Redman's story of his struggles, failures, and ultimate successes
is conveyed powerfully in his book, The Trident: The Forging
and Reforging of a Navy Seal Leader. This book is not
just another heroic SEAL war story, but is an in depth description
how this SEAL was at war with himself. The reader is able
to go on a journey with him as he searches for a balance between
arrogance and humility.
The first half of the book shows him as somewhat bitter, immature,
and egotistical, a SEAL with a bad attitude. Yet, in the latter
half his growth as a person becomes evident as he displays
the leadership characteristics of humbleness, sacrifice, confidence,
a good listener, and someone who can be respected. Redman
stated, "I took a very different approach in writing
this book. I wanted to show how I messed up, learned from
it, and became successful from it. Reality is that we all
make mistakes and have to overcome adversity, which was my
sheer purpose for writing this book. Depending on when the
guys served with me, they would describe me differently. When
I was younger they called me arrogant, a jerk. Those guys
who knew me at the end of my career described me as squared
away and someone who contributed to the SEAL community. Those
who knew me my entire career would say here is someone with
a rocky beginning, with a lot of potential, and excelled in
It becomes obvious that he is one of the lucky ones since
Redman had many second chances. Instead of being booted out,
he was sent to Ranger school to find humility. It was during
his time there that the light bulb went on and he decided
not to hide behind excuses anymore. He came to grips with
controlling his characteristic weakness of being tactless
and undiplomatic. A powerful scene in the book shows his growth
as a person, after being deployed to Iraq he performed well
under fire and led through example. His other second chance
came after being critically wounded by insurgents in 2007
while leading a mission. He suffered severe injuries to the
left side of his face including his eye, nose, and cheekbone.
After approximately forty surgeries he noted, "the combination
of your personality and the life that you know totally changes.
Your life revolves around surgeries, recovery, preop, postop,
and the invisible wounds of war. I firmly believe I had a
second chance. I had the luxury of facing death and coming
back. With the help of my exceptional wife I was able to reflect
on my life and decide how I would live it." This attitude
is conveyed through the sign he wrote that was placed on the
hospital door, which read in part:
"Attention to all who enter here:
If you are coming into this room with sorrow or to feel sorry
for my wounds, go elsewhere. The wounds I received I got in
a job I love, doing it for people I love, done for the country
This room you are about to enter is a room of
fun, optimism, and intense rapid regrowth
sign now hangs in the wounded warrior ward at Walter Reed.
He also founded Wounded Wear, a non-profit organization, (https://woundedwear.org/jason_redman)
to help the wounded warrior wear clothes with positive slogans.
"It came about out of anger with people staring at me.
I wanted something to show that we sacrificed for Americans
by having to endure these wounds of war. I hope the power
of that clothing given to my fellow wounded warriors will
provide them with pride, power, and purpose."
There is also a powerful tribute at the beginning of the book
to his eighty-six Naval Special Warfare brothers who paid
the ultimate sacrifice. These are the best and the brightest
and the reader gets a stark reality that there are names to
go with the body counts.
The Trident is an uplifting, thrilling, and inspiring book.
It shows that someone should never give up on oneself no matter
how bad it gets, and that the worst enemy is reflected in
the mirror. Jason Redman does a superb job of detailing his
flaws with no punches barred. This book is about love, leadership,
and a journey from adversity to humility.