Book Description

They were walking to class on 9/11 when the World Trade Center and Pentagon were attacked. These midshipmen graduated from the United States Naval Academy into a nation at war, the first class to do so since Vietnam. The men and women of the class of 2002 lost their youth to a decade of war and their innocence on battlefields in distant places. Each story provides a glimpse into the lives of modern-day military officers who were faced with unique challenges. Their stories bring to light the trials of war and reveal a world most don’t understand. Refreshingly candid, their narratives take readers on a journey from Annapolis to the far corners of the world to experience operations at sea, on the land, and in the skies.

Prophetically inscribed on the Class of 2002’s Naval Academy graduation rings are the words “in harm’s way.” In the Shadow of Greatness pays tribute to classmates who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their nation. Mothers of the fallen reflect on their children’s loyalty to their country, contributors provide visceral accounts of courage under fire, and others recount hardship in unexpected places, beyond the sands of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The editors spent three years inviting their classmates to open their hearts and share experiences endured on the front lines. Acting as a virtual podium for those unlikely to speak about war, these first-person accounts are written with humility and respect for those with whom they served, bringing deserved recognition to all veterans of the era. As wars in Iraq and Afghanistan subside, those who depart the military are seeking a higher purpose at home. Read their stories of enduring commitment to country as they return from the battlefield and become leaders out of uniform.

The Naval Institute Press retains publishing rights to the book. All author proceeds are donated to veterans' charities.

Table of Contents

Foreword David Gergen
Introduction: Non Sibi Sed Patriae

Part I Four Years by the Bay

Inside the Gates of Annapolis

Part II The Leadership Laboratory, Fleet Tested

Honor Tested Will Carr
Selflessness from the ICU Anita Susan Brenner and Rachel Torres
Ship, Shipmate, Self Mike Johnson
Fulfilling a Top Gun Dream Meagan Varley Flannigan
Find a Way, or Make One Meghan Elger Courtney

Part III Courage Under Fire

A Lovely Afternoon over Baghdad Jay Consalvi
Bad Karma Wes Pass
We Serve Where We’re Needed Johnathan Van Meter
The Real Hurt Locker Eric Jewell
Evacuating the Injured Rocky Checca
From the Cradle to the Grave Anonymous
Dhow in Distress Pat McConnell
From Fallujah to Now Zad Ben Wagner

Part IV Beyond Battlefield Bullets

Military Diplomats ★ Graham Plaster
Shaking the Hand of Fate ★ Courtney Senini
Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure: Unsung Heroes ★ Jason Jackson
Lending a Hand in Tsunami Relief ★ John Cauthen
Training with the Enemy: Iraq and U.S. Naval Partnerships ★ Travis Bode
UN Peacekeeping in Practice ★ Dave Augustin
Casey vs. the Volcano ★ Casey Bruce
Inland Sailor ★ Joshua W. Welle

Part V Integrity, Teamwork, and Sacrifice

Sacrifices for Country ★ Alex Katauskas
Sometimes Dreams Do Come True ★ Carol A. Andersen
Forward Deployed to . . . Louisiana? ★ Kevin Stepp
Working Where the Land Meets the Sky ★ Katherine Kranz
On Building Submarines and Building Character ★ Lucas Adin
Lost at Sea ★ Glyndell Houston
Dual Military Couples: Twice the Challenge ★ Brooke Waller
When No One is Watching ★ Lisa Freeman

Part VI The Next Great Generation

One Wild and Precious Life ★ Joshua Awad
Serving Beyond the Uniform ★ Elizabeth Kreft
Rings of Courage and Love: Fighting for Gay Rights in the Military ★ Gary Ross
Command, Citizenship, and Government ★ Seth Lynn

Part VII Conclusion

Epilogue ★ Adm. Mike Mullen
In Memory of the Fallen Naval Academy Graduates since September 11, 2001
Acknowledgments