May 17th, this next month is the release date for By Honor Bound, the story of two Navy SEALs of my generation. For their heroism in combat, Mike Thornton and Tommy Norris received the Medal of Honor. That Mike’s award came for saving Tommy’s life only makes their combat actions that much more extraordinary. Their actions speak to the very essence of our Navy’s Core Values: Honor, Courage, and Commitment. It was my personal privilege to help them to tell their incredible story.
BY HONOR BOUND: Two Navy SEALs, the Medal of Honor, and a Story of Extraordinary Courage; Tom Norris and Mike Thornton, with Dick Couch (SMP):Couch (Always Faithful, Always Forward), a prolific author and former Navy SEAL, helps relate the tale of how, during the Vietnam War, Thornton earned the Medal of Honor for saving the life of Norris, who had himself received the medal six months earlier. In April of 1972, Norris was honored for leading a team that extracted two downed fliers. In October of that year, Thornton’s behind-the-lines reconnaissance mission miscarried. Norris was shot through the head and left for dead, but Thornton, honoring SEAL tradition, returned under fire to retrieve his wounded comrade and carried him for hours until help arrived. Readers with a low toleration for sentimentality will wince at two worshipful introductions by Medal of Honor recipients Bob Kerrey and Drew Dix, but relief comes when Couch takes over. He largely eschews purple prose and flag-waving, delivering an engrossing nuts-and-bolts description of the preparations and actions in the words of the now-elderly veterans, and cutting away regularly to fill in the big picture and expand on his subjects’ biographies. Even serious military buffs who dismiss this type of popular work as unsophisticated will admit that these are two good stories. Agent: John Silbersack, Trident Media Group. (May)