Decorated US Navy SEAL lieutenant Jason Redman served his country courageously and with distinction in Colombia, Peru, Afghanistan, and Iraq, where he commanded mobility and assault forces. He conducted over forty capture/kill missions with his men in Iraq, locating more than 120 al-Qaida insurgents. But his journey was not without supreme challenges—both emotional and physical. Redman is brutally honest about his struggles to learn how to be an effective leader, yet that effort pales beside the story of his critical wounding in 2007 while leading a mission against a key al-Qaida commander. On that mission his team was ambushed and he was struck by machine-gun fire at point-blank range.
During the intense recovery period that followed, Redman gained national attention when he posted a sign on his door at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, warning all who entered not to "feel sorry for [his] wounds." His sign became both a statement and a symbol for wounded warriors everywhere.
From his grueling SEAL training to his search for a balance between arrogance and humility, Redman shares it all in this inspiring and unforgettable account. He speaks candidly of the grit that sustained him despite grievous wounds, and of the extraordinary love and devotion of his wife, Erica, and his family, without whom he would not have survived.
Vivid and powerful, emotionally resonant and illuminating, The Trident traces the evolution of a modern warrior, husband, and father, a man who has come to embody the never-say-die spirit that defines the SEALs, one of America's elite fighting forces.
Former U.S. Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell was honored with the Navy Cross for his actions in 2005 while facing Taliban fighters during Operation Red Wings. He is also the New York Times best-selling author of Lone Survivor and Service.
Marcus Luttrell: What is the most important lesson you gained from your SEAL career?
Jason Redman: The only thing that truly stops you from overcoming adversity in life is you. If you absolutely refuse to quit, ultimately you will succeed. This is the essence of being successful; as a Navy SEAL, in training, in combat, in any endeavor in life.
ML: You were in several intense firefights. What would you tell young warriors going into combat for the first time?
JR: Trust in your training, trust in your senior leaders, and focus on your assigned task and doing it to the utmost of your abilities. In the absence of leadership, step up and lead. You will feel fear, but courage is not the absence of fear, it is the ability to recognize it and still overcome it and act courageously. Trust your, plan, training, and tactics and accept the fact that what happens on the battlefield will happen.
ML: What part did your wife Erica and children play in your recovery after you were wounded?
JR: Erica and my children played a tremendous role in my recovery. Despite my wounds and how I looked, they showed me what unconditional love is. My biggest concern is for our young warriors who come from a broken family and don’t have that support network. This is why I am so passionate now about supporting our veterans, especially our combat veterans.
ML: What advice do you have for vets trying to overcome physically and emotionally after they’ve been severely wounded? Where did the ‘sign on the door’ in the hospital come from?
JR: All warriors who have seen combat carry some scars back from the battlefield, either visible or invisible, we all bring back demons. Don’t suppress those demons; get out and find other veterans who have seen combat and talk about it. You will never fully get rid of those demons, but with time and facing them you can learn to live with them and minimize their impact on our daily lives. You must make a mental commitment to overcome, refuse to give in to your wounds regardless of what they are, and lift up the people around you. This process is cathartic.
The Sign on the Door came from a few people who emotionally expressed their distress at my wounds. I made that mental commitment in the beginning to not focus on what happened. What happened, happened and I could never go back and change it. The Sign captured my mental commitment to say, “The mark of a man is not found in his past but how he overcomes adversity and builds his future.”