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Retired SEAL, author gives CJTF-HOA Marine surprise gift

By Cpl. Andrew W. Miller | | February 27, 2003

Service members find different ways to pass the time during deployments.  Some spend extra hours in the gym while others spend their spare time writing home to their families.  For Gunnery Sgt. Chris S. McDonald, keeping his sanity while deployed includes following one of his favorite authors.  This paid off for him recently when he received a suprise package from the writer.

McDonald was sent an autographed final draft version of Martin L. Strong's new book, "The Warrior Code," Feb. 24 while deployed in support of the war against terrorism assigned to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa.

Strong is a retired Navy SEAL, author of "Death Before Dawn" and the upcoming "TheWarrior Code."  He is president of Special Operations Solutions, a leadership consulting firm, and is a regular on the FOX News show "FOX and Friends."  He also has a Web Site at www.sealstrike.com.

"I was introduced to Strong's website and articles by a friend and have followed them for approximately a year and a half," said McDonald, CJTF-HOA ground/air readiness chief and native of Orange County, Calif.  "He has a good insight on the military and keeps up on current events."

After seeing advertisements for Strong's new book, "The Warrior Code," the second in a series following "Death Before Dawn," McDonald wrote to Strong requesting information about how to obtain a copy of the book.  Shortly after requesting his information, McDonald received a package from Strong. 

"The Warrior Code" isn't due to hit the shelves until May, but this package held a final draft version of the new book.  Upon opening the book, McDonald saw it was signed, "To Chris...keep your head down."

"When McDonald made his request I was flattered and humbled.  It put me in direct contact with his experience and made me remember what it was like to be away from home, afloat and waiting to go to war," wrote Strong in an email. "The fact that my first book might give him a way to relax was more than reason enough to send him a copy of the second book in final draft form."

According to Strong, a decorated combat veteran with over 30 special operations missions to his credit, he has sent copies of his first book out to a few service members in the past, but not so for "The Warrior Code."

"McDonald is the first person outside my agent and family to see my second book," said Strong.

"This guy is good to go," said McDonald.  "His only request from me was to let him know what I think of the book."

With his military background, Strong understands what it means to be deployed and facing war.

"It's clear that the United States must remain free and strong.  The professional armed forces stationed around the turbulent world stand silent guard against any and all threats to our nation and her allies," Strong explained.  "The sacrifice is difficult but noble and heroic in a way most Americans will never fully appreciate.  Be prepared to do the tasks assigned to the utmost of your ability and if called to war, know that the people of the United States are watching and praying for your triumphant and safe return."