How an American Soldier Became an International Hero By Tom Sileo

Praise for Tom Sileo and I Have Your Back

“Tom Sileo continues his important mission of honoring the sacrifices of our American defenders in his
new book I Have Your Back, the remarkable true story of U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Michael Ollis who gave his
life to save a member of the Polish armed forces on August 28, 2013 while serving in Afghanistan. We
can never do enough to remember those who lay down their lives in defense of our freedom, and the
families left behind. Tom Sileo’s work is to be admired for his skill and appreciated for never letting us
forget the sacrifices of selfless Americans like Michael Ollis.”
-Gary Sinise, Award-winning actor, bestselling author of Grateful American and founder of the Gary

Sinise Foundation

“Staff Sergeant Michael Ollis made the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan one year after four of my friends
lost their lives in a suicide bombing. While I will always miss them, it is comforting to know that long
after our mission ended, fellow soldiers like Michael continued confronting the enemy and saving lives.
Michael’s final act of heroism embodied the Ranger creed that we both served and lived by: Rangers lead

the way!”

-Captain Flo Groberg, U.S. Army (Ret.). Medal of Honor recipient and author of 8 Seconds of Courage

In the early morning hours in Afghanistan on August 28, 2013, Staff Sergeant Michael Ollis gave of
himself in a way most of us could never imagine. An act of courage, and the greatest sacrifice one can
make, would prove to be an inspiration to all who knew him and fought alongside him.
Ever since he was a youngster, Ollis wanted to be like his soldier father, who fought valiantly in Vietnam.
His deep desire to serve in the military was hardened when on September 11, 2001, his beloved New
York City (born and raised on Staten Island) was attacked. From that tragic day on-ward his only goal
was to serve and to protect. Award-winning and bestselling author Tom Sileo captures the true heart
and soul of Michael Ollis in his new book, I HAVE YOUR BACK: How an American Soldier Became an
International Hero (St. Martin’s Press, On Sale Date June 4, 2024, $27.00).

In 2013, Staff Sergeant Ollis was serving with the 2 nd Battalion, 22 nd Infantry Regiment, 1 st Brigade
Combat Team, 10 th Mountain Division (Light). Following two tense combat deployments in the
mountains of Afghanistan, Ollis earned the U.S. Army’s Ranger tab. On August 28, however, Ollis and his
entire coalition military base, Forward Operating Base Ghazni, were caught in the middle of a major
Taliban assault. Though he was ordered to retreat, Ollis took up the fight. At that moment he
encountered a desperate Polish army officer, Lt. Karol Cierpica. Surrounded by enemy fighters, and
running low on ammunition, Ollis would not leave Cierpica’s side. He would have his back. His bravery
would cost the 24-year-old Ollis his life. A life given saving a man he didn’t know.
Posthumously, Ollis was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart,
and The Audie Murphy Medallion. Perhaps as equally distinguished as these honors from his own
country for his service, Ollis received the highest honor that the nation of Poland can bestow upon an
allied soldier: The War Order of Wojenny Virtuti Militari, the oldest military decoration in the world still
in use.
Today his spirit lives on in the SSG Ollis Freedom Foundation, founded in 2014 and based out of Staten
Island. As an American – and internationally honored – soldier, he proved he had all our backs. His spirit
also lives on with Lt. Karol Cierpica, or rather, with Cierpica’s young son, whom the Polish Lieutenant
named in honor of Michael Ollis at his birth in 2015. Tom Sileo’s powerful account of Ollis’ brave 24-year
journey will motivate all of us to “live like Mike,” and always put family, friends, and country first.

More praise for Tom Sileo and I Have Your Back

“I lost my two brothers in Afghanistan. After reading I HAVE YOUR BACK by Tom Sileo, I feel like I’ve lost
a third. Staff Sgt. Michael Ollis embodied everything my brothers stood for: family, faith, service and
sacrifice. We must never forget heroes like Michael, Jeremy, Ben and thousands more who gave all to
keep us safe.”
-Sgt. Beau Wise, U.S. Marine Corp (Ret.), Afghanistan combat veteran, Gold Star brother and co-author
of Three Wise Men
“Some people search their entire lives to find greater purpose, questioning ‘Why am I here?’ Staff
Sergeant Michael Ollis did not have a single doubt that he was put on this earth to serve his country.
Emboldened by the tragedy of 9/11 and the effects it had upon his hometown of Staten Island, Ollis set
his sights on the United States Army, determined to make his family and friends proud as he defended
our nation. Along the way, he made an immeasurable impact on every life he touched. His spirit and
immense sacrifice have been memorialized by his family through the SSG Michael Ollis Freedom
Foundation, returning each year to New Dorp to honor his life in the neighborhood where it all began,
with the Annual SSG Ollis 5K. Though his life was tragically cut short, SSG Ollis serves as a pillar of
heroism and patriotism as readers follow his story from humble beginnings in the street of Staten Island,
to his final act of service as he made the ultimate sacrifice.”

-Frank Siller, Chairman/CEO of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation

About The Author: Tom Sileo has authored or co-authored six military non-fiction books about heroes
of America’s post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Among those titles is Three Wise Men; Tom’s
widely praised 2021 collaboration with combat veteran and Gold Star brother Beau Wise. Tom is a
contributing senior editor of The Stream and a recipient of the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation’s
General Oliver P. Smith Award for distinguished reporting. He is a graduate of Rutgers University and
lives in Delray Beach, Florida.

How an American Soldier Became an International Hero
By Tom Sileo
St. Martin’s Press
On Sale 6/4/24
256 pages plus one 16-page color photo insert
ISBN # 9781250286116
$27.00 USD

For additional materials and to arrange an interview with Mr. Sileo, please contact Joe Rinaldi,
Associate Director of Publicity, St. Martin’s Press, C 917 232 7497; E

Praise for Tom Sileo and Three Wise Men

“It’s a great book. Highly recommended.”
-Jake Tapper, CNN
“It’s an important story that everyone needs to hear.”
-Anderson Cooper, CNN
“This is what Memorial Day is about.”
-Martha Raddatz, ABC News
“In this unforgettable narrative, we follow the close-knit Wise brothers, all of whom heard the call to
serve and answered it…The book opens with a somber tone, at Jeremy’s funeral…a consistently
absorbing story of the 9/11 generation and of America’s response to global terror, a topic still relevant
-Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Please follow and like us:

By admin