When Osee “Trey” Fagan came up with the idea for a book about fallen heroes, he had three goals in mind.Honor the fallen so they’re not forgotten. Find a way to support their families. Inspire the current and next generation of Marines.
After serving in the Marine Corps’ Force Reconnaissance and Marine Corps’ Forces Special Operations Command, MARSOC, Fagan said he felt compelled to start the project.
“I’m getting out and transitioning out of the military in a couple months,” said Fagan. “I felt like I still had something to give, something to honor the people in the community and the guys who died.”
The project is coming together as a book called “The Untold Stories of Valhalla,” which tells more than a dozen stories of service members who made the ultimate sacrifice.
The book will be a compilation of stories written by close friends of the fallen, with permission from their families. Stories about the fallen won’t just be about their roles as Marines, it will be about who they were as family men, friends and as individuals.
The mythological Valhalla is a place where heroes go who have died in combat to join their brothers in a glorious feast to celebrate their valor in combat, which is where the title of the book came from.
Veteran authors writing about their friends’ lives and their deaths had to be compelled to write their stories, said Fagan.
“You do it because you know at the end state, this product is going to honor them in the long run and it’s going to help their families for one and it’s going to be in good nature,” said Fagan.
For Joe Bell, an author in the book, it was therapeutic to tell his friend’s story.
“The story I’m writing, I’m so close to the person I’m writing about, that it’s easy to describe everything he meant to me and my family,” he said.
For Bell, the book means more than just telling stories.
“It’s important because the next generation of raiders need to know they’re just like these guys and they can be just like these guys and (the book) can give them something to emulate,” he said.
Bell said the book is also important to not only show the character and human side of the Marines, but to also put the Marine Corps in a good light.
Both Bell and Fagan said they hope the book will eventually make the Commandant’s Reading List, a selection of books the commandant of the Marine Corps puts out for Marines to read to improve their leadership and their well-roundedness as a marine.
“It would mean the effort of the authors and the Marines in the stories are worthy of note throughout the Marine Corps,” Bell said. “It would signify the sacrifice they made would mean something to the entire Marine Corps family.”
Profits from the book will support the families of the fallen. Donations and book sales will be evenly divided to provide support, said Fagan. According to Brothers In Arms, money from the project will go to quality of life initiatives for surviving spouses and children; grief counseling; educational and vocational scholarships; assistance with cost of living expenses for families suffering from economical hardships; and travel expenses associated with annual travel to/from memorial sites/ceremonies such as Arlington National Cemetery.
“Our goal is to raise $17,000 (needed to get the book published),” Fagan said. “Everything above that is going to go to support the families.”
Through this book, Fagan said he hopes to honor the fallen so they’re not forgotten, find a way to support their families, and inspire the current and next generation of Marines.
“It’s a labor of love because the stories (the authors) are writing about meant a lot to them,” Bell said. “It’s as much about us writing the book about these Marines as it is about the families who are going to hopefully read the book.”
For more information on the book or the Brothers In Arms Foundation, visit www.brothersinarmsfoundation.org/the-untold-stories-of-valhalla.