The gripping memoir of Navy Cross, Silver Star, Bronze Star, and Purple Heart recipient SEAL Lieutenant Mark L. Donald...
As A SEAL and combat medic, Mark served his country with valorous distinction for almost 25 years and survived some of the most dangerous combat actions imaginable.
From the rigors of BUD/S training to the horrors of the battlefield, Battle Ready dramatically immerses the listener in the unique life of the elite warrior-medic who advances into combat with life-saving equipment in one hand and life-taking weapons in the other. It is also an uplifting human story that reveals how a young Hispanic American bootstrapped himself out of a life that promised a dead-end future by enlisting in the military. That new life begins with the Marines and includes his heroic achievements on the battlefield and the operating table, and finally, of his inspirational triumph over the demons caused by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that threatened to destroy him and his family.
Includes an excerpt from the SEAL creed read by the author and a bonus conversation with Mark L. Donald and his editor.
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Page Turner/Great Listen/Inspiring
Yes, I would listen to Battle Ready again. This memoir held particular interest for me because it dealt with a wartime medic. The book detailed how Mark Donald accomplished this specialty, in order to serve his comrades on the battlefield. Mark had begun his career by enlisting in the Marine Corp. He successfully completed basic training and was on his way to becoming a Marine. Mark found himself thinking, not about becoming a Marine but wanting to become a SEAL. Mark was steadfast and did not abandon his quest. He eventually transferred to begin his training toward becoming a medic in the SEALS. This book includes what it takes to become a SEAL. The men who begin training can start with a group of 220 men and women. But by the time their training is complete there may be 20 left who will graduate as a SEAL. There have been times where there were no graduates. Yes, that number was zero graduates. Surviving the excruciating ordeal of becoming a SEAL and having the honor of earning the most coveted Trident, that affirms their being a member of the SEALS, are few. When members of the military see the Trident affixed to the uniform, they step aside and many will even salute that person even though that SEAL is of lower rank.
The memoir is well written and the narration is excellent. I would enjoy listening again because Mark Donald's journey from a young boy of 18 to becoming a distinguished member of the elite community, known as the SEALS, the best of the best, was a great listen and needs another listen. I would like to encourage my friend's to read or listen to Mark Donald's memoir, explaining to them that the book was indeed worth a second listen for me and is definitely worth the first time.
My favorite character was Mark Donald. Mark struggled while growing up in a community where there were gangs, fights, guns and other disturbing attributes, that led many to being killed or living behind bars. Mark had worked very hard to avoid becoming a part of that world and realized that moving away from home and family would be the only chance that could help him to succeed. With the help of a Marine recruiter, who understood, after talking with Mark, that he was an excellent candidate for the Marine Corp. Listening to his memoir was an inspiration. I listened as Mark made a success of his life but not without determination, commitment and a lot of hard work. Listening to his journey was riveting. His courage on the battlefield was described so clearly that I felt as if I was a part of that world. His fears, accomplishments, defeats and tears made Mark evolve into the man that he is today.
Fred Berman's performance made the words come alive. The character's were well done, allowing me to distinguish one from the other. The emotions Berman was able to project were done with forethought. He made the book a very enjoyable listen.
There was a moment in the book that particularly moved me. SEAL Team Six were in the mountains of Afghanistan, I believe, in the Kandahar Kush, doing reconnaissance, when their men were ambushed. Mark had to pull one of his friend's off of the battlefield dead and another friend, Mark held in his arms and held his hand, and had to watch him die.
Mark became a medic for SEAL Team Six, which involves more education than other military services. However, he went on to become a Physician's Assistant, which required more education and responsibilities. Mark was the man who fixed the wounds of other soldiers, helped to save the lives of other men with life saving interventions and, yes, to be there for those who died. He was also trained to hoist his gun, aim it and shoot to kill the enemy, which he had to do. While serving in the SEALS, Mark began to have nightmares, relating to his actions in the war. He would wake up drenched in sweat, sit up and try hard to bring himself back to his surroundings. Mark began to have hallucinations, reliving the war. He would go into his own world, not hearing anything or anyone. Mark would stand by a window and stare down at the parking lot. But instead of a parking lot, Mark would see the battlefield and the altercation taking place, as if in real time. He understood that he was having problems but Mark was certain that in order to be a SEAL he had to remember that SEALS do not voice that there are issues that he needs help with. No, SEALS were taught that there was nothing that a SEAL couldn't do. Therefore, Mark continued to struggle, that was until his superior's, friend's and family began to notice the changes taking place. A superior officer took him aside and discussed his awareness that Mark was having serious problems with functioning normally. After this meeting, Mark did as superior officer had suggested and sought help. He had PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a disorder that many men and women of the military suffer from. Mark required a therapist to help him to learn how to deal with PTSD.
Mark served for 25 years as a SEAL. When he was honorably discharged from the SEALS, Mark wanted to help others who also suffered from the same disorder as he did. Mark reiterates that PTSD is not an illness but a disorder. Mark pulled together a nonprofit organization, with the help of friends and others, to assist other men and women who also had PTSD. His objective was to help those with PTSD to return to society and be able to function as normally as possible. There were those he would integrate into his organization to help them with their need for further help. There is no cure for PTSD, it is a disorder that men and women will have to learn how to survive with and not allow the disorder to overwhelm them. Hopefully, with help, they will once again begin to function in a way that may be different than before but not disable them so severely that the world that surrounds them, they cannot be a part of it because of PTSD. Mark is a caring, loving and supporting man who knows what it like to have PTSD. He struggles everyday, just like those he is helping. I don't profess to be an expert on PTSD. I only know that there is a man, Mark Donald, who wants to assist others.
- Pamela Dale Foster
One Man's Story
If you are looking for a book with a lot of detailed battle scenes and excitement, this is not the book you want. This is a story about one man and his military career. There are a few "war stories" but in general, this is a life story. It's a good book, well performed, but not action packed.