12 Strong, Mark Nutsch Interview

Jan 28, 05:45 PM

12 Strong: The Declassified True Story of the Horse Soldiers) is a 2018 American war drama film directed by Nicolai Fuglsig and written by Ted Tally and Peter Craig. The film is based on Doug Stanton's non-fiction book Horse Soldiers, which tells the story of CIA paramilitary officers and U.S. Special Forces, in addition to USAF Combat Controllers, sent to Afghanistan immediately after the September 11 attacks. The film stars Chris Hemsworth, Michael Shannon, Michael Peña, Navid Negahban, Trevante Rhodes, Geoff Stults, Thad Luckinbill, William Fichtner, and Rob Riggle. Principal photography began in January 2017 in New Mexico. The film was released in the United States on January 19, 2018, in standard and IMAX theaters. It received mixed reviews from critics, who praised the cast and action but criticized the by-the-numbers execution and lack of hindsight of the War in Afghanistan.

The harrowing story of the first U.S. special forces mission in Afghanistan following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The following is the second part of an Army.mil exclusive three-part feature recounts the events of the Green Berets' first mission in Afghanistan, as they sought to destroy the Taliban regime and deny Al-Qaida sanctuary in that country. BOMB STRIKES One of the primary and most important functions of the Special Forces teams during the early days of Afghanistan operations was calling in air strikes, supported by combat controllers from Air Force Special Operations Command. The U.S. military had been bombing the Taliban for a couple of weeks, but in a land of caves and mountains and small villages, it was difficult to distinguish targets. To help level the field and give the resistance forces a chance, the U.S. had to get rid of those tanks, armored carriers and antiaircraft guns. Once they got on the ground, Soldiers identified enemy targets, and skilled Airmen called in those targets and quickly began picking off the Taliban and Al Qaeda. They also called for resupplies and humanitarian assistance drops. "The sole focus of that combat controller was to bring that air-to-ground interface, so to look for areas where we could establish an airhead, where we could land aircraft, where we could bring supplies where we could do airdrops," explained former combat controller and retired Chief Master Sgt. Calvin Markham, who received a Silver Star for the operation. "The other side of it was to bring that close air support expertise with our air traffic control background, having multiple stacks of aircraft … from fighters to bombers overhead," he said. "It annihilated the enemy," he continued, noting that the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom was the first time B52s had been used for close air support since the Vietnam War. "I think it really broke their will to fight. You kill 10, 15 enemy combatants on the battlefield at one time, I'm sure it's a devastating blow to them, but when you're talking about hundreds of enemy combatants losing their lives from one strike, it makes the other guys think about what they're doing and that maybe they should retreat." The success of the bomb strikes also encouraged other fighters, who were perhaps on the fence, to join the coalition. "We fought for about a month and a half to two months, constantly air attacks, air attacks, air attacks on all of the Taliban positions, until it got to a point where we moved forward and took their lines and they just kind of went back to the populace," said Master Sgt. Keith Gamble, then a weapons sergeant on ODA 585. "Once we started dropping bombs on the enemy, their [civilians] whole attitude changed," Gamble added. "They were loving us. A lot of (sodas) came out. A lot of really good food came out. We were their heroes." AN ERRANT STRIKE There were tragedies as well as successes. Fowers' team had a communications sergeant shot in the neck as they tried to advance across a heavily defended bridge. Then, the next day, Dec. 5, came one of the worst tragedie...