No Hero

9780525954521_p0_v3_s260x420What makes a hero? 9/11 changed the way we view heroes, and how we define the word hero. Mark Owen wants you to think he’s No Hero. Owen (which is his pen name) was a member of Seal Team 6 – the group that not only bravely rescued Captain Phillips at sea from Somali pirates, it was also the same team that raided Bin Laden’s compound. In his first book, No Easy Day, he details the mission his team was given to raid the compound, and the shots he claims he fired that ended Bin Laden’s life. I read that first book of his – and although I did enjoy the story, I wondered why he wrote the book. He’s not the only to have claimed to have shot Bin Laden, so I think his motives behind writing both of these books is somewhat questionable.

Shortly after his first book was released his true identity was revealed. So much for writing under a penname! Mark Owen, or Mark Bisonette, explains the evolution of a seal in No Hero. What makes a seal?? Even after reading the book I’m still not that sure.  I think even in this second book he takes readers back to Afghanistan, following him on some of his toughest missions.

SEAL training is the toughest of all of the military special forces training. Called BUDS (I’m not quite sure what that stands for), he talks about this life-changing experience. Being a SEAL was a lifelong dream for him, and talks about the difficult journey of completing the training.  As he continued in his career, the training got more intense. For me, this was the most interesting part of the book. He became a member of Seal Team 6, the elite Seal team – which was a huge accomplishment for him, and a huge honor. One thing he focuses on, as an important part of a Seal is trust, and how trust is earned. Trust was an important part of their mission – they put their lives in each other’s hands.

With this recent book, there has been a new round of interviews. Just a few weeks ago he was featured for the second time on 60 Minutes. Again, his identity was disguised, and he talked not only about No Hero, but his new battle with the first book and the accusations that he revealed secret information about the raid on Bin Laden’s compound. There is the possibility that he could be prosecuted under the espionage act. Seems harsh!

I questioned his motives while reading the first book. He claimed be an average guy – just doing his job, although an important one, and wasn’t seeking any special recognition. Hence the name of his second book I guess. If he didn’t want to be recognized as a hero, or want to be recognized, then why write a book about it?  So he makes this important point in his second 60 Minutes interview that he’s not any different from any other top commander or secretary of state who have also written books. Most recently, Hard Choices. Hmm.. That definitely changed my opinion of his motives.

Another thing that I thought about while reading the book, is his talk of the agency. He works with members of the CIA, who are members of a special task force, trained to work alongside and do similar missions to the Seals. He describes them as part of a pissing contest, as if being special forces is any different?? As America’s longest war has continued, the rules of engagement had changed. Military members in the field are bound by stricter rules now. He complains about them – and having to work side by side with members of the agency.  Is he looking for sympathy??  Perhaps.  He won’t get any from me though.

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