By Kelley Carlson
When former U.S. Navy SEAL Sniper Course Manager Brandon Webb decided to write his latest book, he had a mission: to have his young children understand why he had been away and to one day read about his experiences.
The memoir, “The Red Circle,” details Webb’s ventures that led him to becoming a Navy SEAL and his eventual work designing post-9/11 sniper training courses. It also covers his transition to life as a private entrepreneur.
While Webb has lived in the San Diego area for the last 15 years, he originally hails from Canada. At age 7, his family moved to the United States, and they resided on a boat in Ventura Harbor.
When he was 16, Webb was involved in a fight with his father and thrown out of the “house” — a small vessel anchored off Tahiti. His 6,000-mile journey back to California — which he accomplished without a driver’s license — helped lay the foundation for his successful military career.
In 1993, Webb joined the Navy, where he initially served as an Aviation Warfare Systems Operator and Search and Rescue Swimmer. He went on to complete Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL training with class 215.
Brought to Coronado as a SEAL in 1997, Webb was involved in combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. After his last deployment with SEAL Team Three, he worked at the Naval Special Warfare Group One Sniper Cell.
Webb said that during this time, he and some other SEALs were approached about helping to revamp the sniper program to “bring it into the 21st century.”
For Webb, it eventually became a full-time job, and he took over as head instructor of the sniper course at the end of 2003.
More than 300 SEAL sniper students graduated from Webb’s three-month-long course. One of them was Chris Kyle, the most decorated sniper in USSOCOM (U.S. Special Operations Command) with more than 250 confirmed kills. Another of Webb’s trainees was Marcus Luttrell, lone survivor among the dozen SEALs who were a part of the ill-fated Operation Red Wings in Afghanistan in 2005.
The following year, Webb’s career with the Navy came to a close, and for a short period, he performed contract work with an intelligence agency in Iraq.
But after spending large amounts of time away from his family for years, Webb decided a change was in order.
“My first son was born ... while I was chasing bad guys in caves in Afghanistan,” Webb said. “It was time for me to spend time with my family.”
With his own entrepreneurial parents as an inspiration, Webb chose to attend business classes through The Business Professional Course. It was there that he discovered he had a knack for writing and he could better express himself. “I found I was good at it,” Webb said.
He gained experience as a contributing editor for Military.com, and then merged his business and literary skills into SOFREP.com, or Special Operations Forces Situation Report, where he currently serves as editor in chief. The site launched Feb. 1, and contains up-to-date information about the Special Operations community.
Among the features at SOFREP.com is an online show titled “Inside the Team Room,” which debuted April 19. Each episode lasts five to 10 minutes, and presents interviews with historical and modern-day Special Operations heroes.
Before heading his own website, Webb decided to give book writing a shot. Two years ago, he co-wrote “The 21st Century Sniper” with Glen Doherty, a technical publication that provides tips and basic training required for aspiring marksmen.
His most recent book, “The Red Circle,” was released on April 10, and debuted on the New York Times’ bestseller list in its first week. According to Webb, his desire to write it was inspired by Randy Pausch’s “The Last Lecture,” a speech about achieving childhood dreams, which later became a book. Although Pausch had been diagnosed with terminal cancer shortly before the lecture, he focused on living and overcoming obstacles. “I saw how powerful of a message it was,” Webb said.
It was one he wanted to pass on to his family, relating with his own experiences as a SEAL.
“This is my first real serious literary foray,” Webb said.
The author is already hard at work on two more books: one focusing on business, the other discussing the best sniper schools in the world. Of course, the SEALs are at the top, Webb noted.
Furthermore, Webb recently established the Red Circle Foundation, in which proceeds from fundraisers and donations go to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation and the Navy SEAL Foundation. For more information about Webb, go to www.brandontylerwebb.com. Webb will discuss his career and the inspiration behind the book from 6 to 8 p.m. May 18 at a private residence in Rancho Santa Fe, as part of the Rancho Santa Fe Library Guild’s spring author talks. While these events are for RSF Library Guild members only, it is easy to become a member of the Library Guild. Go to www.rsflibraryguild.org, call (858) 756-4780, or press “like” on Facebook and follow the link.