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Alone at Dawn: Medal of Honor Recipient John Chapman and the Untold Story of the World's Deadliest Special Operations Force
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Alone at Dawn: Medal of Honor Recipient John Chapman and the Untold Story of the World's Deadliest Special Operations Force

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  220 ratings  ·  45 reviews
The New York Times bestselling true account of John Chapman, Medal of Honor recipient and Special Ops Combat Controller, and his heroic one-man stand during the Afghan War, as he sacrificed his life to save the lives of 23 comrades-in-arms.
In the predawn hours of March 4, 2002, just below the 10,469-foot peak of a mountain in eastern Afghanistan, a fierce battle raged. Out
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published June 25th 2019 by Grand Central Publishing
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4.32  · 
Rating details
 ·  220 ratings  ·  45 reviews

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Jun 30, 2019 rated it liked it
** I received an advanced reading copy from a Goodreads giveaway

3.5/5 stars

Before reading this book, I had no idea what a Combat Control Team was. I appreciated the history and the background of Airforce CCT. I learned that historically, they are more capable and deadly than other more recognized elite spec ops teams, such as SEALs, Delta, etc. Additionally, it felt like I really got to know John through stories of his childhood, teen, and training years. He is a man I would have liked to meet.
May 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've never been into war history, but I swear this book has a way of pulling you in. This beautiful brutal story is a must read. *I won a early reading copy*
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I had the special pleasure of reading “Alone at Dawn”, the true story of Medal of Honor Recipient John Chapman. It is a heart wrenching story of life and death on the battlefield. This non-fiction book about a true hero begged to be told lest we forget that military men like John are risking their lives every day to preserve our freedom and to help make our world a better place. It’s a true story of the bravery of this man taken from first hand accounts, classified documents and several other so ...more
jared ackerman
Jul 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Merc Werk.

I’ve met two CCTs as a Marine and Contractor and they’re the most down to earth genuine guys I have ever had the pleasure to know. During the Surge in 06-07 Iraq we ran route clearance with an undermanned platoon that had zero sensory equipment above two jammers and a Wooly Mammoth on the lead vehicle.
We had been out 4 days in 150 degree heat and 40 degree nights and we looked like we belonged under a bridge smoking meth out of lightbulbs.

The chow hall in Balad was packed and we eat t
Christopher Pokorny
Jul 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is the great story of John Chapman, an Air Force Combat Controller (CCT), who died supporting a SEAL team during Operation Anaconda. His heroic actions on the battlefield, shared in these pages, ultimately earned him the Medal of Honor. John’s story brings legitimacy to Air Force Special Tactics and speaks to the unique role that CCT offers in our nations defense. There are sections of this text that explain the history of CCT, as well as John’s own biography. What I appreciated most is tha ...more
Carl Pohrte, Jr
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thank God for men and units like John Chapman. A primer on Special Ops.

This book is a primer on our Special Ops Warriors. Second it is a story of the arduous path both mentally and physically these individuals take to serve our country and humanity. It is also a story of the lesser known Special Ops Unit. Usually the US Air Force is not thought of as home for harden warriors on the ground with skill sets equal to their brothers in the sky. John Chapman and his teammates are standard bearers for
Jul 16, 2019 rated it liked it
It really did not deserve a three, but I gave one anyway, because I wanted to learn more about John Chapman. This is a great book with so much background that it didn't tell the story of TSGT Chapman nearly as much as I wanted it to.

The caveat is that that might have been necessary, depending on the audience, and it is a truly convoluted mess of interservice rivalry, politics, resource sharing, and top versus bottom that can't be told without sounding like Navy brass is to blame. Maybe it is. I
Jul 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: history-read
A book written in honor of John Chapman. It reads like a legal document or military report at times, going into too much detail. It also seems to work hard to prove that CCTs are better than other special forces.

Although there are other better books on the market, I wouldn't discourage anyone from reading this one.
Alex Bryan
Jul 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Alone at Dawn is largely the story of the CCT with numerous individuals' contribution in the division during war, including John Chapman. Prior to this novel, I was unfamiliar with the CCT and it was fascinating to learn about. Snippets of John Chapman's biography helped to show the rigorous training and difficulties all members of CCT go through, let alone his own defining day at Takur Ghar. His story is truly remarkable and the authors did a wonderful job showing who he was as a person and how ...more
Anthony Wahlberg
Jul 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading about the heroic actions of operators in Afghanistan. At times it was a little difficult to follow which team it was referring to and back tracked every now then and that made it a little confusing. As the book went on, however, that got cleared up and kept me reading during the attack on the Afghan valley. John Chapman is a clear hero and understanding his efforts is well worth the read. I will not forget his actions and sacrifice.
Carlo Garcia
Jul 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Listened on Audible. I thought it was a great and informative book expecially with the background on the little known CCT. Up until the retelling of the battle of Takur Ghar, the reading was a little annoying at first. It's like they chose a guy with a scruffy voice due to the content but he read it like it was narrating a cheesy action war movie. Once it got to telling John Chapmans story the actor changed his tone and the voice fit perfectly and it was really emotional up until the end. It's a ...more
Sean McLane
Alone at Dawn is a visceral and gut wrenching read that tells the story of John Chapman and Combat Control as only an insider can. It tells the story that needed to be told, warts and all. It is a triumph of truth over misinformation. The truth will out, says Shakespeare. Sometimes it just needs a little help. Thanks to Dan Schilling and Lori Longfritz for telling the tale.

I am not a hero, but I am proud to say I worked with many and Alone at Dawn is a fitting tribute to them. I did not have the
Jul 14, 2019 added it
What a great book. Everyone needs to read "Alone at Dawn" to get a glimpse of a true American hero and the least known American military special operators, USAF Combat Controllers. Once I started reading, it was difficult to put the book down as I felt like I was there experiencing everything myself. Most Americans, civilian and military, have no idea that USAF Combat Controllers are "boots on the ground" with SEALs, Delta operators, Rangers, Green Berets, and others. This book will change the p ...more
Timothy W
Jul 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Alone At Dawn is a great chronicle of Combat Control and a tribute to John's character. The author's descriptions of Combat Control during John's early career are spot on. As a 20 year Combat Control veteran whose career overlapped John's, I am humbled by the sacrifice and valor of today's CCT. I was blown-away by the boldness of these early missions in the Afghanistan War. While I never had the opportunity to meet John Chapman I am honored to have served in the same brotherhood.
Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“Alone at Dawn” will leave you forever changed. Whether you already knew about USAF CCT or not, this book tells never before heard stories of these brave men and the unbelievable things they have done for each other and this country. Dan Schilling does an incredible job detailing the dire circumstances that John Chapman found himself in on Takur Ghar. John’s story is one of love and sacrifice that few can fathom. The story of John Chapman and CCT is the story America has been waiting for.
Mark J
Jul 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As a former operator, when I made the transition from 28 Feb to Mar of 2002, I couldn’t put this book down.
It changed from fond memories of our elite band of brothers and shared experiences, to incredible heroism and heartbreak under “Plan C” conditions.
As much as I’ve always valued the anonymity of the Special Tactics community, this is a story every American should make the time to read.
HU - USAF CCT 1981-85
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am not going to lie, I teared up reading this book. This book tells the story of TSgt John Chapman, USAF's first Medal of Honor recipient since Vietnam, as well as a great introduction to the world of Combat Controller.

While there have been dozens of books, movies, and media on SEALs, Delta, Rangers and other SOF units out there, there haven't been many on Combat Controllers. Through the tragic story of John Chapman, authors Dan Schilling and Lori Longfriz introduced us to a group of modern w
Jun 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Alone at Dawn is one the best accounts of the Operation Annaconda and the Battle of Takur Ghar. It provides the insight that previous books were afriad to share. It not only provides a full account of the heroism of MSgt John Chapman but explains how far the team will go to remember their brother!

Not only does it share the story of one of the most effective and deadly organizations in the DOD, but it shows the human side of an extra ordinary leader, brother, husband and father. This story culmin
David Richards
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An amazing story. The book gives an incredible insight into the world of USAF special operations as well as the moving story of these operators working in impossible conditions made worse by rushed command decision making. The story of Chapman's stand ends horribly but is deeply inspiring at the same time.
Jason Kemp
Jun 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This an unbelievable peek at some of the most professional, well trained and motivated men on the planet. It’s a riveting story from start to finish that will be one you don’t soon forget. A very skillfully written book that shines a light on a military career field that largely enjoys it’s place in shadows.
Aug 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Superb book about not only about USAF's first (and to date only) Medal of Honor recipient since the Vietnam War, but about the elite special operations career field in which he served. There are other Special Tactics Airmen who are also deserving of our nation's highest military honor (and they are mentioned in the book), and while representing an infinitesimal percentage of the overall Air Force structure, Special Tactics are by far the most-awarded community for valor in combat. This book is o ...more
Daniel Knapke
Aug 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
If I could give 3.5 stars, I would. I liked the basis of the book and I like war related biographies. What I don’t like is the technicality by which the author wrote at times. Unless you are also a military person (I am not), particularly a combat controller, then you may not understand a lot of the equipment that they were using. For me a simple “got on radio” would have sufficed as opposed to “got on MBITR radio on SATCOM frequency with JSOC command”.
Again, I liked the read, and the technical
Gary Detrick
Aug 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Learned a lot about this special elite group of Special Operation Soldiers, the CCT. Hard to imagine the pressure these men are under during their times of performing operations. John paid the ultimate sacrifice but you will have to read his courageous battle for yourself. As all these special operation forces head into one of the worst area's of the Afghanistan mountains, the story events really take off making it a hard read to put down. Dan Schilling does a wonderful job of documenting this a ...more
Ray Stanley
Aug 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: heroism
This is for those who don't normally choose the audiobook version--it is a must listen! John Chapman's sister speaks towards the end of the book and wow is it emotionally compelling.

I wanted to keep driving in order to hear what comes next even though, sadly, you know what is coming.

Even if you think you know all there is to know about all types of military special forces it is worth a listen. Having never heard of Combat Control Teams before this was absolutely eye-opening and educational for
Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow. I am not usually a fan of history books or war stories but I LOVED this book. It is very thorough but not dry which can be hard to do when trying to explain in-depth military tactics and politics. I really enjoyed learning more about the history of CCT, the hero John Chapman, his amazing teammates and the Special Operations world.
Lonny Heinemann
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An excellent story of a little known group of individuals who go above and beyond as a matter of routine in their service to this country, and one individual who gave his life to save his fellow service members on a cold, remote mountain top in the early stages of the war on terror.
Scott Davis
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was amazing. I felt it started a little slow but realize the foundation of Johns’s early years had to be laid to set the stage. Once the story of the fight began, I couldn’t put it down. Highly recommended it!
Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
For the civilian and military reader. Excellent way to learn about this unknown special operation force and the man that sacrificed his life to save his teammates earning him the Medal of Honor. The first Air Force MOH since Vietnam. This story needs to be on the big screen!
Allen Barton
Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great story to be told here and it is done well. Having work directly with CCT several times, it is great to see them get some credit. No doubt John was the best of the best and will always be loved and remembered.
Sam Linton
Jul 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is stunning. Sure, there are a lot of nitty gritty details of military operations, but that is such a key part of the story. I especially appreciate John’s feelings in the late 1990s when he shifted temporarily towards rear echelon duties.
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