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Alaska Beat

Navy Seal co-author of 'No Easy Day' grew up in Aniak, Alaska

  • Author: Craig Medred
  • Updated: September 27, 2016
  • Published August 26, 2012

Many are talking about Mark Owen, the Marine whose new book "No East Day: the Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden" is causing quite a stir. But few are getting the author's hometown right.

According to Alaska Public Radio, much of the media has reported that Mark Owen -- the pen name of Matt Bissonnette -- "hails from Wrangell" (Alaska) when, in fact, "Bissonnette grew up in (the) small western Alaska village" of Aniak.

The population of Aniak, Alaska is about 500. Like much of rural Alaska, the remote village is accessible only by boat, air or snowmachine. Situated on the banks of the Kuskokwim River, Aniak means "the place where it comes out" in the Native Alaskan language of Yup'ik. That's a reference to the where the Aniak River meets the Kuskokwim.

Bissonnett's parents moved from Aniak to Wrangell soon after their son graduated from high school in 1994. The 36 year-old is remembered fondly in his home community, according to the APRN report. He "played basketball at the local high school," was an "exceptional paint ball player" whose father, a local magistrate, would help "gather the local kids to play in the woods."

To read more about Bassonnett's upcoming book click here and for more from the APR story click here.

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