Alaskan's book, "Never Quit," tops Amazon list even before release

Published: Feb. 28, 2017 at 1:29 PM AKST
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"Never Quit" is the title of his new book, and friends of co-author Jimmy Settle say those two words sums up his life.

Settle, originally from Anchorage and now living in Washington state, is a former member of the Alaska Air National Guard 212th Pararescue Unit. He was awarded the Purple Heart after being wounded on a mission in Afghanistan in 2010.

Settle and other members of the unit were attempting to rescue six wounded soldiers when their helicopter came under fire.

Settle told KING-5 TV in Seattle, "I saw a dude in black with an AK-47, and I saw three muzzle flashes."

One of the bullets went through the bottom of the helicopter and shattered. The bullet fragments hit Settle in the forehead and lodged below the skin, just an inch from his eye.

Despite being wounded, Settle told medics to stitch over the bullet fragments. He returned to flying rescue missions the next day.

"I was pretty apprehensive going back in, but I did," Settle said. "I saddled up. It was what I wanted to do. It was why I was there."

Settle co-authored his book with UAA associate professor of English Don Reardon, who said, "He's a dynamo. He's just energy in a box."

Reardon says Settle's incredible story began long before the bullet hit him in Afghanistan.

According to Reardon, Settle was a star cross-country runner at West Anchorage High School. Then he was accepted to the U.S. Naval Academy where he also joined the track team. Reardon says Settle suffered a heart attack and had to drop out of the Academy.

"When I met him, he was working at Skinny Raven. I called him 'Shoe Guy,'" Reardon said. "His life had just taken this crazy trajectory from incredible Alaska runner, to running at the Naval Academy, to having a heart attack and being out of the Naval Academy and having his dreams dashed."

Reardon says Settle didn't give up and joined the Alaska Air National Guard.

"He just reinvented himself," Reardon said. "It's part of his life story - reinventing himself - and I wanted to help him tell that story."

The book has not been released yet, but it's already listed as a top new release on Settle credits that to filmmaker and HBO producer Casey Neistat.

The two men met and became friends in Afghanistan after Settle was wounded. Neistat posted a video about Settle's new book on YouTube on February 23, titled "Jimmy was Shot in the Head." The video has more than 1.6 million views; furthermore, pre-sales of the book took off.

Settle's book is scheduled for release on March 7. Reardon says Settle will return to Anchorage on March 18 for a "book launch" event at Anchorage Brewing Company and the public is invited to attend.

Additionally, Settle is scheduled to hold two other book signings, according to his

. On March 17 and 18, Settle says he will be at Anchorage's Barnes & Noble and Palmer's Fireside Books Alaska for book signings.