury on the battlefield and his long recovery from his wounds.
Really, for me, his road back to health was the secondary message of his book, though without a doubt the two stories are parallel in regard to what it takes to succeed in either endeavor. Both require a fighting spirit that I personally believe are innate in every hero.
I always love these stories from our American heroes. They are incredibly inspiring to me and there are always subtle lessons to be learned from what these men have written. In the end, it is never about them. It is always about a love of our God, our nation and our families.
Let me give you an excerpt from Chapter 10 that, for me, offers one of the most important of those subtle messages I was talking about. This excerpt is about a single al-Qaida survivor who had been wounded in a fire-fight and Jason’s team had found him pinned under a tree in the aftermath.
“What to do with him? If the tables had been reversed and it was somehow one of our guys that the Taliban had found, they would have promptly decapitated him and defiled is body in the name of jihad. Fortunately for him, the US military, along with some of our closest allies, still adhere to the Law of Armed Conflict and the Geneva Convention. Both state that an enemy combatant is entitled to medical care after the immediate conflict is over.
Fully knowing our enemy would not have provided us the same treatment, our BDA team freed him from the tree trunk, and our medic set about stabilizing him while we called in a medvac helicopter. Once again, a Black Hawk thundered into the valley and dipped below the ridgelines. I watched the scene, remembering how this guy’s al-Qaida brethren had opened up on our helicopter yesterday morning after we first landed. Maybe he was one of the trigger pullers. Now this brave helo crew was risking their lives for him.
The Black Hawk pulled into a hover over the ruins of the Taliban bunker complex with a thousand feet of cliff wall looming above it. One fighter with an RPG, still alive and willing to fight, could take the bird down, but the crew did not hesitate. The winch lowered a stretcher to the ground. The seconds ticked by. The terrorist was carried to it and loaded aboard. A hand signal from the ground and the helo’s crew chief winched the stretcher upward. A moment later, he was safely aboard, and the Black Hawk pulled up and out of the valley.
I don’t know what happened to that wounded, tree-smacked terrorist after he reached the helicopter. I don’t know if he even survived long enough to be treated at a coalition aid station. Or perhaps he made a full recovery at American taxpayer expense.
I do know this: in that moment despite the internal war raging in my mind, as I watched the Black Hawk disappear over a distant ridgeline, I felt honored to be a part of this scene and proud to be an American. We are a benevolent and merciful people who have rushed to the aid of people in peril all over this globe. That strength will always be our path to victory against those who know only brutality and murder.”Now that’s heroic, and that is America! And in my opinion, that message needs to be shared. There are too many citizens these days, that have been blinded by a liberal media that continues to paint the American as the aggressor; the Imperialist country that wants to rule the world. And that could not be further from the truth. I am with Jason on this one, too. That scene stirs my heart with passion and pride.
Jason's story is one of answered prayer. It is one of redemption and healing. He believes in hard work and dedication. He defends the American Dream and knows it is all worth fighting for. His story is the American Dream.
Finally, Jason’s story is also a love story. He could not be more proud of his wife, Erica, and their kids. And he could not be more appreciative for a wife that stood by his side through it all. Jason married the type of woman that every mama wants for her son. She loved him in sickness and in health. She stood by his every decision, trusting him to do what is right for their family. She did what she could to strengthen him, rather than cause him grief, worry, distress when he was so many miles from home. It is a beautiful story of trust, encouragement and love. His love and appreciation for her was equally moving.
This is a book I could just not put down. I found myself wishing every young person could read this book before beginning their adult life. There were so many important messages for all. Jason’s story is one that will inspire, and encourage. He learned through incredible difficulties the real way to lead. He began a non-profit, Wounded Wear, to help wounded warriors and he speaks around the country encouraging others with the things that he learned through his own trials.
One thing I know, success begins and ends with humility and I have yet to see a real leader without it. And one more thing, it is men and women like Jason and Erica Redman that continue to be the backbone of our great land. This is indeed a love story...love for God, country and family and all that it takes to keep that.
"Pride has destroyed more men than all wars combined." Jason Redman