Jeff Edwards is a retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer, and an Anti-Submarine Warfare Specialist. Trained extensively in mainframe computers, weapons systems, and naval combat tactics, he brings an experience-based edge of authenticity to his writing..
Collectively, his novels have won the Admiral Nimitz Award for Outstanding Naval Fiction, the Reader’s Choice Award, the Clive Cussler Grandmaster Award for Adventure Writing, the Military Writer’s Society of America Gold Medal for Navy Fiction, and the American Author Medal. His novel, The Seventh Angel, was selected for the 2012 Chief of Naval Operations Professional Reading Program. He lives in California, where he consults for the Department of Defense.
More often than not, military fiction portrays heroes as larger-than-life characters with washboard abs, amazing technical capabilities, and combat skills that border on the supernatural. In nearly two and a half decades of active duty, I never met anyone like that.
Instead, I saw a different kind of hero. I saw ordinary men and women who worked together to accomplish extraordinary things. Most of them weren’t tall and blindingly attractive. Their only superpowers were cooperation, dedication, and skill born of training, experience, and personal effort.
Faced with an imperfect system, they didn’t abandon military discipline, or put themselves outside of the chain of command. They figured out how to accomplish the mission despite unclear orders, faulty equipment, and rules of engagement that often made their jobs many times harder than necessary.
I’m no longer surrounded by these unacknowledged heroes on a daily basis, but they’re still out there. They’re still doing the job every second of every day, often in places you’ve never heard of, under conditions that most people can scarcely imagine. Week after week, year after year, they risk their lives for a citizenry that rarely recognizes or appreciates their sacrifices.
These are the quiet warriors. The ones who never seem to make it onto the movie screen or the bestseller list. They’re not products of the ancient hero formula. They’re not flashy. Most of them don’t have six-pack abs and biceps of steel. They’re not imbued with astonishing abilities. They’re the real thing.
When I set out to start writing novels about the military, I decided to acknowledge and celebrate the kind of collective heroism that actually keeps this country safe and strong. I promised myself that the men and women who populate my stories wouldn’t look or act like Tom Cruise or Angelina Jolie.
I’m doing my best to keep that promise. When you open one of my books, the heroes you find will look a lot like your daughter, or your nephew, or that twenty-something kid standing in front of you in the supermarket checkout line. And if you happen to wear the uniform yourself, some of my heroes probably look quite a bit like you.