I Have Your Back: How an American Soldier Became an International Hero (Hardcover)

I Have Your Back: How an American Soldier Became an International Hero By Tom Sileo Cover Image
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The story of U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Michael Ollis, who became an international hero for his courage and selflessness.

Ever since he was a young boy growing up on the streets of Staten Island, New York, Michael Ollis wanted to be a soldier. Inspired by his father, who fought in Vietnam, Mike’s deep desire to serve was cemented on the day his beloved city was attacked. From 9/11 onward, Mike’s one and only mission was to save lives.

After two tense combat deployments, Staff Sergeant Michael Ollis earned the US Army’s coveted Ranger tab and set his sights on the perilous mountains of eastern Afghanistan. On August 28, 2013, Mike was suddenly caught in the middle of a massive and unprecedented Taliban assault on a coalition military base. Rather than retreat to his bunker, Mike decided to fight. He then encountered a Polish army officer who needed his help.

Despite being surrounded by enemy fighters while running low on ammunition, Mike promised the foreign soldier that no matter what, he would have his back. For his final act of bravery, Staff Sergeant Michael Ollis would not only receive the Distinguished Service Cross from his own country, but the highest honor that Poland can bestow upon an allied soldier.

As an American warrior, Staff Sergeant Michael Ollis had all of our backs. This vivid and visceral account of Mike’s selfless 24-year journey will motivate us to “live like Mike” by always putting family, friends and country first.

About the Author

TOM SILEO has authored or co-authored six military non-fiction books about heroes of America’s post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Those titles include Three Wise Men; Tom’s widely praised 2021 collaboration with combat veteran and Gold Star brother Beau Wise. Tom is a contributing senior editor of The Stream and a recipient of the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation’s General Oliver P. Smith Award for distinguished reporting. He is a graduate of Rutgers University and lives in Delray Beach, Florida.

Praise For…

"The inspiring story of a boy who yearned to be a soldier, achieved his dream, served three tours with distinction, and died a hero...[Sileo] narrates his tale with evenhandedness and a refreshing lack of empty declarations of patriotism...A well-deserved eulogy for an American warrior." -Kirkus Reviews

“A riveting account of one of the true heroes of America’s New Greatest Generation – the young men and women who volunteered in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, many of whom I was privileged to command during five combat assignments. Staff Sergeant Mike Ollis was one of the greatest of the many extraordinary soldiers who selflessly served our country during multiple tours in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, repeatedly having the back of those on his left and right in tough combat – and ultimately putting his own life at risk to save the life of a soldier from a coalition country. It is impossible not to be inspired by his example – and not to be motivated to ‘live like Mike’ after reading I Have Your Back a great book about a great American.” -General David Petraeus, US Army (Ret.), former Commander of the Surge in Iraq, US Central Command, and NATO/US Forces in Afghanistan; former Director of the CIA; and author of the New York Times bestseller Conflict: The Evolution of Warfare from 1945 to Ukraine.

“Tom Sileo continues his important mission of honoring the sacrifices of our American defenders in his new book I Have Your Back, the remarkable true story of U.S Army Staff Sgt. Michael Ollis who gave his life to save a member of the Polish armed forces on August 28, 2013 while serving in Afghanistan. We can never do enough to remember those who lay down their lives in defense of our freedom, and the families left behind. Tom Sileo’s work is to be admired for his skill and appreciated for never letting us forget the sacrifices of selfless Americans like Michael Ollis.” -Gary Sinise, Award-winning actor, bestselling author of Grateful American and founder of the Gary Sinise Foundation

"I lost my two brothers in Afghanistan. After reading I Have Your Back by Tom Sileo, I feel like I've lost a third. Staff Sgt. Michael Ollis embodied everything my brothers stood for: family, faith, service and sacrifice. We must never forget heroes like Michael, Jeremy, Ben and thousands more who gave all to keep us safe." -Sergeant Beau Wise, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.). Afghanistan combat veteran, Gold Star brother & bestselling author of Three Wise Men

“Staff Sergeant Michael Ollis made the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan one year after four of my friends lost their lives in a suicide bombing. While I will always miss them, it is comforting to know that long after our mission ended, fellow soldiers like Michael continued confronting the enemy and saving lives. Michael's final act of heroism embodied the Ranger creed that we both served and lived by: Rangers lead the way!" -Captain Flo Groberg, U.S. Army (Ret.). Medal of Honor recipient and author of 8 Seconds of Courage

"Some people search their entire lives to find their greater purpose, questioning “Why am I here?” Staff Sergeant Michael Ollis did not have a single doubt that he was put on this earth to serve his country. Emboldened by the tragedy of 9/11 and the effects it had on his hometown of Staten Island, Ollis set his sights on the United States Army, determined to make his family and friends proud as he defended our nation. Along the way, he made an immeasurable impact on every life he touched. His spirit and immense sacrifice have been memorialized by his family through the SSG Michael Ollis Freedom Foundation, returning each year to New Dorp to honor his life in the neighborhood where it all began, with the Annual SSG Ollis 5K. Though his life was cut tragically short, SSG Ollis serves as a pillar of heroism and patriotism as readers follow his story from humble beginnings in the streets of Staten Island, to his final act of service as he made the ultimate sacrifice." -Frank Siller, Chairman/CEO of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation

Product Details
ISBN: 9781250286116
ISBN-10: 1250286115
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: June 4th, 2024
Pages: 256
Language: English