Norfolk, Va. (NNS) -- Fox News correspondent Oliver North visited USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) (HST) May 14 to visit with Sailors whose stories of faith during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) were chronicled in a newly released book.
The spiritual side of Sailors' lives is the focus of "A Greater Freedom: Stories of Faith from Operation Iraqi Freedom."
Nearly half the book is comprised of faith-based stories from Sailors aboard HST. North, a former Marine Corps officer and veteran of conflict himself, edited the piece.
"It's so rare to see anything dedicated to the people of faith, those who are actually practicing their religious beliefs in the midst of what can be great turmoil," said Command Chaplain Cmdr. Doyle Dunn, from Cleveland, Tenn. "You don't leave your faith behind when you're living in the Navy and serving your country. It remains a part of your life and becomes a very natural expression of who you are and what you do."
During OIF, writer Sara Horn and photographer Jim Veneman of The Baptist Press spent time aboard HST learning about the Sailors' spirituality. Their stories were meant for a religious online journal, but they soon received much wider acclaim.
"It was about two or three months after the war ended that we got notice the Library of Congress had read the online stories and took an interest in them," Dunn explained. They decided to archive those stories permanently in the Library of Congress, which was a huge honor. Then it was another six months before we found out that Oliver North was interested in compiling those stories, plus others from Iraq, into an actual hardback book."
Horn and Veneman recently returned to HST to autograph books and visit with the Sailors who had inspired them through their stories of faith. Along with North, they met with HST Sailors and thanked them for sharing their experiences and for serving America. However, many of the Sailors spotlighted in the book said they needed no thanks.
"It was a privilege for me to be involved," said Chief Disbursing Clerk (SW/AW) Nancy McNeil of Cook, Minn., who sees her involvement in the book as part of a legacy she will leave for her children.
"It was great to be a part of the history that my sons will one day study. I specifically like the idea that this book is about faith. They will have it long after I'm gone, and there will be no doubt about what I stood for," said McNeil.
For related news, visit the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn75.