Mark Owen isn’t his real name, but book publisher Penguin says its new author was a bona fide Navy SEAL. In fact, they say he was a member of SEAL Team 6, the special-forces group that carried out the raid in Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden on May 2, 2011.
Penguin will release No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama bin Laden, co-written by Kevin Maurer, on Sept. 11. The company expects a major splash before the November election and holiday gift-buying season.
The real identity of the SEAL author will be kept quiet, even during a boisterous publicity effort on behalf of the book. The author will wear disguises and have his voice distorted to protect his identity, reports the New York Times. All the names of Navy SEAL members in the book have been changed for security reasons.
Within a day of the book’s announcement, Owen’s real identity was made public first by FOX News and then by the Associated Press, prompting the publisher to issue a statement saying that concern for the former SEAL’s safety was—and still is—the reason a pseudonym was used. The U.S. government, out of concern for other active SEALs that served with the author, would not confirm the author’s identity, according to CNN.
(PHOTOS: Osama bin Laden’s Pakistan Hideout)
But the anonymous author isn’t the first to tell his story of the SEALs, or even the bin Laden raid. Here’s a few other examples of stories from former SEALs willing to put their real names on the jacket cover:
• SEAL Target Geronimo: The Inside Story of the Mission to Kill Osama bin Laden (November 2011) — Former Navy SEAL Chuck Pfarrer uses his status as a former SEAL to gain access to members of the team that carried out the raid on bin Laden to tell the story of Operation Neptune Spear. The U.S. military has called his account inaccurate, but he adamantly stands by his retelling. Pfarrer is also the author of the 2004 book Warrior Soul: The Memoir of a Navy SEAL.
• SEAL Team Six: Memoirs of an Elite Navy SEAL Sniper (April 2012) — Former SEAL Howard E. Wasdin takes readers fro training to combat in Operation Desert Storm as a member of SEAL Team 2 before chronicling his rise into Team 6, where he tells the story of the Battle of Mogadishu.
• Inside SEAL Team Six: My Life and Missions with America’s Elite Warriors (December 2011) — Don Mann was a Seal Team 6 member for over eight years and a SEAL for 17 years. His book looks at the toughness required to train and carry out the secret missions, including Mann’s first-hand responsibility in helping train the group that carried out the bin Laden raid.
• Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of Seal Team 10 (May 2009) — Marcus Luttrell, a former SEAL, gives a narrative of a battle in the mountainous Afghanistan-Pakistan border region—a battle where he was the only SEAL who made it out alive.
• Service: A Navy SEAL at War (May 2012) — Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, of Team 5, tells his story of battlefields in Afghanistan and Iraq while giving a tribute to the SEAL brotherhood.
• The Warrior Elite: The Forging of SEAL Class 228 (January 2003) — Former SEAL Dick Couch takes readers through the process that “transforms young men into warriors” as part of the legendary SEAL training.
• The Red Circle: My Life in the Navy SEAL Sniper Corps and How I Trained America’s Deadliest Marksmen (April 2012) — The title says it all here. Navy SEAL sniper head instructor Brandon Webb writes about training SEALs, mixed in with his own war stories.
For those looking for a big-screen version of the bin Laden raid, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal will release Zero Dark Thirty, a movie about the event, in December.
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