ADDRESSES: Home—Southern CA. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Avon Books/HarperCollins, 10 East 53rd Street, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10022.
CAREER: Retired Navy SEAL and author. Designed Chalker TAC weapon sling. Military service: U.S. Navy Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL, command master chief, retired early 1990s. Previously U.S. Army paratrooper with 82nd Airborne Division.
(With Kevin Dockery) One Perfect Op: An Insider's Account of the Navy SEAL Special Warfare Teams, William Morrow (New York, NY), 2002.
(With Kevin Dockery) Hell Week: SEALS in Training, Avon Books (New York, NY), 2002.
SIDELIGHTS: Retired Command Master Chief Dennis Chalker, a former U.S. Navy SEAL (Sea, Land Air), has published several books revealing what it takes to become a member of this elite force. These works, written with military historian Kevin Dockery, tap more than twenty years of military experience. During the 1970s, Chalker served six years as a paratrooper in the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division. He briefly returned to civilian life before volunteering for the SEALs, stealth commando units renowned for their daring and expertise. As a member of SEAL Team Six, Chalker participated in antiterrorist assignments including covert action in Grenada. He later joined one of the newly formed Red Cell units, which attempt to breach security at American military bases by entering and departing such facilities without detection.
Chalker's first book, The United States Navy SEALs Workout Guide: The Exercise and Fitness Programs Based on the U.S. Navy SEALs and BUD/S Training, shows readers how they can attain top physical conditioning—if they can hack it. It offers nine-week and twelve-week training programs including warm-ups and cool-downs, calisthenics, tips on aerobic training, nutrition, and motivation, and exercises devised for different climates. Chalker also shares anecdotes from true-life SEALs about the special ops that tested their hard-earned stamina.
Chalker delves deeper into the SEALs with One Perfect Op: An Insider's Account of the Navy SEAL Special Warfare Teams. The title refers to what the SEALs call a "perfect op"—a mission completed without being discovered and without the firing of a single shot. Chalker describes carrying out a perfect op in 1992, one of many experiences that are veiled by the need to maintain secrecy. A notable exception to this rule was in his discussion of the 1983 invasion of Grenada, where several of his friends were killed. Other episodes show how SEALs face considerable danger outside of war zones, including injuries and fatalities during exercises and horseplay. Readers will also find that during Chalker's service the strategy, tactics, and doctrine of the Navy SEALs would be modified in response to a changing world.
One Perfect Op was called "a quick but accurate glimpse into the training and life of a navy SEAL" by Library Journal critic David M. Alperstein. Given the book's highly personal and detailed subject matter, a Publishers Weekly reviewer advised that it is perfect reading for "special ops buffs" and does not serve as a general history. One Perfect Op reveals Chalker to be a practical joker and, as a Kirkus Reviews critic wrote, "a super-bad macho dude devoted to deadly weapons, fighting, and his buddies on the team." Writing for Booklist, Gilbert Taylor noted the book's relevance in wartime, calling it "a timely, adventuresome, and interesting account."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, January 1, 2002, Gilbert Taylor, review of One Perfect Op: An Insider's Account of the Navy SEAL Special Warfare Teams, p. 781.
Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 2001, review of One Perfect Op, p. 1592.
Library Journal, February 15, 2002, David M. Alperstein, review of One Perfect Op, p. 164.
Publishers Weekly, December 3, 2001, review of One Perfect Op, p. 47.*