The New York Times Best Seller
Why Write A Memoir?
My desire to write The Red Circle was originally inspired by “The Last Lecture ” by Randy Pausch and his desire to leave something behind of value for his family.
The Red Circle shares my personal story of encountering, and overcoming adversity in life. The book passes on valuable life lessons, examples of good leadership tools I learned during my time as a US Navy SEAL and raises awareness to the sacrifices made by the warriors and their families of the United States Special Operations Command (US SOCOM).
The Red Circle-A Memoir
The Red Circle is the true story of Brandon’s experiences leading up to the US Navy SEAL Teams and his work as the US Naval Special Warfare (Navy SEAL) Sniper Course as the head instructor (Course Manager). Starting with his colorful childhood growing up in a seafaring family, Brandon’s story continues through his grueling training at BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL) and in Naval Special Operations. It takes us through his combat tours in the Persian Gulf and Afghanistan and his distinguished career designing new post-9/11 sniper training courses, to his employment with the operational branch of a three-letter US intelligence agency, concluding with his transition to the life of a private entrepreneur. In the process, the book provides a rare and personal look at the inner workings of the US military through the eyes of a US Navy SEAL.
At the age of 16, Brandon Webb had a fight with his dad that got him thrown out of the house—only in his case, “the house” happened to be a small boat anchored off Tahiti. As a teenager who lacked even a driver’s license, negotiating the 6,000 miles back to California was the beginning of a journey that would ultimately lead to a distinguished career on the harrowing frontiers of post-modern warfare.
Surrounded by friends whose lives drifted between surfing and crystal meth, Brandon elected to join the Navy, where he trained initially as an Aircrew Search & Rescue Swimmer and eventually as a US Navy SEAL. Following the events of 9/11, he went on to manage the SEAL sniper course, designing new curricula and training a generation of SEAL graduates who became some of the most accomplished snipers of the 21st century. One of these includes Marcus Luttrell, New York Times best-selling author of Lone Survivor. In Lone Survivor, Luttrell credits Webb’s training with his own survival during his ill-fated 2005 mission in Afghanistan as part of Operation Red Wing, which resulted in the single greatest death toll within the SEAL ranks.
Intimate and intelligent, candid and at times shocking, Navy SEAL Sniper opens a unique window into issues of peace and war, life and death, order and chaos in the 21st century. It also provides a uniquely personal glimpse into one of the most difficult military training courses in the world.
Autographed copies are only available through The Red Circle Foundation , the SOFREP Team Room, and at exclusive speaking events. -Brandon
Praise for “The Red Circle”
“Brandon’s story hits center mass! If you want to know what makes up the DNA of a Navy SEAL and have a behind-the-scenes look at the best sniper program in the world, then hold 1 right for wind and read The Red Circle.”
— Chris Kyle, SEAL Team 3 Chief, sniper and bestselling author of American Sniper
“Another forceful statement from the Brotherhood of SEALs, Brandon Webb’s The Red Circle illustrates why he wanted to be a SEAL, what it takes to be a SEAL, how you survive the life of a SEAL, and the value of mind over matter. A valuable read for anyone aspiring to reach goals that seem unattainable—in any walk of life.”
— CDR Richard Marcinko, USN (Ret.), founding father and first commanding officer of SEAL Team Six, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Rogue Warrior
“There are a lot of people out there who are alive today because of the efforts, skill, and dedication of Brandon and others like him. His training saved my life. What you’re about to read is not just the making of a Navy SEAL sniper, but the story of one guy who went on to help shape the lives of hundreds of elite special forces warriors.”
— Marcus Luttrell, author of the New York Times bestseller Lone Survivor
“The characters in this book are America’s finest and they will remind you that freedom is not free: it has to be protected, and at great sacrifice to a select few at the tip of the spear. The Red Circle will also remind you that in life, sports, and business, you have a job to do. Brandon’s story will compel you to get that job done and get it done right. I couldn’t put it down.”
— Kevin Kouzmanoff, Major League Baseball Player and former Third Baseman for the San Diego Padres.
“The story of today’s Navy SEALs is Brandon Webb’s to tell, and The Red Circle does it masterfully. This definitive work at once proves and explodes the myths behind Navy Special Warfare and the men who meet its challenges. Strap in for a wild ride.”
— CDR Ward Carroll, USN (ret.), Editor of Military.com
“The Red Circle beautifully captures the author’s introspection, humor, and lion-hearted daring. A riveting true-life adventure story, told with frankness and skill.”
True Stories of Inspired Friendship, Sacrifice & Heroism
Simon & Schuster Late 2014 release
After the dust settled from writing and releasing my memoir, The Red Circle, I was stuck about what to do for my next writing project. I was working on a few ideas for a book on Special Operations and considering taking a stab at my first novel (writing it as we speak)—but then something happened that put all those plans on hold.
One day I received an email through my author website from a man I’d never met but whose name, Michael Bearden (Sr.), was completely familiar to me. He said he’d been feeling a little down one day after delivering a Memorial Day address as part of a tribute to veterans, so he and his wife went out to the bookstore to look for some reading to take his mind off their own private pain. “For some years,” he wrote, “I have avoided reading anything to do with SEALs, but I saw The Red Circle and was drawn to it.” He picked the book up and started browsing through it … and was stunned when he came to a passage talking about his own son, Mike Bearden, and our experiences during our time as fellow SEAL sniper students.
Mike, aka The Bear, died in a terrible parachute training accident just weeks after we graduated the sniper program together. His parachute had a rare malfunction that prevented him from cutting away the bad chute in order to deploy his reserve. He fought the problem all the way to the ground. That was Bearden, a true fighter who would never give up.
The Red Circle included a story about how Mike and my close friend and shooting partner, Glen Doherty, had tied for top shooter on our final UKD (unknown-distance) shooting test with the .300 Win Mag bolt-action sniper rifle. For the test, shooters and their spotters were given six lanes of targets out to distances of just over 1,000 yards. Estimating range with the mil dot system built into our scopes, we had to hit all our targets with a total score of 80 percent or higher. Glen (with me spotting) and Mike had both aced the test with the highest scores in the class. Beforehand the instructors had announced that whoever made top score would win a brand new shotgun donated by a local gun range. Since Glen and Mike had now tied for first place, they held a shoot-off to determine who would come out on top. Both men were crack shots, but in the final set of targets at the 1,000-yard range, the Bear edged Glen out and took the prize.
Mike finished the course in the top of his class, and was loved by everyone. His death hit us all hard, and it was a great loss felt throughout our community. He is as sorely missed today, more than a decade later, as he was then. I was out of the area when it happened and wasn’t able to be at his funeral. A friend of mine said there wasn’t a man in uniform with a dry eye.
In his email, Mike’s dad explained that he’d never heard the story about the shoot-out, and he was grateful for it, and that he was moved to tears of joy by the way we remembered and honored Mike and his wife and son in the book.
“Please convey my family’s appreciation for this book,” he concluded. “I think I can speak for all the other families whose children gave all.”
It was signed, “The Bear’s dad.”
After reading the email I knew what my next project had to be.
“Leave no man behind” is the mantra of all Special Operations teams, and I realized I had to do something to help ensure that guys like Mike were not left behind. I had a burning desire to share my stories of friendship, and the principles that guided these men in their lives. These are principles I have adopted in my own life and share with my children. Knowing these great men, who they were, how they lived, and what they stood for, has become such an integral part of my life. We can’t let them be forgotten.
It’s a strange place I find myself in these days. When I talk with people in their eighties or nineties, sometimes they describe what it’s like seeing so many of their friends vanish, one by one, and finding themselves progressively more alone in the world. That’s a normal part of the cycle of life, I suppose—but I haven’t yet reached forty, and I’m having that same experience. We have now been at war for more than a decade, the longest continuous state of armed conflict in our history as a nation, and this has put an enormous stress on all men and women in uniform, along with their families and friends. But with the unique nature of today’s asymmetrical warfare, it has placed an especially heavy burden on our Special Forces community. Many of my closest friends in the SEAL Teams are no longer here. They sacrificed everything, many leaving behind mothers, fathers, wives, and children. At the same time, they also left behind powerfully instructive examples of living—models of what it means to be a hero.
I had already begun working on early drafts of this book when my sniper school partner and best friend, Glen Doherty, perished in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012. Suddenly I lost my best friend, and my children lost their beloved Uncle Glen. I sat down with them and told them it’s okay to be sad, and we cried together. But I also explained that we shouldn’t feel sorry for Uncle Glen and others like him.
“Glen wouldn’t want us to feel sorry for him,” I said. “And here’s the thing. He died living life to the fullest, doing what he absolutely loved, what he was passionate about.”
How many of us can say that about our own lives? It’s so easy to sacrifice or marginalize our dreams, especialy for reasons that seem so important at the time but reveal their trivial nature when we look back years later. Glen never did that. Neither did the Bear.
“Life goes by in a blink,” I told my kids, “and you should each live your own lives, doing what you love, and abandon your dreams for no one. That’s the best way to honor Uncle Glen. Do your best to live the way he did.”
So read about these amazing men, share their stories, and learn from them as I have. There’s regret, and there’s sadness, but it’s never too late to start living—and no better way to live than among heroes. We’ve already mourned their deaths; let’s celebrate their lives.
— Brandon Webb
Navy SEAL Sniper
The Navy SEAL Sniper in the twenty-first-century is a mature, intelligent shooter who leverages technology to his deadly advantage. He has spent thousands of hours honing his skills. He is a master of concealment in all environments, from the mountains of Afghanistan to the crowded streets of Iraq. He is trained in science and left alone to create the unique art of the kill. To the sniper, the battlefield is like a painter’s blank canvas. It is his job to simultaneously utilize tools, training, and creativity to deliver devastating psychological impact upon the battlefield. And it is he alone who is left with the intimacy of the kill.
My main goal for writing this book was to provide a forward looking “insiders” perspective of the sniper community. Plenty of books have been written on the topic, but only a select few have been written by actual snipers who understand the job. Imagine reading a book on medicine written by someone with no medical experience. I was also fortunate enough to have my best friend, and fellow SEAL Glen Doherty (KIA Benghazi Libya Sept. 11th, 2012) as a fellow author on the project. Without Glen this book would never have been finished. I hope you enjoy it and thanks for all the support.
The New York Times Best Seller
Written by the team of former Special Operations warriors who run SOFREP.com, here is the definitive account of what happened before, during, and after the deadly Benghazi attack.
On September 12th, 2012, Brandon Webb learned Glen Doherty, one of his closest friends and his former Navy SEAL teammate, was killed alongside Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and two other Americans when the U.S. State Department and CIA headquarters in Benghazi, Libya, were sieged in a shocking terrorist attack. For the next four months, Webb and his team at SOFREP.com, the world’s premier Special Ops website, embarked on a relentless investigation to understand exactly what happened to their countrymen, as well as the roles played by the Obama administration, State Department, and CIA. Drawing on unmatched sources, they spoke to individuals who would talk to no one else, including fellow Special Operations team members familiar with the African theatre, and well-placed contacts in the Washington intelligence community. This is their report–an unforgettably gripping minute-by-minute narrative of the events and their aftermath as they really unfolded on that terrible day in Libya.
This is a book career bureaucrats and politicians don’t want you to read. It exposes the current game of political musical chairs with regards to accountability in Washington, and highlights a failed foreign policy strategy that carries over from one administration to the next.
Navy SEAL Tips Series