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Authors: Rusty Bradley

Lions of Kandahar

BOOK: Lions of Kandahar
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Copyright © 2011 by Rusty Bradley
Maps copyright © 2011 by Travis Rightmeyer

All rights reserved.

Published in the United States by Bantam Books, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York.

B
ANTAM
B
OOKS
and the rooster colophon are registered trademarks of Random House, Inc.

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA

Bradley, Rusty.
Lions of Kandahar : the story of a fight against all odds / Rusty Bradley and Kevin Maurer.
p.  cm.
eISBN: 978-0-440-42345-4
1. Afghan War, 2001– —Campaigns—Afghanistan—Panjwa’i
(District). 2. Afghan War, 2001– —Commando operations. 3. Afghan
War, 2001– —Personal narratives, American. 4. Taliban. 5. Bradley,
Rusty. I. Maurer, Kevin. II. Title.
DS371.4123.P38B73 2011
958.104′742—dc22     2010053026

www.bantamdell.com

Jacket design by Marietta Anastassatos
Photograph: © Andrew Craft

v3.1

Dedicated to those few who live every day

like September 12, 2001

Contents
Glossary

Operation Medusa
September 2—September 17, 2006

AAF
 
 
Anti-Afghanistan Forces; also used to designate the Afghan Air Force
AC-130
 
 
gunship
ANA
 
 
Afghan National Army
ANP
 
 
Afghan National Police
API
 
 
armor-piercing incendiary rounds
AT4
 
 
disposable light anti-tank round
CAS
 
 
close air support
CCP
 
 
casualty collection point
CSM
 
 
command sergeant major
EOD
 
 
explosive ordnance detachment
ETT
 
 
embedded trainer with the Afghan Army
FBCB2
 
 
Force XXI Battle Command, Brigade and Below—navigation system and force tracker
FOB
 
 
forward operating base
GFC
 
 
ground force commander
GMV
 
 
truck
Goose
 
 
90-mm recoilless rifle
GSR
 
 
gunshot residue and explosives test
IED
 
 
improvised explosive device
IR
 
 
infrared
ISAF
 
 
International Security Assistance Force
JTAC
 
 
joint tactical aircraft controller
KAF
 
 
Kandahar Airfield
LAWS
 
 
Light Anti-Armor Weapons System
LZ
 
 
landing zone
MREs
 
 
Meals, Ready to Eat
NODS
 
 
night-vision device
PKM
 
 
Pulemyot Kalashnikova
, or Kalashnikov’s Machine Gun
PUC
 
 
personnel under confinement (prisoners)
QRF
 
 
quick reaction force
RPG
 
 
rocket-propelled grenade
TOC
 
 
tactical operations center
WIA
 
 
wounded in action

Key Afghan words

Amerkaianu Mushakas Kawatuna
    American Special Forces

badal
    blood feud, revenge

hamla
    attack

mesher
    a senior, elderly person

turan
    captain

wa sahib
    yes, sir

za
    go

Author’s Note

The most important challenge I faced in writing this book was trying to capture the significance of this event on paper and to articulate its magnitude for the reader. This book is not just about a series of intense firefights that stretched over days. It was the most strategically significant battle in Afghanistan that you never heard of, and its effects would have a direct impact in the War on Terror (WOT). What originated as a preplanned military operation designed by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to clear a known enemy sanctuary soon developed into a ferocious, pivotal engagement that would push untested NATO troops to the limit and cause the Taliban and its foreign fighters to completely change the way they confronted coalition forces. It was an all-out fight to hold the line against a resurgent enemy and a catalyst to a new understanding of what would be required as the United States and its allies continued to prosecute the war.

The initial phase of Operation Medusa raged for nearly two weeks in the late summer of 2006. This operation and its subsequent phases would eventually extend combat operations over the course of several months. My team was one of five that directly participated in all phases of the entire operation and was the primary element chosen to stay in the volatile Panjwayi district following the conclusion of
Operation Medusa. Designated as Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA) 331, my team was tasked to “clean out” the Taliban and foreign fighters, mitigate their influence, reinstate local, legitimate governance, and assist in the reconstruction and security of an underdeveloped urban area the size of Rhode Island. This Herculean task was given to ten men. Such are the fortunes of war, and that truth comes with a price.

This story is my recollection, to the best of my ability, of what my Special Forces team endured from August to September 2006. It is intended to be an honest portrayal of the trials Special Forces soldiers face in Afghanistan. The language and humor are genuine, if not necessarily for the weak, fainthearted, or politically correct. This project has no ulterior motives or hidden agenda and is in no way intended to cause controversy or to point fingers. It is simply a story of ordinary men who did extraordinary things in the face of overwhelming adversity.

BOOK: Lions of Kandahar
4.17Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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