Alone at Dawn

by Dan Schilling and Lori Chapman Longfritz

Overview: Alone at Dawn is the riveting true story of Medal of Honor recipient John Chapman and his journey to becoming part of the Air Force’s most prestigious and lethal Special Operations Command group, the Combat Controllers (CCTs). The story builds up to the start of Operation Anaconda, America’s first major operation in the Global War on Terror. Additionally, readers get a rare glimpse into the world of Combat Controllers, as the author shares the training pipeline of how to become part of the elite team. Along with the evolution of the need for CCTs in battle, there are multiple stories and accounts of CCTs in action to supplement the nearly impossible training pipeline. Embedded throughout the book is the story of CCT TSgt John Chapman, (callsign “Chappy”). The book brilliantly lays out the world of CCTs and how Chapman collides with it as the first Medal of Honor recipient since the Vietnam War. 

The book is divided into three sections. First, Evolution provides the foundational knowledge of the world of CCTs, and the audience meets John Chapman. Second is Anaconda, which provides a chronological story of the Battle of Takur Ghar, as you see many characters from the first section overlapping and interacting together. Lastly, Aftermath explains the years following the death of John Chapman, including a glimpse of his lasting legacy.