The Mission, The Men, and Me: Lessons from a Former Delta Force Commander

( 58 )

Overview

He survived combat zones around the globe. Now this ex-Delta Force warrior tells civilians what he's learned.

As a commander of Delta Force-the most elite counter-terrorist organization in the world-Pete Blaber took part in some of the most dangerous, controversial, and significant military and political events of our time. Now he takes his intimate knowledge of warfare-and the heart, mind, and spirit it takes to win-and moves his focus from ...

See more details below
Paperback
$14.05
BN.com price
(Save 12%)$16.00 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (13) from $5.86   
  • New (6) from $9.01   
  • Used (7) from $5.86   
The Mission, The Men, and Me: Lessons from a Former Delta Force Commander

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$12.99
BN.com price

Overview

He survived combat zones around the globe. Now this ex-Delta Force warrior tells civilians what he's learned.

As a commander of Delta Force-the most elite counter-terrorist organization in the world-Pete Blaber took part in some of the most dangerous, controversial, and significant military and political events of our time. Now he takes his intimate knowledge of warfare-and the heart, mind, and spirit it takes to win-and moves his focus from the combat zone to civilian life.

With each mission, from extreme physical and mental training to the darkest of shadow ops in Colombia, Somalia, Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq, Blaber returned with a powerful life lesson-lessons readers can use to achieve more, win more, and live more. As the smoke clears from exciting stories about never-before-revealed missions executed all over the globe, people will emerge wiser, more capable, and more ready for life's personal victories than they ever thought possible.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425236574
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/7/2010
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 154,064
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Pete Blaber commanded at every level of Delta Force, executing vital missions across the globe including destroying the largest pocket of Al Qaeda forces to date, and helping to hasten the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq. He lives in Santa Monica, California.
Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

1. How I Got Here: Patterns of Hindsight

How do we end up doing what we do in life? How do we become what we become? How did we get where we are today? At some point in our lives, we all ask ourselves these questions. Of course, there’s no single, causal explanation or answer, but by looking back through the pattern-revealing lens of hindsight, we can recognize some of the defining activities, experiences, ideas, and opportunities that ultimately shaped our paths. History reveals patterns, and patterns reveal life.

I was born and raised in Oak Park, Illinois. My parents gave birth to nine children. Yes, we were of Irish-Catholic descent (it’s the first question most people ask when they hear nine kids).

Built in 1896, the house I grew up in is the same house my mother lives in today. With four boys and five girls, life had its share of unique idiosyncrasies. Food was always scarce. We considered bologna a delicacy, and when there were actually a few slices left, they were usually hidden be-hind or under something else in the refrigerator—familial Darwinism at work. Although the house had six bedrooms, all four boys slept in the same room. My mother locked us in at night to keep us from going downstairs and raiding the kitchen. To get the extra rations I was sure I needed, I started climbing out the window, crawling across the roof, hanging off the gutters, and dropping to the ground, where I’d then reenter the house through a basement window I had left open before going to bed.

My brothers and sisters would probably say that my greatest talent as a kid was finding things. My parents ran a tight ship. When one of my siblings gained possession of something my parents thought inappropriate, such as my sister’s low-cut hip-hugger pants, my older brother’s Doors album, or my younger brother’s BB gun, my parents confiscated the “offensive” items and stashed them away in the types of places where no one, including my parents, would ever look again. Inevitably my siblings would turn to me for the recovery operation. My process was elementary. The size, shape, and composition of what I was looking for were key. A BB gun required a rifle’s length of rigid hiding space volume; a Doors album a long, thin slot; while my sister’s pants could be squished away almost anyplace. I’d always imagine where I would hide the object if I were my parents (up high and out of reach from my little brother, odd and unexpected compartments for my sister’s stuff, etc). I knew every nook and cranny in the house, so if a dresser or a box in the closet were askew, it was a surefire clue that I was getting hot. Nothing was out of bounds as a hiding place: inside TV sets, behind dresser drawers, on top of the furnace in the basement. I never failed in a finding mission—ever! Helping my brothers and sisters find their stuff was cool, but it wasn’t what jazzed me; I thrived on the thrill of the hunt.

I’ve come to believe that within the heart of every boy lies the seed of a warrior. Even a boy born and raised in a bubble with no exposure to TV or toys will occasionally chew his toast into the shape of a gun, or stealthily roll his bubble across the room to sneak up on his mom. The degree to which the warrior seed grows and flourishes is dependent on the life experiences in which it’s nurtured. For me, there was one seminal experience that I first took part in at the age of seven. It wasn’t the Boy Scouts. It was “bombing cars.”

For me and my friends, bombing cars had nothing to do with trying to scare people or damage their property. Instead, it was our way of imbibing what I have since come to know as “the warrior’s cocktail” (the thrill of the hunt mixed with the thrill of the chase).

To get the best possible chases, the types that would challenge our ability to run, dodge, evade, and outsmart, we were picky. We picked our bombing positions with great care to ensure we always achieved surprise. Houses surrounded by thick evergreen trees or juniper bushes were our favorites. We threw snowballs only at cars driven by men—the younger and the more, the better. Back then, there was a high price to pay if you got caught. You either got the crap kicked out of you and your face washed with snow on the spot, or you were dragged off to the police station and locked up until your parents came to get you—my claim to fame was that I never got caught.

At times, our numbers would swell to upward of fifty kids, some-times heaving more than fifty frozen projectiles; on those days we called it carpet-bombing cars. Before we’d start bombing, I’d gather the younger kids around—most of whom were pretty scared—and share what we called the golden rules of bombing.

“Be prepared. Know how all the gate latches open and shut, and remember who has dogs in their yards. Pull your hat up high so there’s nothing blocking your vision and your ability to see what’s going on around you.

“When the chase starts, stay flexible. We can run anywhere we want—we’re kids, they’re not. Change directions a lot: the more you stay out of his sights, the less he’ll want to keep chasing you. If the snow is fresh, don’t ever hide—your footprints will lead him right on top of you.

“If you can’t outrun ’em, you gotta outsmart ’em. If the guy is about to catch you, slow down a bit, then drop to the ground in a ball and he’ll trip over you and go flying into the snow. If you get caught, start bawling your eyes out, and tell ’em you were just walking home from school and some older kids told you to start running. If all else fails, just stick with me. I’ll make sure you get away.”

More than any other activity in my youth, bombing cars was the experience that allowed my warrior seed to grow and thrive, while also arming me with a mind-set full of options as both the hunter and the hunted.

High school was sort of a halcyonic blur for me. I spent most of my time hanging out with my friends, playing sports, or just plain ol’ having fun. I ran cross-country and played ice hockey, dual-purpose handrails that kept me out of trouble and in great physical condition. I listened to a lot of Led Zeppelin, and babysat for my neighbors to make my kicking-around money. Although there aren’t many things I’d change about my adolescent years, there was one event during my senior year of high school that, if given the opportunity at the time, I definitely would have requested a do-over.

A few months before graduation, a girl who was a neighbor of mine told me that if I were to ask her friend to my prom, her friend would definitely say yes. I was totally psyched. I had yet to attend a single dance in four years of high school, and this would be my last chance. I had had a crush on her friend for a long time, but had never been able to get my nerve up to ask her out on a date. Now, with the threat of rejection greatly minimized, I figured I might just be able to close the deal. While walking home from school that day, I mentally rehearsed the words I’d use when I called her on the phone later that evening. I was the king of dialing six numbers, then hanging up the receiver—this was not going to be easy. Lost in my hypothetical phone conversation, I didn’t notice the jacked-up Dodge Charger jump the curb and skid to a stop on the perfectly manicured lawn a few feet away. “Kashmir” by Led Zeppelin was blaring from the Bose in the back. Three of my friends jumped out and surrounded me. They were fired up about something. “Wait until you hear what we got planned for prom night,” Billy Pappas, a fuzzy-haired Greek kid who loved to drink beer, announced. A keg of beer? A live band at the party afterward? I wondered. Billy didn’t wait for my answer. “For all those suckers going to the dance, this is gonna go down as the greatest prank in school history!”

“Wait a minute, Billy. Aren’t you going to the prom with your girl-friend?” I asked in disbelief. “No way,” he replied. “This will be much more fun!”

“Come on, Pete, we can’t pull it off without you,” they all chimed in together. I didn’t say anything. “Without you we’re sure to get caught; we need you, man.” Ego has a powerful pull on all humans, but on a male teenager, it’s enslaving. As they explained the “plan” to me, I don’t remember if it ever seemed like much of a good idea or even like much of a good time, but they acted like they really needed me. I wasn’t thinking in terms of the last dance, or the girl, who was probably at home that very minute waiting for my call. All I thought about was how much my buddies admired my talents as an escape artist, and how throwing my hat in with them gave me an easy way out of having to step up to the plate to actually dial that seventh number.

The day of the dance, we pooled our dollars and change together and bought a case of beer and a bushel of ripe tomatoes. With the tomatoes and beers divvied up among us, the four of us settled into position, hidden in a thick tangle of juniper bushes that blanketed the corner house one block down the street from the high school. There we sat for the next two hours, waiting for what the plan predicted would be a parade of buses loaded with prom couples on their way to the dance. We whiled away the hours by guzzling our beer and talking about how stupid all the other guys were for actually going to the prom and missing out on all this “fun.” The air lay heavy with the stench of piss and pine. Finally, a single orange school bus rumbled down the street toward our ambush position.

Completely tanked, all four of us lurched out of the bushes hooting and hollering like deranged savages. Each of us heaved five or six tomatoes in a manner completely commensurate with the effects of downing five or six beers. I don’t believe a single tomato so much as grazed the bus—I can vouch for all of mine. Standing on the edge of the street in the warm spring twilight of my senior year, I remember staring at a couple who were sitting in the back of the bus, lost in each other’s arms, and completely oblivious to me and the tomatoes I had just hurled. Police sirens screamed in the distance; someone had called the cops.

What had I done? I wondered. I turned aside my last best chance to go to a high school dance for what had to be the lamest prank that I had ever participated in. Down the street, two of my buddies stood silently, mirror images of me, but not Billy. He was out in the middle of the street in a full-up purple rage, screaming at the top of his lungs, “Screw you, Cindy!” while flipping the bird like a spear at the now distant school bus. That’s when it hit me. It all made sense.

The prank was all about revenge against his girlfriend, whom he had broken up with a couple of weeks earlier. To pull off the prank, and—perhaps just as important—to help pay for the beers, he needed me and my buddies.

I’d been duped. I should have seen it coming. I could feel the giant L forming on my forehead. I felt like a total loser.

“Hey, guys, the cops are coming. Follow me.” I turned and sprinted into a nearby alley. Three hours and many miles later, the cops gave up. Thanks to the chase, and the fact that all of us got away, my buddies considered it the greatest prank of all time. Not me. Most of us can remember the name of the person we went to the senior prom with. I can only remember the name of the girl I never asked.

The silver lining of my heartfelt regret was that the incident precipitated a lifelong quest to better understand why I sometimes made such chowderheaded decisions. I never wanted that giant L to form on my forehead again. I also had one more mistake to add to my lifelong résumé of mistakes, the curriculum vitae for all wisdom and knowledge.

After high school, I attended Southern Illinois University (SIU), in Carbondale, Illinois. I chose SIU not because of academics, or special curricula, or even because it was in Illinois. I chose SIU, because it was in the middle of the Shawnee National Forest. The 275,000 acres of the Shawnee National Forest lie in the rough, unglaciated wilderness region of southern Illinois between the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. I fell in love with the area on my first visit to the school. Over the next four years, the forest maintained a powerful pull on my scholastic psyche. I spent most weekends hiking with friends into the forest’s roughest and least explored recesses. The names of these places—Panthers’ Den, Giant City, Trail of Tears, and Devils’ Kitchen—were accurate indicators of both their inaccessibility and the wilderness hazards they presented.

In those days, SIU was most famous for its Mardi Gras–like Halloween party. Tens of thousands of students would flock to SIU each year for the festivities. The town encouraged the melee by closing Main Street and allowing the elaborately costumed revelers to party and riot until they literally dropped. The costume was a big deal; you weren’t just supposed to wear it, you were expected to become it. Pirates, whores, vampires, and gangsters. I noticed that the costume one chose was in many cases, a good indicator of some defining slice of the costume-wearer’s personality.

I dressed up as the same thing every year, a commando. I didn’t know much about what a commando was. Inside my untainted nonmilitary mind, I perceived a commando as a hybrid of James Bond and a Spartan warrior. My predilection for impersonating a commando had nothing to do with guns or blowing things up—though I definitely thought those were cool, too; rather, it was the intrigue behind the role that completely enraptured me. Specifically, what I considered the tools of the commando trade—disguises, deception, and diversions, all used in the name of out-smarting an adversary. With each successive year that I dressed up and immersed myself in the role, I felt more and more certain that I was find-ing my path.

During my second year, I went with friends to our school’s down-town movie theater to see the twin billing of The Deer Hunter and Apocalypse Now. I was mesmerized. It wasn’t the music, or missiles, or even the moxie that captivated me. Instead, it was the futility of the way we fought the war and the objects of that futility, the brave men who had to do the fighting. The two movies piqued my interest in the Vietnam War. My newfound curiosity motivated me to do something that all of my academic courses had previously failed to do; I became a regular at the university library.

Sitting at the same table in the rarely visited periodical archives section each night, I spent weeks scouring thick black binders full of old issues of Life magazine. I read every Vietnam story, but the pictures had the biggest impact on me. I had lots of questions, so I sought out and talked with some Vietnam veterans who were teaching at the school at the time. They shared many of their perspectives with me, and the more I heard, the more frustrated I became. I was generally frustrated because as hard as it was for me to admit at the time, I realized that my country lost the war. I was specifically frustrated because the more I learned about the decisions made by various leaders during the war, the more I became certain that it was the decisions, not the enemy, that caused us to lose. How could so many seemingly bright, intelligent people in our government have made so many bad decisions? From Kennedy and McNamara through Nixon and Westmoreland, the decisions they made concerning everything from how we got involved to how we actually fought the war completely perplexed me.

I wondered why we didn’t create a guerrilla army to fight the Viet Cong instead of spending billions to create a Westernized version of a conventional army that neither fit the culture of the South Vietnamese nor the enemy adversaries they were trying to defeat. When I looked at the combat pictures in Life, I wondered why our military forces traveled in such large, lumbering groups instead of splitting up into small teams to give them greater agility. Why did they fly helicopters every-where, announcing their locations and intentions to the enemy wherever they went? Why didn’t they stay in the jungle, instead of going back to their base camps all the time? To defeat the enemy, why didn’t we fight like the enemy?

Although it would be many years until I felt comfortable admitting it, I began to grow a deeply seated operational respect for the Viet Cong. They were always light and agile. They carried and wore only what they needed for the mission: a tube of rice, an AK-47, a few magazines of am-munition, and loose-fitting, dark pajamas. They seemed to have a what-ever-it-takes attitude toward combat operations. They massed only when required, and they usually fought in small groups of as few as two or three men. When things got too hot, they melted back into the jungle to fight again another day. They were nimble.

The American history course I was taking at the time offered a field trip to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to tour the famous Civil War battle-field of the same name. Initially I wasn’t interested—after all, what could I learn from walking across a bunch of cornfields and talking about a battle and a war that happened more than a hundred years earlier? A few days later, while walking on campus, I ran into one of the Vietnam veterans I had recently befriended. I asked him what he thought about visiting Gettysburg. “If you want to learn about what went wrong in Vietnam,” he responded sagely, “you can find the answer at Gettysburg.” Then he turned around and walked away. That was all he had to say about that. Curious to discover the meaning of his orphic response, I signed up for the trip later that day.

At Gettysburg, our group conducted an interactive tour of the battlefield. Walking across the heavily wooded hills and gently rolling corn-fields, our guide explained the tactical significance of each of the major engagements. The most striking was the spot in the middle of the battle-field where the notorious Pickett’s Charge took place. General Robert E. Lee, the commanding general of the South, ordered General George Pickett and fifteen thousand of his men to march in a box formation across a mile-long stretch of open cornfields and conduct a head-on assault against the front-line forces of the Union Army. The Union forces were ensconced behind a four-foot-high stone wall on top of a panoramic hill. As I stood in the middle of the cornfield and stared up at the hill and the wall, only one thought came to mind: How could they have done this to their men? I could not understand how General Lee and his subordinate generals, such as Pickett, could have been so monumentally reckless with the lives of their men. Our tour guide told us that one of the Southern generals—James Longstreet—seemed to recognize the insanity of the head-on assault when it was first discussed, but instead of falling on his proverbial sword and doing the right thing for his boys, he capitulated to the divine exhortations of General Lee. “It is God’s will,” Lee continuously reassured his subordinate officers. Half of the men who started Pickett’s notorious suicide charge ended up killed, or injured. They died for the cause, but they were killed by their own leaders. Of course, the Southern officers had no corner on the recklessness market in the Civil War—the Union Army sent their men to equally unthinkable deaths at Manassas and Fredericksburg, to name but two.

On the bus ride home from Gettysburg, I wondered why both sides fought the war the way they fought it. Why did they organize the way they did—fighting in rank-and-file (box) formations, and always in the open? Why not just create small teams of men who infiltrate at night and find openings in the other side’s defenses? And why not use trees and terrain for cover while shooting at the enemy? It all seemed like common sense to me. Maybe that’s what the Vietnam veteran meant when he told me that Gettysburg would help me understand what went wrong in Vietnam. The way both wars were fought defied explanation, because the decisions made around the way they were fought defied common sense. The pattern of poor operational decision-making and senseless sacrifice of good men’s lives that defined Gettysburg, other Civil War battles, and Vietnam would stay tucked away in a special corner of my mind throughout my military career, and remain there to this day.

A few months later, in April 1980, an event occurred that had a coagulating effect on all of my previous life experiences. While whiling away time between classes in the SIU Student Center, a news flash interrupted the program on the big-screen TV. The newscaster reported that the United States had just conducted an abortive hostage rescue mission in the desert of Iran.

In the days that followed, the details of what became known as the Desert One Hostage Rescue Mission were revealed to the nation. Planned and executed under the utmost secrecy, eight helicopters, six C-130 trans-port planes, and ninety-three Delta Force commandos secretly infiltrated Iran to conduct the hostage rescue mission. The plan was to rendezvous in the middle of the desert at a place called Desert One, fly on helicopters to another point called Desert Two, and then storm the American embassy in Tehran and bring home the U.S. hostages. But Delta Force never made it to Desert Two or Tehran. The mission was aborted after three of the eight helicopters developed mechanical problems on the way to Desert One. The mission ended in disaster when one of the helicopters that did make it to Desert One collided with a transport plane while refueling on the desert floor. Eight American warriors died in the inferno that followed. The hostages would remain in captivity for another eight months.

For the United States, the operation was a monumental failure. Follow-up congressional investigations revealed a surprising level of negligence by the government agencies and military leaders involved. Specifically noted were three major deficiencies: (1) the way the mission was planned and the overly complex plan it produced; (2) the overdependence on the use of ill-equipped helicopters and their ill-trained pilots; (3) and an overemphasis on operational secrecy among military leaders, which prevented them from sharing mission-critical information with each other.1

The failed Iranian hostage rescue mission was a Rubicon moment for me. The awareness that brave men had risked and given their lives in an attempt to save fellow Americans caused me to reflect for the first time on my own life. I realized what a great life I actually had, and how fortunate I was to have all the freedoms and opportunities of growing up and living my life in the United States. I also felt equal parts of embarrassment and frustration. Embarrassment that my country had failed such a crucial mission on the world stage and frustration with the way the military planned and executed the mission, which essentially doomed it to failure before it ever got under way.

Once again I asked myself how so many seemingly bright people could make so many bad decisions. I didn’t watch the TV news again for almost a month. Instead, I went on a lot of long runs to contemplate what my life was all about, and how I might somehow be able to make a contribution for the greater good. I was, at that point in my college career, an accomplished marathon runner and triathlete. I spent most of my time out-side the classroom running, swimming, and biking through the rolling hills and forest trails of southern Illinois. Within a few weeks I knew what I needed to do.

I wanted to pay something back to my country; I wanted to make a contribution. I decided to join the military. Three years later, after completing the requirements for my bachelor’s degree and attending graduate school, I signed up to join the army and attend Officer Candidate School. When my recruiter, a senior army noncommissioned officer, asked me what motivated me to join the army, I told him I wanted to make sure that the United States never again failed in an important mission, and to make sure that good men would never again die due to bad decision-making. Al-though it probably sounded a bit corny at the time, I added “my goal is to save lives, not take lives.” He responded by asking me if I was interested in joining the Army Medical Corps. “No,” I told him with great officiousness. “I want to join Delta Force.”

I wanted to participate in the most sensitive and complex missions our country would face. I wanted to operate as a hybrid of James Bond and a Spartan warrior. I wanted to make a contribution; I joined the military to become an officer in Delta Force.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 58 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(40)

4 Star

(14)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 58 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2008

    This is a common sense purchase! You must buy this book if you care about leadership!

    I just finished this book and I can tell you that I was extremely impressed. Not only is Pete Blaber an American Hero, he is a leader. His stories are amazing, they make perfect sense to the lessons he shares in this book. I highly recommend this book to anyone in a leadership position!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 21, 2011

    Awesome

    Col. Blaber's insights into combat and leadership are invaluable and should be read by all leaders, both military and civilian.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 20, 2011

    Wow!

    This was a great book, nearly impossible to put it down! If you want to gain a new perspective about leading in any situation (or just looking for a book to enjoy), this is a must. It is highly entertaining and overall a very delightful read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2008

    Wow...is that how it's done?

    That one could put such complex concepts into such simple and straightforward terms and not make it seem as if they were pandering is amazing. In fact, there are some who say it can¿t be done. I have never seen them in action, in fact I think the Special Forces motto, ¿¿words not deeds¿¿ was greatly reinforced by this outstanding book.<BR/>I am going to take the lessons I have learned from this book and use them to craft my own life story. It is important to remember that the hardest lessons are rarely learned first hand and this book has shown how one persons experience can be shared by others for the good of all. <BR/>To say Pete Blaber has served at the epicenter of American special forces operations during the post 9/11 military engagements is neither fair to the engagements or to Pete himself. He was there and more. How he ever found himself working for the "the largest biotechnology company in the world" is as amazing as the story of his exploits in a command post in Somalia.<BR/>We are lucky to have people like Pete Blaber, doing what they do today! Without them, this world might be something much different. Without them, better would only be so much more of the same, so much more of what everyone else is doing. We need him, and those like him, because without stories of what they have done our lives would be so much less of the lowness of what they are.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2008

    Insightful reading for the "warrior" in all of us

    ¿The Mission, The Men, and Me¿ is the most insightful book I've read on the topic of leadership and decision-making. The beauty of Pete¿s guiding principles is in their simplicity. They just make sense and are easy to apply in everyday life. Pete uses operational and training anecdotes alike to develop these guiding principles and this reader found the stories as fascinating as the lessons learned. Not only does Pete educate us on leadership fundamentals, but gives us a glimpse into the normally clandestine operations of the most elite counterterrorism unit in the world.<BR/><BR/>In my opinion, this book should be required reading for anyone whose sights are set on Executive Management. As a graduate of a top business school, I wish I had read this book prior to re-entering the work force. Simply put, it should be part of the curriculum at business schools nationwide. The guiding principles in this book will help you avoid pitfalls, build trust and earn respect putting you on the path to success.<BR/>A must read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 17, 2008

    A Must Buy Book From a True American Hero

    Pete Blaber's book, "The Mission, The Men, and Me", should be required reading for the Harvard Business School and businesses around the world. His intelligence, insight and lessons in his life have transcended his military missions into his personal life. He stuck to his principles, learned from his mistakes and always kept an open mind which gave him the ability to adjust and adapt to almost any situation. From the very beginning, this book grabs you like Luca Brasi and doesn't let you go. It's like a great movie the ones you keep thinking about it long after you've left the theatre. He is a true Warrior in every sense of the word. Thank you Pete for your sacrifices, dedication and leadership, you helped kept us safe at night. <BR/><BR/>I knew Pete when we were younger, he was a born leader. I use to be one of the guys from the old neighborhood he use to bomb cars with. I remember afterword our arms would be so tired and sore, it felt like we just pitched a complete game that went into extra innings.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 16, 2013

    Pete Blabber talks about his personal life¿s lesson while operat

    Pete Blabber talks about his personal life’s lesson while operating in Delta Force, which is the most elite military organization in the world. His experiences and motivation pushed him into situations that made him smarter, more resilient and the type of leader whom people respect and seek guidance from. These lessons demonstrated to the reader that competence and leadership are achieved through personal experience, education, and the internal motivation towards excellence. The author Pete Blabber set the introduction during the initial invasion into Iraq in 2003. He is a professional Soldier and loves his job. This operation puts him in a volatile environment where almost every situation is a life or death decision. He is a warrior, proud of who he is and what he stands for. Pete places the reader back in time and began with where he was raised. He was fortunate enough to learn, grow and thrive under two loving parents and a very large family. Pete then progresses us forward chronologically explaining the driving forces which got him where he is now by explaining his significant lessons of life. There were many events in Pete’s life that changed his behavior and thought process. His motivation towards excellence enabled him to gain the confidence from his siblings to accomplish tasks they could not complete themselves. This motivation continued to nurture his abilities to think, learn and adapt to different situations helping him provide leadership to his friends and peers. Although Pete had these abilities, his maturity level had not yet given him a direction in life and still made mistakes. His errors continued to improve his ability to make the right decision and eliminate, “such chowderheaded decisions” The author’s personal military history addiction during college provided him his epiphany, which gave him direction and purpose. His internal calling to serve his country guided him to the decision of joining the Army, “to become an Officer in Delta Force” Pete’s decision will give him the opportunity to lead Soldiers and make the best decisions possible, while protecting Soldiers and the people that surrounded them. His self-education on military history introduced him to Veterans that he could draw knowledge and personal views. These interactions taught him that no matter what, he should focus on “the mission, the men, and me” This single phrase will assist him in making decisions in the best interest of everyone for the rest of his life. The story continued to provide insight on how a professional inside a profession can continue to learn and thrive. Pete immersed you into many military operations and continued to explain many lessons and insight from his perspective. He furthered to grow and excel within his environment taking the fight to his enemy by learning from his mistakes and making his opponent pay for their mistakes. Many people drift through life trying to figure out what they want to do. Pete showed us everyone can excel. Everyone must be resilient, dedicated, and never quit on their self improvement cycle. Achieving success can only be done by reflecting on personal experiences, continued education, maintaining motivation, and trusting your leaders, peers, subordinates, family, and friends to assist you in making the right decisions. If every individual can utilize all the assets available to them, they can improve themselves, their environment and achieve any goals that are set for themselves.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2012

    Amazing story and lessons

    Peter Blaber did an amazing job with this book it has powerful insightsbto the war on terror and how to combat it

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 18, 2011

    Great insights!

    This should be mandatory reading for all military leaders, from squad size elements on up. What a great peak into the mind of a leader! His philosophies should be adopted and put into practice in all aspects of decision making.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 26, 2011

    A must read for all new military leaders!

    Pete Blaber disguises important leadership and life lessons as a story of exciting (Special Operations Command) military history. Through the retelling of his movie quality military experiences, Pete Blaber draws out guiding principles that he learned and presents them to the reader. These principles, presented in this way lead to a powerful and exciting read. All new junior military leaders should read this book before leading Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen or Marines. In addition, senior military leaders should review this book from time to time to ensure they do not violate the principles Pete Blaber provides.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2011

    Valuable Leadership Information

    Information that can be readily applied to Leadership in any venue. If you are a leader of people, it provides basic, really practical guidelines that you can use. This is not just for the military; it is for people in charge.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 17, 2010

    Excellent

    Appropriate for business, warfare, as well as your personal life, Pete Blaber shares the principles for sucess that he learned as comander of the world's most elite counterterrorist team: Delta Force.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Pete Blaber has done a great job with this book; factual, well written and expresses a position many have taken but were afraid to publicly state.

    This book opens up many other questions about the war on terror, the way it was conducted from day one, the methods and tactics so long out of date. Useful deployment of troops has always been the job of the generals with ratification of the politicos. The unfortunate part is that many politicians know so very little about sending troops in harm's way or on useful military campaigns. It is high time that field tactics be altered to depend on the men on the ground, NOT from thousands of miles away in a secure bunker! For nearly 20 years, occupants of the White House have done great harm to the efforts of the military by: cutting funds for equipment, calling shots from Washington, DC and or downright relegation of the military to second or third rate citizens! Standing on an aircraft carrier offshore of Florida implying fat at sea, announcing mission results when it had hardly begun, throwing million dollar cruise missiles at an unseen enemy, is the height of stupidity! Enjoy this book......it touches on some revelations not before spoken. Many good, qualified officer and senior non-coms have left in disgust and disappointment seeing the changes in this nation's handling of it's armed forces. It is a wonder that young people still strive to make the military a career.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 25, 2009

    Insight to the warrior

    This is a great book to understand some of the insight of how men move beyond the ordinary and do extra ordinary things.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 28, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Awesome Insight!!

    As a former member of special operations, I can definetly relate to a lot of things in this book. However, the author brings "the average joe" in to the "black ops" community without giving too much away. A definite choice to give to your friends or your boss.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2009

    Pete Blaber is a modern Sun Tzu

    I first learned of Pete Blaber while reading Sean Naylor's book, "Not a Good Day to Die". My reaction was hoping Blaber would write a book. Well Pete did and it is first class. Pete's background includes a Masters in Business, a stint at the War College and served as a top pick for the Secretary of Defense Corporate Fellows Program in 2004. All these experiences allow Pete to write an extraordinary book I consider a companion read to Sun Tzu. Like "The Art of War", Pete's book should be considered essential for modern day business leaders. Petes' leadership comes through clearly as he uses personal experiences from missions and field problems to highlight a path of wisdom we can follow toward excellence regardless of our chosen career be it business, military or even in everyday life. I've quoted his book several times in my workplace and I come off looking like a genius! Recounting his story about the gorilla outfit makes people stop and consider if we are doing business the same old way or is there something we can do different to reach a new level of organizational achievement. I view (military and business) intelligence gathering in a whole new light. Don't hesitate, buy and read this book. Do yourself a favor and also read his corporate fellows white paper on change management.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A Must Read

    This book was refreshingly informative without all of the superman, non-believable antics so prevalent in most books on elite units. The author is obviously someone who knows what he is talking about and in my opinion is able to transmit some down to earth, user-friendly advice to the readers both military and non military alike. For someone who is curious about what lessons someone from an elite unit walks away with after completing service in the military, this book is for you.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    our unsung heroes

    Great book. Tells the story of our unsung heroes. These are the men you never hear about who are keeping our country safe.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 12, 2009

    A decent book for fans of military history

    I'm somewhat biased towards military history, so I probably gave this higher marks than an average person would. Still, I thought it was absorbing and well-written. Once I started, I found it hard to put down. The one minor complaint I had was about the whole theme of the book: it seemed like the author couldn't decide whether he was writing an autobiography or a book on leadership. The book had some leadership lessons in it, but also a lot of other material that wasn't entirely relevant. Pete Blaber's book would be a lot more focused if he had modeled it after Dick Marcinko's "Leadership Secrets of the Rogue Warrior".

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 21, 2009

    Hats-off to a true american hero, Pete Blaber

    I just finished this "can't put it down" novel. It has all the aspects of a tutorial for critical thinking and leadership. The story is well presented and in a gentlemanly manner. Please recommend this book to your high school and college aged relatives and friends. It should be required reading for West Pointers, ROTC and OCS candidates as well as all NCO's. It will be enlightening for anyone interested in knowing what makes America great. <BR/><BR/>Thank you Pete Blaber for your distinguished service to our country. Thank you for uncovering and teaching the valuable lessons of context, developing the situation, discovering the "art of the possible" and listening to the guy on the ground. Business leaders can truly benefit from these concepts.<BR/><BR/>I am a retired executive business leader and will recommend this book to colleagues. It would have been required reading for my management staff. <BR/><BR/>You are a great American.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 58 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)