ALWAYS FAITHFUL: A Story of the War in Afghanistan, the Fall of Kabul, and the Unshakable Bond Between a Marine and an Interpreter

Thu, Aug 11th 2022, 6:00pm

Join the Pritzker Military Museum & Library and Chicago native, Major Tom Schueman, virtually on Thursday, August 11th at 6:00pm CDT for a conversation and discussion of Major Schueman’s new book, ALWAYS FAITHFUL: A Story of the War in Afghanistan, the Fall of Kabul, and the Unshakable Bond Between a Marine and an Interpreter.

Watch the livestream below:

In August of 2021, just days shy of the 20th anniversary of 9/11, America ended its longest war. The speed of the Afghanistan’s fall was so stunning that thousands of Afghan citizens who had helped American forces over the course of two decades—and had been promised visas in return—were suddenly stranded, in extreme, imminent danger. As the world watched the shocking scenes of desperation at the Kabul airport in the final two weeks of August, Maj. Tom Schueman fought—both behind the scenes and through a social media campaign—to get his friend and former Afghan interpreter, Zak, out of Afghanistan before he and his family were discovered by the Taliban. When Zak and his family finally took off from the airport mere days before the US left the country, the years-long effort to get Zak to America culminated in two simple words on Instagram: “Wheels up.”

Now in Always Faithful, Tom and Zak tell the full story of the divergent paths that led them to Afghanistan, the dangerous road they walked together in service to America, and how their commitment to each other ended up saving them both. Brilliantly told in Tom’s and Zak’s alternating first person voices, Always Faithful tracks the parallel lives of these two men who each spent their childhoods in fear, peril, and poverty, and turned to war in attempt to build a meaningful future. On an inevitable course towards each other, their lives dovetail in Afghanistan’s deadly Helmand Valley, where they formed a brotherhood that transcends even the most overwhelming of odds, eventually culminating in Zak’s harrowing, eleventh-hour rescue.

Major Thomas Schueman served in Afghanistan for 19 months, including on the single bloodiest deployment of the Afghan war as a platoon squad leader with the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines in the Helmand Province. Schueman was awarded a Purple Heart after he and others were ambushed in a field on Nov. 9, 2010. Schueman went on to get his masters in English Literature at Georgetown University, and currently teaches English literature at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, where he remains on active duty.

Major Schueman will be signing his books following the program. The book will be released August 9, 2022.