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Dan Sheehan

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Major Dan Sheehan, USMC, “served as a Marine Officer from 1996 to 2007.  He is an AH-1W pilot by trade and deployed aboard the 13th MEU (SOC) in 2000 and the 11th MEU (SOC) in 2002. During those deployments he participated in operations in East Timor, Yemen, and in various countries in the Middle East.  In 2003, he flew close air support missions during the invasion of Iraq and in 2004 served in Baghdad as a Forward Air Controller with Marine Corps Special Operations Command, Detachment One.  When he left active duty as a Major in 2007, he had accrued more than 2000 flight hours and over 30 free-fall and static line parachute jumps.”  Major Dan Sheehan is the author of After Action: The True Story of a Cobra Pilot's Journey.

According to the book description of After Action: The True Story of a Cobra Pilot's Journey, “Dan Sheehan is a third-generation military flyer.  He was eager to test his skills as a Cobra gunship pilot in the theatre of combat – and then he got his chance, first, in East Timor, then during two tours of duty in Iraq.

The scenes in this, Dan’s military memoir, crackle with angst and excitement as we follow his path into battle. Bullets pierce the unarmoured Cobras as Dan and his buddies struggle to separate enemy fighters from civilians. Through the smoke of battle and chaos of firefights at night, Dan puts us in right in the front seat of the Cobra - where we white-knuckle our way through barrages of enemy fire - and into his head as he makes split-second decisions that determine life or death.

But there is far more to Sheehan’s story than this – an important reason why he wants us to feel something of what every military man and woman experiences on the front lines of war. After the adrenaline rush of combat readiness, something inside Dan would not turn off.  It wasn’t his emotions per se. He was a warrior, willing and proud to serve his country. It wasn’t anger or regret because of a physical wound. He was fortunate to come out of battle whole, time and again.


And yet, the subtle agitation he felt at first continued to grow into… restlessness… wariness… the hyper-vigilant sense that he needed to be always on guard. And so an edginess grew, trailing him long after the action was over. Eventually, it began to intrude into his personal life, his intimate relationships, and threatened to hurt those he loved the most. What Dan Sheehan learned, and what he exposes so bravely and frankly in his writing, sheds light on the invisible marks left on the soul of many warriors. As he shows us, facing and admitting they are there is the next step in a warrior’s journey after action.”

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