Norwich University officials announced that Michael "Zak" Franzak is the 2012 William E. Colby Award winner for his book A Nightmare's Prayer (Threshold Editions, 2010), the first Afghanistan memoir ever to be published by a Marine Harrier pilot.
Named for the late Ambassador and former CIA Director William E. Colby, the Colby Award recognizes a first work of fiction or non-fiction that has made a significant contribution to the public’s understanding of intelligence operations, military history or international affairs.
“Michael Franzak’s A Nightmare’s Prayer was chosen for the Colby Award because it is the most compelling and vivid book yet written about aerial warfare in Afghanistan,” said author W.E.B. Griffin, a member of the Colby selection committee. “The author’s superbly written account of how a Marine airman answered the call to duty would make the late Bill Colby proud of the high quality of the recognition given annually in his name.”
A $5,000 author honorarium is provided through a grant from Chicago-based Tawani Foundation. The award and honorarium will be presented at Norwich University by Carlo D’Este during the 2012 Colby Military Writers’ Symposium at the Meet the Authors Dinner on April 12, 2012.
Franzak is a recently retired lieutenant colonel who served as an AV-8B Marine Corps Harrier pilot in Afghanistan. He lives in Raleigh, NC with his wife, son and daughter. Franzak received the Distinguished Flying Cross for actions in Afghanistan.
A Nightmare’s Prayer portrays the realities of war in the twenty-first century, taking a unique and powerful perspective on combat in Afghanistan as told by Franzak, a former enlisted man turned officer.
Franzak was an AV-8B Marine Corps Harrier pilot who served as executive officer of VMA-513, "The Flying Nightmares," while deployed in Afghanistan from 2002 to 2003. The squadron was the first to base Harriers at Bagram Air Base in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Franzak compellingly depicts the air war in Afghanistan as seen from the cockpit of a combat aircraft. It is also the story of how a dedicated aviator and his colleagues coped with a forgotten war half a world away from home.
The William E. Colby Award was originated at Norwich University in 1999. Ambassador Colby authored two important books, Lost Victory: A Firsthand Account of America’s Involvement in Vietnam and Honorable Men - My Life in the CIA. He was a decorated World War II veteran who served with the OSS in World War II and later with the CIA. From 1951–1962, Colby served with the American Embassies in Stockholm, Rome, and Saigon. He was Ambassador and Deputy to the Commander of the U.S. Military Assistance Command Vietnam from 1968 to 1971. Colby served as Director of the CIA from 1973-76. In honor of his commitment to Norwich University and the symposium, the program was named The William E. Colby Military Writers’ Symposium in 1997. The 2012 Symposium will take place April 11-12.
Previous recipients of the Colby Award include James Bradley, Nathanial Fick, Colonel Jack Jacobs (Ret.), Dexter Filkins, Marcus Lutrell, John Glusman and Karl Marlantes.
Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Captain Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army. Norwich University is the oldest private military college in the United States of America and the birthplace of our nation's Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). www.norwich.edu
ABOUT TAWANI FOUNDATION
Founded by COL (IL) J. N. Pritzker, IL ARNG (Retired), Tawani Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) grant-making organization whose mission is: to enhance the awareness and understanding of the importance of the Citizen Soldier; to preserve unique sites of significance to American and military history; to foster health and wellness projects for improved quality of life; and to honor the service of military personnel, past, present and future, through an awards program that includes the JROTC/ROTC Award for Military Excellence, the William E. Colby Award and the Pritzker Military Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing.