Alvin Townley
Author, Adventurer, and Senior Fellow, U.S. Naval Academy

Best-selling New York Times-reviewed author Alvin Townley has traveled the world to discover inspiring stories of leadership, adventure, purpose, and character.

He has trekked into South Sudan, dived on the Great Barrier Reef, visited the infamous Hanoi Hilton, and landed on three aircraft carriers in three oceans. He has discussed life and leadership with such leaders as Michael Bloomberg, Justice Stephen Breyer, Apollo 13‘s Jim Lovell, J.W. Marriott, Condoleezza Rice, Unbroken‘s Louie Zamperini, Navy SEALs, entrepreneurs, and countless others.

His five nationally acclaimed books (Legacy of HonorSpirit of AdventureFly NavyDefiant, and Captured) have been published by St. Martin’s Press and Scholastic. Glowing reviews have come from The New York Times (“Gripping”), Peyton Manning (“Compelling”), Jimmy Carter (“Unforgettable”), John McCain (“Riveting”), and others. Defiant earned Alvin a Georgia Author of the Year Award.

He has been invited to speak at hundreds of venues including The White House, U.S. Capitol, Delta Air Lines, the University of Virginia, and the U.S. Air Force, Military, and Naval Academies. He has appeared on CNN, FOX, and NPR, and was part of the Emmy Award-winning team behind the film Jeremiah.

In 2022, he received a distinguished appointment as Senior Leadership Fellow at the U.S. Naval Academy and has previously worked in the U.S. House of Representatives; managed global strategy for an 85,000-person, $10B international firm; and led external affairs for the nation’s third-largest arts center. He is also founding executive director of the SkillPointe Foundation.

An Eagle Scout, NCAA athlete, and graduate of Washington & Lee University, Alvin speaks often about subjects he holds dear, including character, perseverance, and citizenship. He has spoken with youth and adults in nearly every state and traveled around the world three times. He lives with his family in Atlanta.

He speaks widely all over the country to clients and venues such as The White House, United States Congress, CHUBB, The Coca-Cola Company, Cushman & Wakefield, Delta Air Lines, Emory University, Goizueta Business School, The Home Depot, Merrill Lynch, National Infantry Museum, National Naval Aviation Museum, Norfolk Academy, UBS, U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, and University of Virginia, Darden School of Business.


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Defiant The POWs Who Endured Vietnam’s Most Infamous Prison, the Women Who Fought for Them, and the One Who Never Returned
Thomas Dunne Books

A powerful story of survival and triumph, Alvin Townley's Defiant will inspire anyone wondering how courage, faith, and brotherhood can endure even in the darkest of situations.

Fly Navy
Discovering the Extraordinary People and Enduring Spirit of Naval Aviation
Thomas Dunne Books

Top Gun was only part of the story. Fly Navy delves beyond the Hollywood image to reveal the true mettle and genuine story of the elite men and women of naval aviation.

Trade Paperback
Spirit of Adventure
Eagle Scouts and the Making of America's Future
St. Martin's Griffin/Thomas Dunne Books

An extraordinary journey alongside America's new generation of Eagle Scouts, who are discovering their purpose and bringing the values of Scouting to the world.

Legacy of Honor
The Values and Influence of America's Eagle Scouts
Thomas Dunne Books

Over the past century, America's Eagle Scouts have earned a reputation for service, virtue, and leadership that is recognized throughout the world. But few people realize the full extent to which Eagle Scouts have made a mark on American history. They have served as astronauts, soldiers, politicians, and businessmen, but they have also been the fathers, brothers, Scoutmasters, coaches, and other role models who have played an integral part in American life.

The POW Homecoming at 50: Inspiration and Lessons for Today Fifty years ago, hundreds of U.S. prisoners of war returned home from Vietnam after up to eight years in brutal captivity. They survived their ordeal and emerged resilient through brilliant vision and communication, leadership, perseverance, and unity. On the home front, the wives of these POWs faced their own unexpected ordeal. Housewives became heroines as these wives ultimately rose up against government inaction to bring home their husbands. The POWs and their families relied on the same concepts and character that we need today as individuals and as a country. With his appointment as Senior Leadership Fellow at the United States Naval Academy, Alvin is uniquely positioned to tell this story.
Defiant Leadership Dynamic organizations and people often defy trends, and to be successful, they need to lead during difficult times, relying on the clarity of their vision, their ability to communicate it, and their ability to inspire great teams to concerted action.
Honoring Veterans At a recent tribute to veteran, Alvin had more than 200 people on their feet, applauding for more than 60 seconds, welcoming home the veterans in the audience – none of whom had dry eyes when the ovation ended. Alvin uses his youth and the powerful story in Defiant to honor and welcome home all our military servicemen and women.
Being Defiant We all face challenges in life, faith, sports, missions, or business – and we often must defy taking the easy road. We must make tough choices and stand by them, knowing we will triumph in the end. The story of America’s POWs illustrates this like few other examples and nobody tells that story like Alvin Townley.
Living Your Adventure A world traveler and veteran of expeditions to Africa, Pacific coral reefs, Cascades peaks, and Caribbean seas, Alvin understands the idea of adventure outdoors. But as an entrepreneur-author who left a corporate job to pursue a new mission, he speaks to the broader idea of adventure – following your dreams and living your passions.

"Your presentation by itself was incredibly well received by the audience. Together they were the highlight of a very special event.”
--General Carmen Cavezza, Chairman, National Infantry Museum

“In a Capitol Hill banquet room full of Members of Congress and special guests, Alvin Townley shined. He made the audience laugh then held their breathless attention as he delivered a powerful message about our Vietnam POWs, their inspiring example, and the character of our veterans and our great nation.”
--Congressman Pete Sessions

“The program he delivered,along with former POW Admiral Bob Shumaker, was among the best rated programs we've had, scoring 97 out of 100. Alvin is a gifted storyteller and speaker and I recommend him without reservation to any audience interested a compelling story of how courage, devotion, and faith can triumph even in the darkest of times.”
--Robert Balentine, President, Atlanta Rotary Club and CEO of Balentine LLC

“Both he and his lecture connected with the audience and the Darden School is sincerely grateful for his visit and discussion of “Defiant Leadership.” We look forward to his return!”
--John MacFarlane, Trustee, UVA Darden School of Business Foundation

“A rapt audience, including the first 4-star female general and a former Army Chief of Staff were “all ears” as Alvin Townley recounted vivid stories from Defiant. The material and the delivery made a powerful combination, and the level of questioning showed quality audience involvement in the evening’s presentation.”
--Jim Ferman, Chairman, Ferman Automotive Group

“He has written a great book and he gives a wonderful uplifting presentation that everyone should see.”
--General Duane Thiessen, CEO, National Naval Aviation Museum Foundation