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Book highlights ‘Single Shot Warriors’

By Staff | Nov 5, 2011

The story of a Cape Coral soldier who was killed while serving overseas is spotlighted in a recently published book about snipers in the military.

“Sniper: American Single-Shot Warriors in Iraq and Afghanistan,” co-authored by Gina Cavallaro and Matt Larsen, is a collection of stories from soldiers and Marines who have fought in the wars overseas since 2001.

In a chapter called “Shots not taken,” a soldier recalls the death of Capt. Daniel Eggers, 28. Eggers, a Green Beret and detachment commander in the Special Forces and Citadel graduate, was killed in Afghanistan in May 2004.

He and two others died when their vehicle hit an IED near Kandahar.

Sgt. 1st Class Jason – he did not want his last named used in the book – and Eggers were close friends who had trained together, Cavallaro explained.

Days before Eggers’ death, they were clearing a village and looking for high-value targets when some men ran into the hills. Jason, a sniper, had one man in his sights who looked suspicious but was unarmed, so he could not shoot.

“Rules of engagement didn’t allow him to take that shot,” she said.

In another village a few days later, Eggers’ vehicle hit the IED. Cavallaro explained that they later learned that the man who had run was involved.

“Jason will always have that doubt,” she said. “If he had taken that shot, would Danny have died?”

A book signing for “Sniper: American Single-Shot Warriors in Iraq and Afghanistan” will be held Saturday at 2 p.m. at One For the Books in the Cape. Eggers’ family, who suggested holding the event, will be on hand.

Margaret Eggers, the mother of Eggers, explained that it was her hope to showcase Cavallaro’s work and promote one of the local bookstores.

“I think the book is all about just capturing all the experiences of all of these men that do this particular job,” she said. “It’s going to give the reader some insight into what all of these men are all about and what drives them.”

Margaret said her son loved what he was doing and firmly believed in it.

She added that he had a lot of stories to tell.

“I remember one time him smiling and saying, ‘When I’m an old man I’m going to have these stories to tell and no one’s going to believe them’ – just the fact that they would be so incredible,” she said. “Reading the book may kind of tie all that together.”

There are more than 25 snipers from both the Marines and the Army mentioned in the book, and the stories highlight what Cavallaro referred to as one of the most dangerous jobs on the battlefield – that of a sniper.

Snipers overseas may go out in small teams, stay out for days conducting reconnaissance alone or be part of an assault team stationed on a roof.

“The responsibilities have changed to an urban assault sniper, as well as a long-shot guy on a hill,” she said.

Cavallaro tried to pick stories that when published together would offer readers the widest possible perspective into the world of today’s snipers.

“I stuck with the full stories that I thought would be the most interesting,” she added.

As a war correspondent for the Army Times and Marine Corps, Cavallaro also pulled from her time spent in the combat zone overseas from 2003 to now.

When Cavallaro first started her research for the book, the snipers were “squirrely” about talking to her. She explained that many of them refused to talk to her because they did not want the public to scrutinize what they do.

“Some of that is because some of what they do is very targeted, it’s very personal,” Cavallaro added. “It’s different to look through a scope of a rifle and target a person (to shoot and kill).”

As they learned about the project, though, it ended up “snowballing.”

“They actually started to contact me,” she said.

As for the idea behind the book, Cavallaro was approached about it.

“I didn’t think I had it in me,” she said of her initial reaction to writing it.

But Cavallaro soon changed her mind.

“Because I think more stories need to be told through the eyes of the men and women (serving overseas),” she said. “Everyone has an experience when they put their boots on the ground in the war zone.”

Cavallaro would like to write more books in the future that focus on other specific military professions overseas, such as EMTs and truck drivers.

“I think there’s a hunger for more people’s experience down range, and I’m hungry to tell those stories,” she said.

One For the Book is at 3810 Del Prado Blvd. S.