tv After Words Beau Wise and Tom Sileo Three Wise Men CSPAN January 23, 2021 10:00pm-10:53pm EST
today. i was hoping that you could tell us how it was like growing up with two brothers and sisters well because of the age difference is . must've always felt like you had someone to sort of guide you. douglas: yes . jeremy for small, being ten years my senior and ben, is a much bigger and larger and i had a sister as well. so the youngest of four. we grew up in rural south arkansas. there is really very ideal childhood and very wholesome. jeremy, is . leave it to beaver. so is a great experience. it would not change my childhood for the world. >> you mentioned in the book that you grew up with a lot of heroes, military heroes . and not in your immediate family. so when you guys were kids, we playing army. what were you doing.
douglas: especially for ben, go for the most part . we work more musicians actually a lot of music and playing in church and we grew up for the first goal that we went to come all three of my brothers and sisters graduated from, didn't really have a big music department . is just a small little private school. then we moved. i was the first one that got into jazz band and all of the different outlets so all three encourage me and said this is cool you have access to a lot of stuff that we did not have going to a public school. so was kind of our influence early on. i think the music was a connection for all four of us. kelly: can you talk a little bit about this in your family. it says like your mom would tell you bedtime stories about this.
>> the military comes my mom's family really bring her dad was in the army air corps before became the air force in world war ii. and he served in her mother's brother, my great-uncle, was a writer the pacific campaign. he had some kind of had wound. no no. in her great-uncle, my grandmother's uncle was in aragon for us and he was marina. one of the original doughboys. bitterness the name super, the rain legacy and her family as we evaporate is . awesome for me joining the marine corps. but a century later and kind of
connecting to that heritage. kelly: was something that stuck out to me. you have a sailor in rain and a soldier and i can imagine that you guys had a lot of things with your friends and someone . did you guys give each other a hard time about the services. beau: don't give a navy seal too much grief. but when is army infantry and i was in the marine corps years later and his roots were still army infantry partied been and i had that rivalry partied it is all in good fun for unit but he would joke about the equipment we used in whatever. and i would say hey, you've got more marine blood in you than you do anything else and remember that. kelly: can't tell me little bit
about how youtube met. how you guys got through this together. >> short and thank you for your service as well. bowen i met through . unique set of circumstances permitted i had started about ten years ago writing a blog and as indicated column about fallen heroes and veterans. in one of the fallen heroes are right about this staff sergeant jesse williams. he was killed in iraq. but before hand, he was on an infantry deployment. as i had connected with jesse's wife sonja almost a decade earlier. and obviously wanted to know more about it. it was sonja who put me in connection with tracy.
then she kept in touch about. all went from there. it and played small part in telling the story. kelly: one of my favorite and least favorite things about telling the stories that when you're working with the one who is been through a traumatic experience. there are times when your heart is breaking his into the story but at the same time, you're helping to tell the story. you're leading them through something. sometime i was wondering if there were things that you did intentionally to help guide though through the trauma of telling his story. >> i've helped a lot of family members and work on some with books and with veterans as well.
it and the most important thing that i try to do is going into each story with no preconceived notions whatsoever. tom: everybody handles it differently. but with him, will when we first met, we sat down and talked and right away i think things collect with beau. there were times when beau said hey, this is just too much print and into step back. in the minute he said that, i said i got it. and i was happy and honored to do it. but i do have to say, the bravery and beau shown not only as a marine and a goldstar brother but in being willing to open these wounds and explore and learn more about his brothers until the world about them. i have so much admiration for
the courage he shows. kelly: and beau, you are working through your brother's death and where there are moments when you just did not want to do this anymore. did it feel like it was just hard in some of it was helpful for you. beau: as tom said, that was the moment where it was just absolutely sentence down. absolutely got the right author. and it kind of hated doing that to him. but there was times when it fought this farnam going to keep fighting. and i knew that we had to get through this. we had to finish it once and for all. but there were absolutely moments would just, i just couldn't do it. i needed to grieve to myself.
and alone or with my wife or whatever. when dealing with green berets and navy seals. sometimes the information, sometimes they come to an abrupt stop and sometimes it would just pour out partied and after a while, he just feel so attached emotionally. but having somebody like tom to work with was a lifesaver because even though i didn't like doing that to him, i had to just step away. kelly: was a moment where you felt like he needed to do this project partied what inspired you to tell your story. beau: i started journaling is kind of an outlet any years ago.
i felt like it was easier to write in the journal entries that were uncovered was a small percentage of the book. but it gave a think tom and i just kind of an idea where we wanted to go. i did not share them with them right away. when he told me his vision, the plan just kind of sink and i there's a lot of things that he wanted to say. i was feeding it back to meet without me telling him anything about it. so we recovered a couple of journal entries cost. but i think it was really just started the proposal for the book. talking about jeremy in the last moments as rough as i knew it would be. the fact that he wanted to focus on jeremy venice goal of preservation.
so we say things like that is marines and green berets all of the time. and probably in an effort to desensitize ourselves. but to be there, and they did that every day of the lives. kelly: had your family respond when he said he wanted to work on this, your wife and your dad ramon. beau: there was a lot of caution and hesitation. i think a little bit of fear. if i'm being honest because it was between the article in the washington post, they did a great job from a fantastic job years ago . and zero dark 30. all of that stuff. think the family was finally coming to a point where things it calms down.
we are starting to heal think everybody was worried about it. but for me, it was something that i felt absolutely had to do. and just told family members that they understand for those, if you don't want to be involved. that is fine and if there is something that you want to say. you can reach out to myself company tone and we want to get your heart into this focus well. and there was a lot of that. this is the story of the lots of veterans and families in the family friends this. the collaboration and so much effort for so any people they wanted to preserve that legacy. it's.
kelly: thomas funk ask you question prayed you're working with the greenbrae navy seals. so a lot of the story was not available. how did you work backwards on this. tom: is a great question. there was a tremendous amount of research for this book. more than any other book that i have worked on and that is saying something. there's been a lot of research in those books as well but when you are dealing with two special operations, more than 1600 combined days in combat between ben's time in over a decade long. and you can only imagine any different people they serve was nobody lives that touch and how any people they saved. so we've just really wanted to talk to anybody who was willing. we were not able to talk to everyone. a lot of that actually was
because in the case of the navy seals especially, there were multiple guys deployed while we were writing the book. although some of them to their credit, actually called me from the war zones. i'm so appreciative of courses we were able to speak, completely understand . at this book could not have been written without the help of those field and green berets. the infantry soldiers who served all of the way back in zero three and zero four back in a wreck targeted courses family members and their friends. this book is for them. they just did a tremendous job helping us and they continue helping us to date. kelly: did you do the interviews together. beau: most of the time it was me. there was a time where things
were getting a little bit emotional and particularly with the greenbrae side . i conducted most of those but right after i would text him or call him and let them know how they went. and then of course beau knows any of the screen raise personally. any out also talk to them. so it's really a mutual effort and everyone pitched in all of the way through. beau were there things that surprised you. imagine because of what your brothers, there were things that they couldn't tell you along the way. with the things that you are writing the surprise you by your brothers. beau: i was surprised by a lot of things 40 particularly i think the first surprise was
when tom started to interview and laid out a lot of information and as far as the kinetic nature of jeremy. there were things that probably a lot of that i can remember because of the red decade ago. but once they realized limited said the reincorporate is absolutely convinced the glory marine corps infantry. and then the information started to come in. so stars lessons learned in with a me, the wind. the water personal things and that can indicator jeremy's employment. in the way they responded to grief shocked me. we did not talk about that. when i'm in afghanistan, and then he would be on home on
paternity leave and jeremy was in afghanistan party that everything happened with chapman. but i flew home and let them stateside linked up with the family . we did the memorial service very quickly. the date i went back to the incident. not responded to three felt of fall. not proud of the way of responded to it. but it's the truth. and i wanted to be honest and i wanted people to see that congress and knowing how well then responded and encouraged me to be on. tom: think it is important for the readers, to blood brothers. personality wise, very like can respond to grief very differently. and i was raw emotion. and then, responded by diving in
and try to protect his soul. in every way i thought that as time when i dug into it, and me. did you know the been was hosting bible studies and doing all of these things to keep himself on an even keel. and i said no, he never talked about it. and even when a particular appointment was over i went to washington, it was that he was humble in nature . you try to keep me sharp. kelly: is that something that happened when you are a kid as well. with this something that was new. beau: flaming i'm sorry. kelly: the way he felt that kind of his faith. based on when you were kids did you refer back to that prayed. beau: he was . is a very special
person. in a spiritual intellectual. he and jeremy both kind of inspired me, from an early age. and that was our father really. he inspired all of us that way. it is very christian religious household. i would say that most if not all of his life, a thing of the three brothers . been is the only one the never deterred in his faith in any way. jeremy and i both had a moments. asking the big picture questions. but then was very driven faith warrior. kelly: some of the things in the book remind me of a typical conversation. they won't let me do my job.
i just want to knock down doors. that kind of insurgency. one of the things that was interesting in the book was excuse me. who the things that struck me as interesting the book was that it prevented your brothers as brothers. it is a feel for a and presented them is very human. semiconscious decision for you guys to present them from that wired guys doing that . beau: that was something that tom encouraged me to do early on. i all utilized both of them from a very early age and tom said, do we frame to let me human.
and i instantly liked that . letting people relate to them. this brings a work of the human. they had faults . is very important. it helped me connect to them. so is grateful to have tom there. i would tend to naturally left to my own devices, with love it. as characters in the book. the home wanted to downplay them as heroes. it is one make sure that i made them as human as possible. good and bad. and they deserve to be remembered. kelly: and why was it so important to you based on your
previous experience. as a goldstar brain. beau: sure, that is part of it actually. i think this is not just a military book. i think it is about two young men who could've done anything they wanted in life. they chose to dedicate as much of themselves that they possibly could to protecting other people. and i'm nothing characters in the story . jeremy had been, their families are a huge part of this. i really wanted to help show the country not just with the men and women out on the ground sacrificed home with their families go through. you may have noticed we included some instant messengers.
from the old days . messages between ben and tracy will then was deployed . not talking about just missing each other brett hey, tracy said i've got to get something fixed at the house. how do we get it done. just the everyday things the couples go through. then of course while tracy is raising their son luke. so i hope this book gives a window into that sacrifice and on just appealed to the military community. of course we want the military community to everyday americans as well just to get that sense of what these men and women are willing to sacrifice on a daily basis. kelly: there is a place where all three of you were deployed at the same time in afghanistan
and how that affected the family sprayed from the day-to-day not having one or three uncles around afraid of being waited on moments with family members. this is something that understood before he went. parts of the deploying to really get a handle on how it would affect your family. beau: me to write . into the deployments really truly fully appreciate it was like. not even the first deployment . as a father or a mother . then my opinion being a father now looking back. it was difficult as a husband. but the first deployment, your young and bulletproof.
then something happens, you don't think about it so much. not been exposed. i think now looking back, the company deployments they did as fathers, is staggering to me. i think you're right, early on i don't think i did. kelly: there's another thing that stuck out to me in the book. here in afghanistan, brothers are there as well. did you expect to see them. but they would pop up. like you would see them. that sort of thing of naïve as to what that would be like. beau: it was and a lot of that, but it kind of wonder like there's any chance whatsoever be getting close to jeremy. and did not know.
one knew that when luke was born, or maybe i did not know it actually don't remember because it is been so long . i remember wondering if i knew that jeremy was there. i did not know where. i knew that ben would be on his way soon . so i'm wondering what are the odds and eventually it happened. under bad circumstances when jeremy had passed and beau ben i came home. visit wasn't working directly for the agency and fourthly, he did not was allowed to be buried in arlington. that was a fight with the family up early on. without that maybe we should. later on, justin, maybe jeremy would just be preferred to be
very closer to home. so we getting married in virginia. without this would happen. and we would fly in for the funeral bit and i've course bump into each other and quite literally, physically bumped into each other. it's a small world but much much smaller shooter world. not knowing that jeremy was cia earlier on . didn't know what the odds were but is always in the back my mind. kelly: 40 surprising jeremy decide to leave the field. beau: i was surprised. i think with the culture and changes, think that he was ready for a change to move on. but i think that his aspirations
were fourth maybe well, honestly i don't really know why. i didn't really get a chance to talk to him. because once i enlisted, those less time the three of us to be together again. this imposes a dime. i didn't even get to go to ben's wedding. we were in twentynine palms. getting ready for another deployment. there was a lot of things that i missed a lot of conversations that i think about today. kelly: he was working security for the cia. is that what you guys thought out. beau: i believe it's a global response, the same type of job they saw in the book 13 hours.
the guys the work for the central intelligence but they're not organic. to that pacific team. kelly: 's death is part of a national conversation the fermented . much are which one you feel comfortable talking about. the details for somebody. you guys talk about that extensively the book. just how kind of unusual. with that difficult part of the book to report out and relive. beau: for me, that was something that i wanted to talk about a lot. not really to throw anyone under the bus. i think my frustration then and in looking back. this is where i think we got clarification in writing the
book. in time but understand a little bit better. when the information is coming back to you, you don't want to give partial information allow them to speculate in any way. so that it is frustrating for me, early on especially in early 2010, we were having these conversations of why can't they tell us where the explosion occurred. inside the property or outside of property. but you don't even want to give a family member the 9 percent of the information. you wait until you have 100 percent to get it. ... ...
researched book called the travel agent. connected with him day early before i met him and right away he said he would help in any way that he could and graciously let us use excerpts from his book in our book and read the triple agent it goes through the entire history which really is so closely tied to one of the key moments of the war on terror that eventually helped lead to navy seals killing osama bin laden. >> so what did happen that day? tell us very briefly what happened that led to this investigation. >> and the province of afghanistan 2009, and the
demand that they thought was a caa double agent who had infiltrated al qaeda was the local time by al qaeda if you read the reporting there was a strong suspicion that is already here he was is a member as a suicide plot nine to were killed and ca a heroes including ceremony one - - including chair one - - including jeremy it was the deadliest day since the eighties it was a tragedy we mourn for their families as well. >> that's what was so important for you to figure out and it came out years ago.
i thought it was important you get frustrated when - - frustrated and the moments of grief and with anger but the guy that was giving us this information looks like an operator he looked like someone you would see downwind you could see in his eyes he wanted to pour his heart out to us but he did not and i know in hindsight i know he did not want to make the mistake of giving the information and made that mistake. >> the book is nonpartisan it felt like you made a big effort to include voices from all sides especially people who were offering condolences or compassion to your family. is that something you guys talked about order that come
about naturally? >> yes. it was an effort for a story like this one, i don't think it's political in any way, but regardless of what i think we came naturally. jeremy then and both were deeply inspired as we write in the book by the speech president bush gave to the joint session of congress after 9/11 and the unity the country felt in that moment partially ben was already in the military but certainly both jeremy and a lot of ways to become a navy seal and then moving through the story president bush leaves office and obama takes over and the
kindness that obama showed the caa families and he gave a speech at langley with then cia director panetta and personally reached out to the families including the wives and then when ben was killed just over two years later usc in the book there is a handwritten note from secretary panetta who by the way helped us and gave us a beautiful endorsement for the book you can tell the story means a lot to secretary panetta there were republicans and democrats and independents throughout this story and it teaches us it is so much bigger than what divides us or the military sacrifices and something all americans can unite on and be proud of the armed forces and what they do for us. >> what was important to me is the idea that a nation the goes to war as a community we
should listen to the stories when people come home so i appreciate that intensely. you said another family member and that's how do you so what was your response at that moment? and how do you feel about that now? it was such an in the moment thing to say. >> from one and grieving family member to another at the time it made perfect sense i do not respond to grief very well at all. my combat experience was minimal and in retrospect it was a blessing it was a good thing i never had one time ever was angry about it at one
point in time but with my first appointment it was a joke and to think i was good luck or bad luck or whatever you call it and then going west don't worry about it and it's a good thing so whatever it was i am grateful for. >> but i think everyone in that room said it was the heart and mind and if there's one thing i can share with them i learned that from ben's teaching that don't chase the fight and the meant first told me that be careful what you wish for you just might get
it. >> the book has only been out for a minute but have people reached out to you since it has come out to tell you more stories or comment on what they read? >> yes. >> yes. countless family members have reached out. actually i was just messaging yesterday with the brother of one cia he was killed and he got the book and he will be connecting with those shortly. so there is nothing more important to us than that. >> you have had to address many levels of guilt with this book from not being hall when your brother was killed to
leaving your battle buddies behind when your brother was killed and being pulled entirely from the battle that led you to a dark place can you tell us about your journey and with that has been since then? maybe you can describe what happened that night. >> i thank you describe that well survivors go compounded because of multiple instances and to be away from my platoon, i felt guilty every day just about every night i was gone thinking about them and praying to god that nobody got hurt while i was absent so as we talked about in the book it was such a relief to get back to them in one of the best feelings in the world.
and my oldest friend in the marine corps where the first places i went to climb the ladder and fan up there and having the response as crazy as it sounds it is just as good as going home in so many ways and the relief was gone so i think leaving the marine corps or the infantry and paying restricted from the units it was like the guilt came back. so i struggled for many years with it and doing instructor jobs even though i stayed in the marine corps, doing odds and ends that i would sign up for and like a lesser marine in some ways it started me on a downward spiral and
eventually that kind of thinking will eventually become something that is self-pity and you feel sorry for yourself and once you get to that point it will accelerate quickly. and then in those moments that you are talking about with the conclusion i thought about a lot of things and suffered how ben did and fighting for every last breath that he will fight for every impossible breath and that's when the last moments of their legacy of everything that they did it
just made me feel like now. you keep going and you will fight and keep going. >> are there things we have done since then to help? >> yes there is a lot of things and with plans example to get back into my faith and stop blaming god for me personally but whatever your faith is to get grounded making sure you are taking care of yourself in the heart mind and soul and we say in the marine corps there is no such thing as the next marine and reconnect that family this is helping exponentially because during the research
knowing how we reconnected to the entire platoon and now a couple that just annoy each other and staying connected. >> and you have done some guiding there as well? i imagine that was a tough interview as a writer were there things that you did to help herself through the writing of the dramatic story? >> absolutely. i'm not going to lie, he kept me up many nights as well and i still think about it and a lot of the previous stories i had the honor of helping others fill you think a lot
about then and jeremy of course but i think about a lot of what then did knowing his brother had already passed away and went back to multiple deployments, away from his family come away from tracy and was willing to do that and fought so hard while he was there and save so many lives just hours before he was shot. and then to battle so hard after he had been wounded for six days in the hospital and i think about his wife tracy m both flying to germany to be with him in his final moments and those are not things you can easily put it out of your mind if you don't want them to because it is a reminder for a civilian like me of someone
i've never met was willing to do to protect my family and other families like mine. >> you developed a friendship with this and your daughter was named in honor go can you talk about what that was like? was that trepidation is? what did you click instantly or did it feel that way? how to that progress? >> right away. we hit it off immediately. we had a couple of beers in oklahoma when we went down there we had known each other for years. we went to virginia, my home state and started off in northern virginia doing research and we went down to
virginia beach area and then you mentioned that nationals and not to get sidetracked with baseball bat we went to that game and it was a few months later that my wife and i learned she was pregnant but also that her daughter had down syndrome. one of the first people i called was below. he was right there for me every step of the way. and i will always be so grateful to him and i'm so honored and proud to call him a friend. >> are there questions he was still like to answer quickly as we wrap up? >> we found out so much i think we could probably have made the book 500 pages.
and like you said earlier the green berets and the seals all the contractors we get phone calls i don't have social media so anything coming from those outlets goes to tom but this guy reached out and we are still learning so much all the time i would not do it again. was cathartic and painful and rewarding. but we are rewarded each and every day we learn more every day as people reach out to us. i think i'm done asking questions for a while. [laughter] >> what is the response they've heard from people since the book has come out?
>> the response has been unbelievable and overwhelming we are so grateful that gold star families that i know and then other gold star families have reached out that the story means a lot to me and gives me a voice even though it's not about my loved ones and again there are people reaching out every day we did get to talk to when we are working on the book and in fact one of the guys who was with ben on the final fly in afghanistan giving him medical care reached out and pulled me what he did and said he would never forget plan and has always been paying for his family of course i relay that to you immediately so is such a special and overwhelming response and i think it is worth the family sacrifice.