"Major Jim Gant, a man seen by many of us as the 'perfect insurgent,'--an inspiring, gifted, courageous leader... -- GENERAL DAVID H. PETRAEUS (U.S. Army, Ret.)
THE PAPER THAT ROCKED OSAMA BIN LADEN
Team members during the May 2, 2011 U.S. military raid that killed Osama Bin Laden seized piles of Al Qaeda intelligence. One piece of evidence found in Bin Laden?s personal sleeping quarters was an English ...
"Major Jim Gant, a man seen by many of us as the 'perfect insurgent,'--an inspiring, gifted, courageous leader...
-- GENERAL DAVID H. PETRAEUS (U.S. Army, Ret.)
THE PAPER THAT ROCKED
OSAMA BIN LADEN
Team members during the May 2, 2011 U.S. military raid that killed Osama Bin Laden seized piles of Al Qaeda intelligence. One piece of evidence found in Bin Laden’s personal sleeping quarters was an English language copy of Jim Gant’s One Tribe at a Time. It contained notes in the margins consistent with others identified as written by Osama Bin Laden.
A directive from Osama Bin Laden to his intelligence chief was also discovered. It identified Jim Gant by name as an impediment to Al Qaeda’s operational objectives for eastern Afghanistan.
Bin Laden ordered that Gant be assassinated.
“[One Tribe at a Time] was hugely important…at a time when I was looking for ideas on Afghanistan…[Gant] was the first to write it down, in a very coherent fashion, very readable, very encouraging frankly…and there is enormous power in that.”
--General David H. Petraeus (U.S. Army, Ret.) quoted in American Spartan: The Promise, The Mission, and The Betrayal of Special Forces Major Jim Gant by Ann Scott Tyson
Washington Post reporter Ann Scott Tyson read “One Tribe at a Time,” and - informed by her combat experience in Afghanistan and Iraq and her eight years as a reporter in China - she realized that Jim’s paper made sense. She decided to write a story about Jim entitled, “Jim Gant, the Green Beret who could win the war in Afghanistan.” After the article appeared in January 2010, as Jim was in Washington, D.C., attending Pashto language training, he met Ann and the two fell in love. She followed his mission in Afghanistan and wrote AMERICAN SPARTAN: The Promise, the Mission, and the Betrayal of Special Forces Major Jim Gant.
Jim Gant enlisted in the Army straight out of high school in Las Cruces, New Mexico at the age of 19, intent on joining the Special Forces. In 1989 he passed a gruelling selection and earned his Green Beret and Special Forces tab. In 1990, he took part in the first Gulf War as a member of the 5th Special Forces Group, and was promoted to staff sergeant. Jim enrolled in college and joined the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) at New Mexico State University. He was commissioned in the U.S. Army as a 2nd Lieutenant and infantry officer in 1995. Jim spent four years as a lieutenant: two years as an Infantry platoon leader and two additional years as a Scout platoon leader. He then volunteered for and was accepted into Special Forces training again as an officer. He was a Captain and going through Special Forces training again when terrorists attacked the United States on September 11, 2001. Jim led a Special Forces team, Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA) 316 in Afghanistan’s Konar Province in early 2003. There, he met the Pashtun tribal leader Malik Noor Afzhal for the first time. Jim deployed again with his Special Forces team to Helmand Province 2004.
Jim was then hand-picked to lead a special projects team for the next two years.
In 2006, Jim volunteered to go Iraq, which was embroiled in a civil war, as the US and Iraqi casaulties were sky-rocketing. After 14 consecutive months of direct combat in Iraq, Jim returned to the US and became an Unconventional Warfare instructor at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. It was in 2009 that Jim, with the help of his close friend and author, Steve Pressfield, wrote the white paper entitled “One Tribe at a Time.” Jim was then given the mission of a lifetime: return to Afghanistan, form an alliance with his old friend, Malik Noor Afzhal, and together fight the resurgent Taliban in eastern Afghanistan. In August 2010, Jim reunited with Malik Noor Afzhal, nicknamed “Sitting Bull.”
Jim’s war-time awards include the Silver Star, Iraqi National Police Medal of Honor, and the Army Commendation Medal with V device, and Bronze Star with two oak leaf clusters.
Jim considers his greatest military achievement the fact that the men who fought alongside him were awarded over 20 awards for valor.