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Col. Nick Rowe: Long-Ago Conversations With a Special Forces Legend

by Susan Katz Keating “There’s a certain sound…” The song stuck with him for years afterwards. He was being marched to his execution in the jungles of Vietnam, and had been ordered to carry a radio to pick up “Radio Hanoi,” but he secretly dialed in to a station that …

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The Sands of Agadez: Where a Woman Knows More Than She Should About Gun Lords and Mercenaries

by Carl Hancocks For the past four years, the city of Agadez has been what could barely pass as home for a woman without a name. Nigerian, she fends for herself as a sex-worker, but that was not how she arrived in this place. Her story is that of a …

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‘The Mother’: A Soldier’s Haunting Encounter in Iraq

by Cliff Wade Iraq, 2006 We found ourselves in the home of an Iraqi family during a massive clearing operation in an area characterized by terrain varying between urban landscape, farmland, palm groves, and small villages. We had been clearing routes of improvised explosive devices all morning. We had been …

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George Washington Bacon, the CIA’s Man in Laos Before He Became a Merc in Angola

Editor’s note: Longtime CIA covert operations officer James Parker Jr. often talked to me about his days in Southeast Asia, including the secret war in Laos. He told stories of another case officer and former Green Beret, George Washington Bacon III, who became a mercenary in Angola. Here is an …

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Soviet Soldiers Boiled Their Ammunition While Serving in Afghanistan

The recipe was simple: make a fire; boil water in any metal container at hand; put the ammo in the boiling water; and cook for four to five hours. by Nikolay Shevchenko During the Soviet war in Afghanistan, Russian soldiers were often seen boiling their ammo for hours in a …

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On Desperate Ground: Mad Dog Platoon and the Battle of OP Nevada

by Susan Katz Keating The Ninth Situation of War, when you must fight without delay, is Desperate Ground – Sun Tzu “Watson. Wake up. Woods. Everyone. Wake the hell up.” The sentinels raced through the lean-to, alerting the team with urgent news: the Taliban were at the wire. Hours earlier, Sgt. …

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Alone Against the Taliban: Mad Dog Platoon and the Battle of OP Nevada

by Susan Katz Keating The Soviets called it Chernaya Gora: Black Mountain. That is where a unit of elite Spetsnaz forces met their deaths in Afghanistan, atop a remote observation post overlooking Kunar. I learned about the treacherous place in 2015, while researching an article for the Army National Guard.  …

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‘I Miss the Battlefield’: A Warrior Longs for the Clarity of Combat

by Jim Lechner Editor’s note: Army Ranger (Ret) Jim Lechner wrote the following hymn to comradeship and patriotism – an essay that reverberates among those who long for the lost clarity of war. A veteran of multiple Special Operations missions, Lechner was wounded in the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu in …

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