The New York Times bestselling 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 twenty-three comrades-in-arms.
In the predawn hours of March 4, 2002, just below the 10,469-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 Navy 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.
John Chapman's subsequent display of incredible valor -- first saving the lives of his SEAL teammates and then, knowing 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 fifty 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.
In this informative and sometimes moving account, author and military veteran Schilling and Longritz pay tribute to Longritz's brother, Medal of Honor winner John Chapman. The story of his life includes a history of the Special Forces organization he worked for and loved, the Air Force Combat Control Teams, as well as an account of the brutal 2002 battle on Takur Ghar mountain in Afghanistan where he died saving 23 other American soldiers. Chapman was a member of the Air Force's Combat Control program, which specializes in facilitating air power in conjunction with ground forces. He deployed to Afghanistan and choppered into the mountains as part of Operation Anaconda. Upon landing with his team and coming under intense fire, he charged and single-handedly destroyed an enemy bunker. After he was seriously wounded, his team, thinking he was dead, abandoned their position. Chapman regained consciousness and continued to fight, alone, until he was killed. The authors contend that Operation Anaconda was badly flawed, and the loss of seven men on the mountain resulted from botched planning and execution by the team's superior officers. The pacing heightens the tale's immediacy, and reconstruction of Chapman's inner experience packs an emotional punch. This paean to heroism will strike a chord with fans of combat narratives.