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Capt. "Sully" Sullenberger Gets Personal

Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger is best known for the "Miracle on the Hudson" - the Jan. 15 rescue, when he safely landed U.S. Airways flight 1549 in New York's Hudson River, saving all 155 people on board.

But who is "Sully"?

In a new book, Sullenberger tells all. He and his wife Lorrie have released "Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters," which details a before and after of the "Miracle on the Hudson" event, including their relationship and money troubles prior to that January day.

Read an Excerpt of "Highest Duty"

Sullenberger said on "The Early Show" the flight was a "life-changing event for everybody associated with it."

"I think part of what the book is about is trying to answer a question for myself: 'What was it about that event and the aftermath that made people feel the way they do about the event and about us?'"

As for Sullenberger and his wife, Lorrie said the event has changed the relationship dynamic. Lorrie, who was always the outgoing one, is seeing Sullenberger now have to open up and speak more often.

"It's definitely outside of his normal comfort zone to be that on and out there all the time," she said.

However, Sullenberger said he's also had to step away from being Capt. "Sully."

"There are times I shouldn't be Capt. Sully. I should be Lorrie's husband or I should be the girls' dad," he said. "And so that's the balance we're trying to find in our new lives. We're trying to find that right balance."

"Early Show" co-anchor Harry Smith noted that the book lays bare many personal details, such as Sullenberger's father's suicide, the Sullenbergers' battles with infertility, and adoption.

"This isn't just the hours of before this flight and what happened afterward," Smith said. "This really is your life story."

Sullenberger said the book is "very personal."

"I think part of is that I do feel like the way I live my life, the way I've chosen to live my life prepared me not only for that day, but for the aftermath," he said. "The words that mean the most to me are the words of gratitude from the passengers that day. But the words that mean the next most to me are from our colleagues, other airline pilots, all the airlines that tell me that they're grateful for what we were able to accomplish that day, and they thank us for helping to bring some respect back to the profession."

Sullenberger also wrote of how he lost 40 percent of his salary over the years, which contributed to the some financial strain prior to the Hudson landing. The couple was facing the possibility of having to sell their home in order to stay afloat.

"We were facing a lot of those struggles that everybody faces these days," Sullenberger said.

Lorrie added, "We wanted people to come up to Sully and say you're a hero, but really we're like everyone else in America. We're facing those same challenges, like a lot of other people. We're really very ordinary and normal. He was just in an extraordinary circumstance."

Smith pointed out that pilots bring their own lunches into the cockpit because they aren't supplied a meal anymore.

What does all of that - the atmosphere of flight travel today - cost the daily passenger?

Sullenberger said that's a question to consider as the industry goes forward.

"If we as a society do not value this profession sufficiently, will we be able to attract the best and the brightest - the people doing it now - or will it be somebody else?" he said. "I think that economics and safety ultimately are linked."

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