Char Fontan Westfall has experienced one of the most significant losses a human being can endure: the death of a loved one during a military deployment. Her Navy SEAL husband, Jacques, died on June 28th, 2005, as part of a SOF quick reaction force in Afghanistan responding to a call for help from four of his SEAL brothers on the ground. The scene in which his helicopter was shot down was a memorable part of the 2013 film Lone Survivor.

Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Jacques Fontan. Image Credit: Char Fontan Westfall

Char’s story is one of resilience and survival. Although the events we talked about occurred over 17 years ago, I could tell they were still quite fresh in her memory and not incredibly easy to talk about. The raw emotion is still there, and we thank her for sharing her story with the SOFREP community. It’s never easy to talk about things like this.

She has also shared her story with the world in the form of a book, A Beautiful Tragedy: A Navy SEAL Widow’s Permission to Grieve and a Prescription for Hope, published in 2020. As I remarked to Char during our talk, this is one of the most universally praised books that I have ever encountered. Her story boosts people up; it gives them hope. It makes them think, “If she can get through that, I can get through my rough times as well.”  It fully earns its 4.9 out of 5 stars rating on Amazon. 

Prepare to be inspired. I hope you enjoy reading the SOFEP interview with Char Fontan Westfall as much as I did talking to her.