Alone at Dawn: Medal of Honor Recipient John Chapman and the Untold Story of the World's Deadliest Special Operations Force (Paperback)
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.
About the Author
LORI CHAPMAN LONGFRITZ is the second of four children born to Gene and Terry Chapman and shares the "middle child" slot with John. She was a longtime advocate for his Medal of Honor and is proud to share the story of her brother, who lived his life the way he died . . . on his terms and in service of others. She continues to write and enjoys speaking about John and the qualities that led to his final and selfless heroic act. Lori, her husband, and son, John, live in the "Forever West" town of Cheyenne, Wyoming. A thirty-year special operations and Combat Control veteran, DAN SCHILLING has had numerous combat and clandestine deployments around the world, including the operation popularly known as Black Hawk Down, where he is credited with saving the lives of a Ranger and SEAL under fire. He later founded and then served as the first commander of two special operations squadrons. An adrenaline enthusiast, he holds the Guinness World Record for most BASE jumps in twenty-four hours and is a mountain speed wing pilot. Dan is also a motivational speaker and consults internationally on security matters. He and his wife, Julie, a former NSA cyberwarfare expert, live on the slopes of the Wasatch Mountains in Utah. For more information on his projects, visit him at DanSchillingBooks.com.
"The men who wear the Medal of Honor do so on behalf of all Americans-past, present, and future-who serve their country. I'm certain that if John Chapman had survived the events that led to his Medal, he would be uncomfortable with being singled out as a hero. But the fact is, that day he saved many lives at the cost of his own, and dozens of families owe the safe return of their loved ones to him. Every American should know this story. Thanks to Alone at Dawn, the first comprehensive account of his one man stand in Afghanistan, we have a chance to celebrate John Chapman's life and the courageous work of his fellow Air Force Combat Controllers."—ClintonRomesha, Medal of Honor recipient and New York Times bestselling author of Red Platoon
"Alone at Dawn is a stunning portrayal of a true American hero, from an unknown unit of unsung acclaim, and consisting of unassuming patriots. John Chapman, Medal of Honor recipient, exemplifies all the traits of the most decorated wing in the U.S. Air Force."—Lt.Gen. Kurt A. Cichowski, USAF (Ret), former Assistant Director, CIA
"A blend of military history, wartime drama, and the incredible true story of Sergeant John Chapman-the first Air Force Medal of Honor recipient since the Vietnam War-Alone at Dawn delivers blood-pumping action, heart-warming kindness, and an insider account of the most courageous individuals on the planet. Dan Schilling makes epic military heroism come alive and reminds us what true purpose is all about; and Lori Longfritz, John's sister, offers a poignant perspective on her brother's life, which was extraordinary long before his heroic one-man stand."—DeborahLee James, 23rd secretary of the US Air Force
"Alone at Dawn is riveting and powerful. This stunning account reveals for the first time one of the most extraordinary acts of valor and courage in the annals of U.S. history. With this book, USAF CCT John Chapman now rightfully takes his place as an iconic hero of the Afghanistan War. All Americans should honor and enshrine the memory of such undaunted self-sacrifice and valor."—Lt.Col. Dave Grossman, USA (Ret.), author of On Killing, On Combat, and AssassinationGeneration
long-overdue account not just of one hero but an entire force of heroes.
Documenting Chapman's final mission, Schilling and Longfritz recreate the
blood-soaked, desperate battle in all its dramatic detail, then fearlessly
delineate the most terrible choice combat can demand. It's a story that will
upset some and inspire many, but will leave no reader unchanged."—Jim DeFelice, coauthor of the #1 NewYork Times bestselling American Sniper
"Alone at Dawn is inspired by the life and heroism of Medal of Honor recipient John Chapman. The genius of the book is that readers will also learn what a Combat Controller does, and why every team of Delta, SEALS, and Green Berets want their Air Force Special Tactics professionals with them whenever they engage in battle. The men on Takur Ghar, where seven Americans were killed in action in service to their country, were doomed by classic examples of senior military incompetence and inter-service rivalry. That terrible tragedy will never diminish the bravery of those who fought on and above the mountain in March of 2002, and those who made the ultimate sacrifice, especially MSgt John Chapman, USAF."—James G. Roche, 20th secretary of theAir Force
"A brave book about a brave warrior and the long overdue acknowledgment of the history and the contributions made by the men of the 24th Special Tactics Squadron (aka Air Force Combat Controllers)."—Pete Blaber, former commander Delta Force and author of The Mission, The Men, and Me
is a story of heroism of not only of one man, John Chapman, but a heroic breed
of American warriors-Air Force Combat Controllers. It is a gripping
account of Chapman's last moments and pays homage to a brotherhood dedicated to
keep America safe and free."—Dr. Robert Kadlec,Assistant Secretary for Preparedness & Response, Former Deputy StaffDirector, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and Special Assistant toPresident George W. Bush
one of our nation's most elite special operations forces, Combat Controllers
not only jump, dive, shoot, and maneuver with the best, they uniquely combine
these skills with absolute mastery of three-dimensional battlespace to deliver
lethal and precision airpower, making them the deadliest force on any
battlefield. Among even this exceptional and select brotherhood, John Chapman's
heroism on Takur Ghar is without equal in America's longest war."—LtGen Donny Wurster, USAF (ret), former commander, Air Force Special OperationsCommand
men who serve in Combat Control whose incredible story is presented in this
book aren't asking for recognition. No late night talk show, video game or film
could possibly begin to convey the intensity of the experience, the fear, the
sense of duty and valor, the bonds that unite these men and, above all, the
inner feelings and motivation of someone who has stepped up and accepted the
challenge of this toughest of Missions."—Jeffrey"Skunk" Baxter, musician, national security specialist
"In this informative and sometimes moving account, author and military veteran Schilling and Longfritz pay tribute to Longfritz's brother, Medal of Honor winner John Chapman . . . 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."—Publishers Weekly
"This is an excellent book about a modern-day hero in a military field that rarely makes the front page."—Booklist