In “Warriors with Character”, literary ethicist Michael Kerrigan takes the reader deep into the lives and character, both overseas and at home, of seven severely wounded fighting men. We hear their own words about their backgrounds and motivations for making the choices they made to put themselves in harm’s way, and how they deal with the sacrifices – for themselves, their families and their country. It will be an eye opener for readers who haven’t focused on what’s behind the headlines and the numbers, and it will give the 99 percent of our citizens who don’t have a family member in the fight some insights into what it’s like for the one percent who do.
—Charles S. “Chuck” Robb, United States Marine Corps (Ret.)
served as lieutenant governor (1978–1982) and
governor of Virginia (1982–1986) and
for two terms as U.S. senator (1989–2001).
The seven “Warriors with Character” represent the true character of the majority who serve in today’s Armed Services and are the strength of this nation. This book shows that in dealing with their life-threatening injuries, they have had to manifest resilience, toughness, positive thinking, as well as tenderness and reflection. The stories also point out the important role that family and loved ones play in the successful rehabilitation of our severely wounded service members.
Having had the honor of knowing three of the warriors, Justin, Todd, and Sam, who have gone through Disabled Sports USA’s Warfighter Sports Rehabilitation program, I can attest to the true character of these fine “Warfighters.” I am also delighted with Brad’s performance through our partner, USA Paralympics, in winning one silver and two gold medals in the Summer Paralympics in London! His performance was a shining example of the value of sport in rehabilitation.
—Kirk M. Bauer, J.D., U.S. Army (Ret.)
Executive Director, Disabled Sports USA
This is an important book for all Americans, especially our youth. They need to know the difference between celebrities and true heroes—that difference being goodness, which is essential for a true hero. Despite inequality in ability and opportunity, young people should know they can have all the courage they want, they can’t use it up, and courage is the key to success in life. God makes courage infinitely available to all, and it destroys all excuses for failure and mediocrity, stamping them as the result of choice, not chance. This book identifies true heroes and highlights the incredible fruits of courage.
—Congressional Medal Of Honor Recipient, Major General Pat Brady
U.S. Army (Ret.)
Courage in America: Warriors with Character is the premier book covering the other side of combat: life for our returning wounded. This book chronicles sailors, soldiers, and Marines as they patrol the streets facing fear and fighting the enemy. When tragedy strikes and these warriors are life-flighted from the battlefield to hospitals, we join them bedside as they struggle with the gains and setbacks of recovery. In their own words, they detail the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual hurdles encountered during their rehabilitation and explain how their training and moral compass guided them on this life-altering journey. Kerrigan beautifully weaves their vignettes and the guiding principles that inspire them to serve and galvanize a successful reintegration. In an age where society needs a hero, this wholesome and uplifting book introduces us to seven humble men and the loved ones who supported them in their darkest hour.
—Captain Aloysius Boyle, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.), Company Commander
Wounded Warrior Battalion—East Walter Reed Army Medical Center
National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda
You owe it to YOURSELF to read these stories. These warriors learned critical life lessons in the hardest way and at great personal cost. They are now sharing them with you and it costs you only a couple hours of your time. What a bargain… Bravo Zulu, Mike. Semper Fi.
—Tom Esslinger, Chief Operating Officer, Marine Corps Association &
Foundation; Commanding Officer, Mike Company, 3rd Battalion, 26th Marines
on Hill 881S outside Khe Sanh Combat Base during the Tet Offensive in 1968
What’s truly remarkable about the narratives of Courage in America: Warriors with Character is how unremarkable the storytellers consider courage to be. For these seven soldiers, Marines and sailor, courage takes many forms: having the conviction to enlist, showing bravery in battle, surviving the unimaginable, and every day, despite wounds that will never heal, pressing on. It’s impossible to understand what courage actually means until you are forced to tap into it—and thanks to the sacrifices of veterans like these, most of us won’t ever need to. For all of us fortunate enough to never know bravery in our own lives, Courage in America: Warriors with Character should be required reading.
—Karen Guenther, Founder and CEO of Semper Fi Fund
Courage in America: Warriors with Character is an incredibly powerful compilation of individual stories that detail the extreme challenges and harrowing nature of combat, but this book is much more than that. These are stories of ordinary young men who were shaped by their experiences in the military, on the battlefield, and through agonizing recoveries associated with traumatic and tragic wounds. They became extraordinary in the process.
These warriors have remarkable stories to tell, and Mike Kerrigan does a great job of capturing the warrior ethos of our war fighters and the personal courage of each who contributed their story. They have insight and wisdom that can only be gained in the crucible of battle. What makes this offering unique and invaluable is the application of this insight and wisdom through their discussion on courage in the second half of the book. These are powerful life lessons that were gained the hard way and now available to us all.
—Randy Hammond, Lieutenant Colonel U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.)
Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for Valor in Desert Storm
Courage in America: Warriors with Character is a well-overdue glimpse into the experiences of our Wounded Warriors. Much more than just war stories, Michael Kerrigan’s powerful work provides us seven faces to go with the expression “the hotter the flame, the harder the steel” while providing much-needed lessons in character for our Nation.
—Lieutenant Colonel Eric Holt, D.O.
Air Force Special Operations Command
Fantastic book. Today, approximately one-half of one percent of all Americans serve in the military at any given time, and as the size of our military shrinks, there is a bigger and bigger disconnect between American civilians and our military. It’s too easy to forget about those few brave men and women who sacrifice so much for our country. Courage in America: Warriors with Character through the personal stories told in their own words, reminds us of the sacrifices these American heroes make for us every day. Thanks, Mike, for bringing these stories to us. We must never forget.
—Steve McCullough, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.)
Served in Vietnam assigned to 11th Interrogation & Translation Team, MACV, I Corps
Awarded Bronze Star with “V” for Combat Valor
Vietnam Armed Forces Honor Medal
Navy Unit Citation
Courage in America: Warriors with Character brings to light these brave heroes’ amazing stories of resilience and of overcoming adversity. Readers will relate to how their stories began, and will be humbled and awestruck by the extraordinary sacrifices they and others have made for our freedom. Every American should read this book.
—Captain Jim Nemec, Operation Iraqi Freedom (05-06), (08-09)
Operation Enduring Freedom (11-12)
The “American Experiment” has been challenged, assaulted, and debated for over 236 years now, but still stands, and has stood, the test of time. More capitals today emulate it worldwide than ever. Life does not look back, but if our forefathers could have seen our destiny, they would have said that it is because of the courage, drive, commitment, and character of the young men and women like these seven whom Michael Kerrigan has so masterfully described in his superb new book, Courage in America: Warriors with Character. It is this passion and strength to succeed at all cost that puts the great individuals in the forefront of the American spirit. Read this book slowly and share it with your children.
—Tommy Norman, Chairman, Charlotte Bridge Home
Michael Kerrigan’s book Courage in America: Warriors with Character continues President Abraham Lincoln’s legacy with firm resolve to not only honor, but also to remember, those who have served, and those who have returned as wounded warriors. In reading this book, we meet several warriors, and we learn their combat stories. We learn of their courage, of their strength, and of their wounds. They have invaluable lessons to share. To these warriors, we must pay homage. We must extend the rallying cry to all Americans, and reinforce the message that in our daily lives, we are free to pursue our liberties because of the mighty protection provided by our U.S. Military. Courage in America: Warriors with Character is inspiration to be shared with every American.
—Jennifer Pinto, Vice President
Managing Director, Marketing
Swett & Crawford, New York
When one visits Walter Reed, you aren’t sure how you will respond to people whose bodies have been torn apart. However, what you see are the strongest, bravest and most motivated people you will ever meet. Mike Kerrigan has captured that spirit with the stories in Courage in America: Warriors with Character. It makes you proud to know these young men and women, and to know what courage looks like up close and personal.
—Mark E. Robbins, CAE, Executive Director,
Yellow Ribbon Fund
Courage in America: Warriors with Character is more than “merely” the inspiring story of seven wounded warriors overcoming their injuries through determined, relentless hard work, shared love, and the dedication of loved ones. Todd, Chase, Brad, Sam, Steven, Justin, and Chad share their stories in their own words. Honest, clear-eyed, patriotic, these men tell of the events that prepared them for the challenges they have come to face. Courage in America: Warriors with Character becomes more than an inspiring set of stories because we are allowed to see these wounded warriors in the moments, months, and years since their injuries: their moments of doubt, their decisions to overcome adversity, yes, their hard physical work, but really and most genuinely, their DECISION to fight-back and excel. Adaptability. Resiliency. Courage. Discipline. Hard work. Fortitude. Gumption. These are the arrows in the quiver of life-tools. The challenges are extreme, but their mind-set is the key. These life-tools are available to everyone, which is what makes this book universal. We all face difficult moments. Will we be broken or tempered? These men’s stories illuminate the path of Hope for themselves and for all of us. Read the book and realize that even when fate wounds us or causes us to stumble, there is a path that leads to a better life. Thank you, Michael Kerrigan, for ensuring that these seven brave warriors have a chance to share their life-lessons.
—Lieutenant Commander Eric Rubenstein, Ph.D.
I have had the privilege of visiting our military hospitals multiple times here and abroad and have met the most courageous individuals I have ever known. The seven stories in Courage in America: Warriors with Character are shining examples of some of the extraordinary warriors who motivate me each day to continue the work on behalf of our men and women in uniform. I urge you to read this book. I know you will be moved by the inspirational stories of the courage and character of these great Americans.
—Gary Sinise, Actor
Founder, Gary Sinise Foundation
By their actions in combat, the men in this book replicated courage as described by Plato in The Republic. Plato wrote that courage is essential to go to war, and that wisdom is necessary to know that courage must have an element of moderation. If not, courage carried too far, becomes brutality. These men showed true courage.
—Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient, Colonel Leo K. Thorsness
U.S. Air Force (Ret.)