In the Shadow of Greatness: Voices of Leadership, Sacrifice, and Service from America's Longest Warby U.S. Naval Academy Class of 2002
Named a "Notable Naval Book of 2012" by Proceedings Magazine
Their stories needed to be told. And classmates working together, under a blanket of trust and friendship, was the only way to allow people to open up. It was a three year journey into the hearts and souls of America’s youngest heroes to gather these important historical accounts, but it/i>
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Named a "Notable Naval Book of 2012" by Proceedings Magazine
Their stories needed to be told. And classmates working together, under a blanket of trust and friendship, was the only way to allow people to open up. It was a three year journey into the hearts and souls of America’s youngest heroes to gather these important historical accounts, but it was worth every hour spent. Inside this book are the voices the first Annapolis graduates into a decade of war and they remind us that America is in good hands.
They were walking to class on 9/11, wearing Naval Academy “summer working blues”, when the towers were struck. The campus went to general quarters, battle stations. They would be the first class after this attack to graduate into a nation at war and would be faced, like so many past graduates, of rising to the challenge to keeping America great. President Bush and Vice President Cheney articulated a world at the crossroads, and the U.S. would preemptively in seek enemies who threatened the national interest, America would not again be terrorized.
In the Shadow of Greatness addresses issues that go beyond one USNA class, it explains the trials of most military veterans of this era. Understanding how a young person enlists to serve, deploys to the fight, and returns home is unknown to most Americans. Veterans pack up their uniforms, but never lose the call for service when the return to civilian society.
The profiles in this book represent the “Next Great Generation” of American leaders. Men and women who lost their innocence in battle and their youths to a decade of deployments, throughout which they never gave up hope. In exchange for down range scars, they gained an unbreakable sense of purpose to America’s idealsfreedom, equality, and democracy.
The compilation is the most authentic and raw narrative to emerge from the Wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and beyond. The reader enjoys a spectrum of stories, each patriotic and honorable. The narratives are meant to inspire, educate, and reveal a world many don’t understand. Its contents are readable and easy to appreciate.
The Class of 2002and more broadly, the one million veterans of the Long Warare America’s leaders of tomorrow. Read this book to learn what they endured and why they are prepared.
“This is an excellent book and informative for all hands.” The Hook: Journal of Carrier Aviation
"The contributors do not focus on any one community but run the gamut of their experiences, both deployed and stateside, concentrating on leadership. The book’s value lies in its ability to convey some of the lessons that these young men and women paid such a high price to learn. Their stories will give anyone, of any rank or experience, an idea of how young leaders think and why they choose the courses they do. In the Shadow of Greatness is not required reading for airpower historians; however, anyone with an interest in leadershipits development, motivations, and the toll it can exactshould pick up a copy." Air & Space Power Journal
“These proud Annapolis graduates provide a glimpse of the achievements of and contributions made by today’s young service members, making a strong case that they are worthy of being called the next great generation.” Publishers Weekly
"In the Shadow of Greatness will endure as an important first person narrative of this global war. Similarly, it will become an important read for midshipmen or junior officers to understand the challenges faced by those who served before them. Finally, it is simply a great anthology for fans of any military read.” Naval Historical Foundation
“All of these stories give voice to courage, sacrifice, and the nobility of living in the service of others. In closing the book, Admiral Mullen notes that the members of this class, like those before and after it, “have kept sharp and sure the instruments by which U.S. national security is preserved.” He believes “they are positioned, because of their diverse experiences, to lead both in and out of uniform in the years to come.” Like their counterparts at West Point and elsewhere, the members of the Naval Academy’s Class of 2002 have borne the burden of battle for the past decade. In the Shadow of Greatness shows us how they have done it.” Proceedings
“[This book] shows the dedication and high quality of the young leaders who have met the challenges of a long war and shown the way for those who follow in their footsteps.”
“This powerful book captures the bravery and sacrifice of a decade of war, and its lessons apply to the boardroom as well as the battlefield. Read it and take heart in a new generation of proven leaders.”
Nathaniel Fick, U.S. Marine Corps veteran and author of One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer
“This is a unique book. It is a collection of ‘sea stories’ written by a select group of young graduates of the U.S. Naval Academy. The stories cover events that occurred during their first ten years of commissioned service. They address a gamut of subjects including combat, disaster relief, casualty reporting, and personal relationships. As such, they provide a window through which the reader can learn what goes through the minds of young officers during their early years of service. Since there is frequent reference to the lessons learned while at the Naval Academy, the book can serve as an excellent medium by which Academy authorities can evaluate the appropriateness of the Academy curriculum.”
Vice Admiral Jerry E. Miller, USN (Ret.), author of Stockpile: The Story Behind 10,000 Strategic Nuclear Weapons
"The men and women of the U.S. Naval Academy Class of 2002 now have a dual legacy of service: first, their leadership around the world during wartime, and now their well-told consideration of what it all meant. In the Shadow of Greatness is an inspiring book."
Bill Murphy Jr., author of In a Time of War: The Proud & Perilous Journey of West Point's Class of 2002.
"This is a must read for all Americansan up close and personal account of duty and sacrifice by graduates of the U.S. Naval Academy in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yoúll stand a little straighter when you mingle with these remarkable fellow citizens."
Tom Brokaw, author of The Time of Our Lives and The Greatest Generation
"Most may never wear a uniform in defense of our country’s values. What we owe those who do is to listen and honor their stories. Captured so well within these pages are vivid and diverse accounts of courage, quiet competence, and integrity--values forged within the hearts of a new generation of leaders. All Americans can learn, and emulate, their credo: Not for self, but for country."
Craig Mullaney, U.S. Army combat veteran and author of The Unforgiving Minute: A Soldier's Education
"To the Class of 2002, I thank you for sharing your stories and opening America’s eyes to the challenges faced by your generation, which in my view really is the next ‘greatest generation.’ . . . My advice to you is simple: Continue to listen, learn, and lead in the decades ahead. Your families and your fellow citizens are counting on you."
Adm. Mike Mullen, USN (Ret.), 17th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
“In the Shadow of Greatness is a powerful set of stories from gifted young men and women serving on the front lines of America’s most important wars. Their combination of raw heroism, bravery, and sacrifice make it a gripping and deeply moving book.”
Seth G. Jones, author of Hunting in the Shadows: The Pursuit of Al Qa’ida since 9/11 and former senior advisor at U.S. Special Operations Command
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What People are saying about this
—CRAIG MULLANEY, U.S. Army combat veteran and author of The Unforgiving Minute: A Soldier's Education
— ADM. MIKE MULLEN, USN (RET.), 17th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, from the epilogue
—NATE FICK, U.S. Marine Corps veteran and author of One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer
—TOM BROKAW, author of The Time of Our Lives and The Greatest Generation
—BILL MURPHY JR., author of In a Time of War: The Proud & Perilous Journey of West Point's Class of 2002.
Meet the Author
After receiving his commission, Joshua Welle became a Surface Warfare Officer. When not serving at sea, he earned two masters degrees from the University of Maryland in politics and business administration. He was an instructor at the Naval Academy teaching International Relations and was the special assistant to Admiral William Crowe, former cchairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He was an economic advisor for NATO in Afghanistan and conducted counter-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and frequently publishes on military and foreign affairs.
A former Navy Lieutenant with service aboard two warships and a tour of duty as a Pentagon speach writer and special aadvisor to the Chief of Naval Operations, John Ennis left the Navy for work in Lockheed Martin’s International Business Development Group. He is currently an aaccount manager for IBM’s Software Group, working with the U.S. Navy.
After commissioning, Kate Kranz completed the Naval Flight Officer training pipeline in Pensacola, FL and received wings of gold as an E-2C Hawkeye NFO, serving with the VAW-113 Black Eagles, flying 3 deployments with Carrier Air Wing 14 and the USS Ronald Reagan Strike Group. Following orders as a special assistant to the ccommandant back at the Naval Academy, she served as a NATO Rule of Law Field Support Mission advisor and liaison officer for the ccommander in various locations in Afghanistan.
In previous assignments, Graham Plaster served as a Surface Warfare Officer aboard the USS Reuben James (FFG 57) out of Pearl Harbor, deploying in support of Ooperation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom to the Persian Gulf. Subsequently he joined the staff of Destroyer Squadron One in San Diego and deployed in support of Counter Drug Operations in South America. Following DESRON ONE, he assumed duties as Assistant Dean of Students at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. Now a Naval Foreign Area Officer, he is currently a Liaison Officer supporting U.S. military deployed to UN Peacekeeping missions in Israel, Egypt and Iraq. He also serves as webmaster for the Foreign Area Officer Association (FAOA.org). He is currently writing a book on social media's influences on democratization in Iran. LT Plaster lives in Annapolis, MD with his wife and their four children.
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Inspiring book for so many audiences - if you know anyone who has served, either pre- or post-9/11, if you know a spouse or family member who would like to know more about their loved one who serves, if you enjoy knowing what makes these heroes tick.... this book is for you! Amazing stories of leadership, sacrifice, humble service...it will have you wishing you could serve alongside them. Thank you Mr. Brokaw for recommending this book... I'm so glad I read it! I decided to order extra copies for my grandfather and uncles, and I found out on the book Web site you can get them signed by the authors. What a great Christmas gift for anyone who has respect for our military!!!!
I read In the Shadow of Greatness well into the night, and could not put it down. The courage (not just in battle, but to take the next step), the perseverence, the triumphs through their academy days and on into their lives, the failures which often make us stronger, and the losses, combined to create a book that should be read and appreciated by all Americans.
This is an amazing book - so powerful and gripping. Unique and illuminating stories highlight the incredible experiences of our military men and women for the last decade. Tom Brokaw said "This is a must read for all Americans" – and he's right!
Amazing to think it has been 11 years since the dreadful attack on our country. In The Shadow of Greatness is a true and telling testament to all the man and woman who served and continue to protect our great nation. The authors give amazing insight and share truly inspiring stories of leadership, sacrifice and service. A true must read!
This remarkable collection of stories by young men, women Naval Academy graduatesand parents will make you proud that we have such selfless, brave people amongst our younger generation. This is book you cannot put down. Cannot wait to read the other stories on line.
Ever meet someone that changes the direction of your life? It is a very powerful experience to meet such a young person who can inspire you to look above the fray and move to the realm of the unknown. To become a leader and define what is right. I had the pleasure of meeting contributing author, Jason Jackson - USNA 2002. Like his classmates he embodies the spirit of " the calling to serve". This book is a great read, so many stories from a core perspective forge in the human bonds of a college experience , the search for personal development is something we all relate to. To mothers of the "Fallen Heroes" who made the ultimate sacrifice, your stories are a testament to the greatness of your sons lives. From a great full nation
If you get a chance to catch one of the upcoming signings across the country...check it out...as all the stories will renew your faith in our nation and of those who will and are leading our country in the Armed Forces. This book is a demonstration of what true heroism and leadership is in our day and time! These are the MANY stories of the USNA Class of 2002 who have served and have given their lives and of those who have taken up their cause and continue to serve our country with distinction. You will learn that there are 'no easy days' ever when you are fighting a war AND you will learn of the loyalty and honor that those who can tell their story and of the importance of those who refused because of their dedication to the team and mission, past and present, is absolute. These are the many stories of those who now rest and of those who continue to serve...whose lives where changed forever by 9/11. Buy the book...check out the signings...you will be glad that you did!
I bought this book the moment I heard about it weeks ago. Not only were the stories of these men and women informative, motivating and heartbreaking: the book also helped me understand our children go from kids to being adults and officers in the Navy and Marine Corps. My daughter is currently a Firstie at USNA and when I bought my copy of the book from Mr. Welles I also bought her a copy hoping that these stories will give her some insight as she moves towards Commissioning Day next May. Again, as Tom Brokaw said, this book is a must read for everyone of us.
As a member of the Naval Academy Class of 2002, it is a honor reading the personal, inspirational stories of those who accepted the call to serve in an all volunteer military, particularly during a time of war. These are the stories of those who protect the liberties of our country and they are again selflessly laying down their lives by donating all of the proceeds of this great compilation to veteran organizations. It goes to show that the Naval Academy has trained us well concerning the responsibilities of command and citizenship, leading and serving, and looking out for our shipmates above ourselves. Capt Natasha Sistrunk Robinson, US Marine Corps
Makes me feel like I actually went to the Naval Academy.
Great collection of stories displaying all aspects of service in the Navy and Marine Corps team. Can't wait to read the rest of the stories on line. Buy the book and help raise money for some amazing veterans charities. I guarantee you won't be able to put it down.
As a granddaughter of a Navy veteran of World War II, this book means more than I can put into words. I often wondered about his service and wish I had asked him more when he was alive. This book gives all Americans the opportunity to understand what service and leadership really mean to this country and its future. The book details in first-hand accounts the trials and tribulations, as well as the great successes of the young men and women who selflessly serve this nation. This is a must read for people of every generation. Our country's preparedness and resilience were tested on 9/11/2001 -- this book explains how courageously this generation answered that infamous call to arms and demonstrates that it truly is the next greatest generation.
As a mother whose son also took up the call to join the military on 9-11, but who was in Junior High at the time, I was focused on the 9-11 event and the way it was affecting our country as a whole. Later, I would learn how this event would transform our family, and make my son into the man he is today. I wanted to read this book if, for no other reason than a selfish one, to understand and be connected to other young people who felt compelled to DO SOMETHING. These are poignant stories told by both men and women, who love this country enough to sacrifice for it. Their race, religion and political affiliations are not as important as the red blood that flows through their veins and the shared higher calling to serve others they will never meet. In a day and age when spin has become the buzzword for something "acceptable", when we are bombarded by soundbites and half-truths, it is indeed refreshing to read about these heroes and their individual paths. Helps us focus on what is real and what is good about this country. Sharon Hamilton