In Oliver North’s eyes, the amount of heroes serving in the U.S. military never runs short.
The retired Marine Corps lieutenant colonel, who earned Silver and Bronze stars and two Purple Heart medals, and served on the National Security Council staff in the 1980s, cannot express enough praise for his respect for the men and women who defend, and have defended, this country.
That’s why all proceeds from North’s new book, “American Heroes: On the Homefront – The Hearts of Heroes,” co-written with Bob Hamer and released Nov. 5 by Threshold Editions, will go to Freedom Alliance, a foundation North founded that funds college scholarships to children of U.S. military personnel killed in the line of duty.
North will sign copies of the book at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Costco, near U.S. 17 Bypass and U.S. 501in Myrtle Beach.
Calling at 10 a.m. Friday for this conversation, North didn’t sound anything like he already had completed four other interviews that morning. The happy, 70-year-old husband of 45 years, father of four and grandfather of 14 also said he understands and appreciates even more what families cope with during deployments of their kinship.
I wouldn’t trade in the guys I served with in combat for a billion dollars. My crew’s corpsman who saved my life on the battlefield ... is in the front of this book. Today he is a doctor, and he is saving the lives of others. ...My radio operator is ... a maxillofacial surgeon. ... I just saw six members of my rifle patrol, and all of them are successful men and family men. ...
But across the board, this generation today is bigger, brighter and better educated than any military force in history, not just in the United States, but globally. Yet when they come back home, whether they’ve been wounded or not, they cannot find work. ... If you want an employee who knows his or her responsibilities, has accountability, has been responsible for the lives and safety of others ... integrity and that get-up-and-go, these are the people to pick.
That aspect of that that takes place in the book is a very powerful part of it. ... This book really is the rest of the story, the whole story of why we came into the service, what happened to us, and how it is that we’re pressing on. ...
Whether it’s Vietnam guys, or these youngsters fighting this war on terror, they’re not looking for sympathy, a handout or pity. They want to show you they can do it. ...
To deal with post-traumatic stress – I say PTS without the D – it doesn’t have to be a disability. How you treat that is like treating a broken finger. If that finger was treated right, it wouldn’t be crooked. ... I also believe in dog therapy. ... I love my Boykin spaniel, who gives me unconditional love. Dog therapy beats drug therapy.
Yet, on Nov. 11, it’s also National Mattress Sale Day. ... It tells you where the temperature of America us. We have Memorial Day and Veterans Day, and even if people were paying attention on those two days, there are 363 other days of the year to pay attention to this amazing group of men and women.
On our last trip, all of us got to walk up or sit in the cockpit of an Israeli F-16 fighter jet, and just hours before, it was on a missile raid.