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Two of the grittiest, most intense tales of courage and camaraderie under fire that I own are Black Hawk Down and Lone Survivor. Now I have a third: Outlaw Platoon. It’s the Black Hawk Down for the 21st Century. It is an absolutely gripping, edge-of-your-seat ride that follows these men when the fates foolishly attempt to stack the deck against them. This book has Hollywood blockbuster written all over it. But there’s much more than just the guns-blazing action. It is an epic tale of leadership, heroism, and the bond among warriors who ply their deadly trade with a deceivingly simple mandate—to kill the enemy and return home together alive. It’s an absolute must read!Brad Thor Interviews Sean Parnell
Brad Thor: What was your first day like on the ground in Afghanistan’s eastern frontier?
Sean Parnell: The moment I arrived at Forward Operating Base Bermel, the insurgents attacked the base with rocket fire. They missed the FOB, but hit a local village, killing and wounding a number of children. The villagers rushed their injured to our front gate, and I ran to help. Our troops wanted to help all of the children, but the Afghan fathers insisted the boys be treated first. I grabbed a little girl anyways and sprinted for the aid station. She bled out in my arms as I ran.
That was my introduction to combat. All I was, all I had been, changed in that instant.
Thor: What surprised you about the enemy in Afghanistan?
Parnell: We found an enemy that wasn’t a bunch of farmers with leftover weapons, but one of the finest light infantry forces in the world. These fighters were brilliantly led, seasoned warriors. Some had spent their entire lives in combat—stretching back to the Soviet War in the 1980’s. They were elusive, heavily armed and extremely well equipped with the latest armor-piercing bullets, anti-tank weapons, body armor, and other gear essential to ground operations.
They also had no mercy. None. Their objective was to overrun an American platoon, behead everyone and stick our heads on stakes. In battle, we heard them on the radio ordering their teams to do this, and we saw the huge knives they carried for the task.
They did their best to overrun us three times. But we were better. Just barely.
Thor: Describe the bond forged in battle—the loyalty and bravery you saw and why you think that’s vital to success.
Parnell: During my 16 months in combat I saw the noblest aspects of the human spirit, thanks to the bond that developed among the men. We realized that the only way we could survive this crucible was to remain committed to each other. Not for ourselves, but to ensure that we would survive to see our loved ones back home again.
Thor: How would you describe the men in your platoon?
Parnell: In a word: unique. Our army mirrors the country it’s sworn to protect, and I think the Outlaws reflected America’s greatest strength: diversity. My men came from all walks of life. They believed in American exceptionalism with every fiber of their being. And if they were similar in any way, it was in this ideal.
This book took me right back to Afghanistan, where I worked from 2011-2012. I appreciate the leadership lessons the author described.Published 2 days ago by Sherri A. Holliday
Excellent story of military experiences by an actual platoon in AfghanistanPublished 2 days ago by jerold saltz
Read it in one day, not because I am a fast reader either. It is that good, could not put it down.Published 3 days ago by Christian G
Well written and very good at putting you in the midst of each engagement as if you were a participant .Published 3 days ago by Richard C Welch
Exciting from the start. This book gives a tremendous insight into the routine of one platoon in Afganistan over the course of one year. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Knight85
Well written. Thank you for your service to our nation. In spite of having to go to combat with your hands tie behind your back and jumping on one foot, you guys do an outstanding... Read morePublished 6 days ago by BobH
I have read many military historical books. I have always regretted not joining the military for the reason of proving the worth of myself. Read morePublished 7 days ago by marty moose
What distinguishes this book from others that deal with similar subject matter is the attention that is paid to the relationships between the members of Outlaw Platoon. Read morePublished 10 days ago by KMat21