Zero Percent Chance: A Soldier’s Memoir & Tribute to the Heroes of Team Manbij by Major Jon Turnbull

“My family had a lifetime of service. My father is a civil servant, my grandfather was a police officer, my aunt my uncle were police officers.”
 
Major Jon Turnbull decided to join the army after graduating Gaylord High School in 2005.
From the moment he was able to raise his hand and swear to support the Constitution of the United States, Jon knew this was the right path for him.
 
“For me it was a dream come true. I wanted to do something for the people that I love, for the nation that has given us so much.”
 
And from there, his military journey was just beginning. Screen Shot 2021 11 30 At 63221 Pm
 
“I deployed once to Afghanistan, twice to Jordan, once to Lebanon, and then 2018 deployed to Iraq with a follow on assignment to Syria.”
 
During his deployment, Jon and his team were able to do some really incredible things.
 
“We enabled the system to allow girls to return to school after 7 years of prohibition from ISIS. About 4,000 girls returned to school on my watch. We helped rebuild a local hospital…We were able to put in equipment and then provide training for the hospital staff to double their capacity. My team was able to work with US AID again, to renovate a hydroelectric dam in a town called Tishreen. It restored power to about 450,000 people in Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Jordan.”
 
Then on January 16th 2019…
“After visiting one of the schools, we were able to go through and make sure they weren’t being harmed, nobody was trying to stop them from going to school.”
 
A day that changed Jon’s entire life. 
 
“We left the school and we were getting ready to leave when an ISIS suicide bomber ran up to my group and detonated his suicide vest, killing four of the most patriotic Americans I’ve ever met. Also wounding myself and two other Americans. Since January 16th of 2019 til now, I’ve had 22 life saving surgeries, and spent over 24 months in rehabilitation.”
Overcoming his emotional trauma…
 
“Physically, I am quite different than I used to be. Not being able to see, makes life much much different, much more difficult.” Screen Shot 2021 11 30 At 62920 Pm
 
Jon learned that his life could go one of two ways —
Negative and dwelling on the past, 
Or picking himself back up.
 
“You need to focus on positivity…Always remember to replace your negative emotions with positive ones so every time I have a negative one, I try to replace it with two positive ones. When you get knocked down, you’re not necessarily out, that you can either choose to accept that something can’t be done or you can overcome it and you can find a way to do it, no matter your situation, no matter your circumstances.”
 
The trajectory of Jon’s life has taken a turn,
Leading him to write ‘Zero Percent Chance’ — a memoir and true tribute to the heroes of Team Manbij.
 
“The book was written because of one absolutely wonderful lady, her name is Amina. She came to me one day…she sat down with me and she asked me one question, and this question still haunts me to the day and I’ll get choked up saying it…she said, ‘John why did my daughter die? And why are you here, and my daughter’s not?’ One other reason, why I did it, Special Forces Chief Warrant Officer on my team, his name is John Farmer, his wife sat down with their children and her youngest, her name is Priscila…asked me, ‘uncle John, where’s my daddy and can my daddy come home for Christmas this year?’ Like how do you answer that?”
 
These questions weighed on Jon’s conscience,Screen Shot 2021 11 30 At 63243 Pm
And this book was a way to answer them both…
 
“Writing it as a love story than anything else so I can be like Priscila let me tell you about your daddy and to Amina, rather than telling you why I survived and your daughter did not, let me tell you about how your daughter lived. I would like to, if it’s ok, just recite the names of the four teammates that I lost;
Chief Warrant Officer John Farmer, who left behind his wife and four beautiful children, Chief Warrant Officer Shannon Kent, who left behind her husband and two beautiful children, we had mister Scott Wirtz and miss Ghadir Taher also known as Jasmine so in honor of those, they are gone but not forgotten.”
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