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Swords of Lightning: Green Beret Horse Soldiers and America's Response to 9/11

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The first-person account of how a small band of Green Berets used horses and laser-guided bombs to overthrow the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan after 9/11. They landed in a dust storm so thick the chopper pilot used dead reckoning and a guess to find the ground. Welcomed by a band of heavily armed militiamen, they climbed a mountain on horseback to meet the most feroci The first-person account of how a small band of Green Berets used horses and laser-guided bombs to overthrow the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan after 9/11. They landed in a dust storm so thick the chopper pilot used dead reckoning and a guess to find the ground. Welcomed by a band of heavily armed militiamen, they climbed a mountain on horseback to meet the most ferocious warlord in Asia. They plotted a war of nineteenth-century maneuvers against a twenty-first-century foe. They trekked through minefields, sometimes past the mangled bodies of local tribesmen who’d shared food with them hours before. They saved babies and treated fractures, sewed up wounded who’d been transported from the battlefield by donkey. They found their enemy hiding in thick bunkers, dodged bullets from machine-gun-laden pickup trucks, and survived mass rocket attacks from vintage Soviet-era launchers. They battled the Taliban while mediating blood feuds between rival allies. They fought with everything they had, from smart bombs to AK-47s.The men they helped called them brothers. Hollywood called them the Horse Soldiers. They called themselves Green Berets—Special Forces ODA 595.


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The first-person account of how a small band of Green Berets used horses and laser-guided bombs to overthrow the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan after 9/11. They landed in a dust storm so thick the chopper pilot used dead reckoning and a guess to find the ground. Welcomed by a band of heavily armed militiamen, they climbed a mountain on horseback to meet the most feroci The first-person account of how a small band of Green Berets used horses and laser-guided bombs to overthrow the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan after 9/11. They landed in a dust storm so thick the chopper pilot used dead reckoning and a guess to find the ground. Welcomed by a band of heavily armed militiamen, they climbed a mountain on horseback to meet the most ferocious warlord in Asia. They plotted a war of nineteenth-century maneuvers against a twenty-first-century foe. They trekked through minefields, sometimes past the mangled bodies of local tribesmen who’d shared food with them hours before. They saved babies and treated fractures, sewed up wounded who’d been transported from the battlefield by donkey. They found their enemy hiding in thick bunkers, dodged bullets from machine-gun-laden pickup trucks, and survived mass rocket attacks from vintage Soviet-era launchers. They battled the Taliban while mediating blood feuds between rival allies. They fought with everything they had, from smart bombs to AK-47s.The men they helped called them brothers. Hollywood called them the Horse Soldiers. They called themselves Green Berets—Special Forces ODA 595.

51 review for Swords of Lightning: Green Beret Horse Soldiers and America's Response to 9/11

  1. 5 out of 5

    Melynda

    In mid October 2001, I got a call from my on-again off-boyfriend of 9 years: He was headed down range in Afghanistan as part of an Special Forces ODA. I had expected as much - an 18B cross trained as an 18F who was also a HALO JM & combat dive supervisor, there was no where else he would want to be at that moment in time. When he returned to the states in October 2002 (we married 20 days later), he told me of the horse soldiers & their legendary feats. Over the years, I’ve read every book & seen In mid October 2001, I got a call from my on-again off-boyfriend of 9 years: He was headed down range in Afghanistan as part of an Special Forces ODA. I had expected as much - an 18B cross trained as an 18F who was also a HALO JM & combat dive supervisor, there was no where else he would want to be at that moment in time. When he returned to the states in October 2002 (we married 20 days later), he told me of the horse soldiers & their legendary feats. Over the years, I’ve read every book & seen every movie or tv show about ODA 595 & have wondered where were the Special Forces men I have known over the last 30 years in those tales? Where were the quiet, humble, unassuming operators tasked with a unique mission, men with unflinching courage that I’ve spent the majority of the last 30 years associating with? The other re-tellings, while interesting and exciting, lacked much of the fortitude, intelligence, and quick humor of the soccer dads & warriors I had come to admire and respect over three decades. We got a brief glimpse of them in the TV special “Legion of Brothers,” but not enough. I found them. They are in the pages of this book. This account of ODA 595’s time in Afghanistan is superbly told by the men who were there & is just as I would expect from a book authored by Special Forces soldiers. My only regret is I could only give it five stars because it deserves far more.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Kokesh

    Great read To finally know the truth of the horse soldiers was very gratifying. One can read between the lines and get a feel of what really happened at times. The book also highlighted how inept the U.S. Military can be at times.

  3. 4 out of 5

    James McVay

    Good story not well written I can tell this was written by Army personnel. I like the factual aspect but I did not care for how it was written. For non service members, the book is worth a read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    Excellent

  5. 4 out of 5

    Roger Stone

    A good story about some very good soldiers. A few too many typos for my liking: words and letters missing, mixed tenses. Also, a B52 has eight engines, not four (p28).

  6. 5 out of 5

    Henry J. Schultzel

  7. 5 out of 5

    Chaplain Steve Hubbard

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey Emanuel

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jean M. Head

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Halstead

  11. 4 out of 5

    Barbara MacIntosh

  12. 4 out of 5

    Matt

  13. 5 out of 5

    Martin R. Ufford

  14. 5 out of 5

    E

  15. 5 out of 5

    Alex

  16. 4 out of 5

    Allan J Folz

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Cherpeski

  18. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Englebretson

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rick O'Brien

  20. 4 out of 5

    Frieda Heckman

  21. 5 out of 5

    Renee Kabrich

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ford Stinson

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jerome

  24. 4 out of 5

    Michael Kovan

  25. 4 out of 5

    Allison Bernard

  26. 4 out of 5

    George

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jake

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lissa

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sally Bender

  30. 4 out of 5

    Genevieve

  31. 5 out of 5

    Liam

  32. 5 out of 5

    Loma

  33. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Snow

  34. 4 out of 5

    Roy

  35. 4 out of 5

    Steve

  36. 4 out of 5

    David Kuykendall

  37. 5 out of 5

    Adam El-nashaar

  38. 5 out of 5

    Jason

  39. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Overby

  40. 4 out of 5

    Shelbi

  41. 5 out of 5

    Elaine

  42. 5 out of 5

    RJ Addison

  43. 4 out of 5

    Madeline

  44. 5 out of 5

    Kim Hay

  45. 4 out of 5

    Pam Moffitt

  46. 4 out of 5

    Phil

  47. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

  48. 4 out of 5

    Chris Rohwedder

  49. 5 out of 5

    Jen

  50. 5 out of 5

    Jolene Oster

  51. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

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