Hammerhead Six: How Green Berets Waged an Unconventional War Against the Taliban to Win in Afghanistan's Deadly Pech Valley

Hammerhead Six: How Green Berets Waged an Unconventional War Against the Taliban to Win in Afghanistan's Deadly Pech Valley


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Two years before the action in Lone Survivor, a team of Green Berets conducted a very different, successful mission in Afghanistan's notorious Pech Valley. Led by Captain Ronald Fry, Hammerhead Six applied the principles of unconventional warfare to "win hearts and minds" and fight against the terrorist insurgency.

In 2003, the Special Forces soldiers entered an area later called "the most dangerous place in Afghanistan." Here, where the line between civilians and armed zealots was indistinct, they illustrated the Afghan proverb: "I destroy my enemy by making him my friend." Fry recounts how they were seen as welcome guests rather than invaders. Soon after their deployment ended, the Pech Valley reverted to turmoil. Their success was never replicated. Hammerhead Six finally reveals how cultural respect, hard work (and the occasional machine-gun burst) were more than a match for the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316341431
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 01/19/2016
Pages: 400
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

A third-generation veteran, US Army Captain Ronald Fry served in the 82nd Airborne Division and as a Special Forces team leader in Afghanistan. He has completed the military's Survival School and the Ranger, Pathfinder, Jumpmaster, and Combat Diver trainings. Fry lives with his wife and five children near San Jose and works in sales management.

Tad Tuleja, author of thirty-two books, has taught courses on war and conflict at Harvard, Princeton, Oklahoma, and American University.

Table of Contents

Author's Note xiii

Preface. Kunar Province, November 2003 1

Part I Fall 2003

1 Into the Gray 9

2 The Fort 21

3 A War of All Against All 35

4 Hunter's Moon 43

5 A Baited Ambush 53

6 Hammer and Anvil 72

7 Odysseus Redux 86

8 The Experiment 98

Part II Winter 2003-2004

9 The Neighborhood 115

10 A Captain's First Duty 133

11 Commander's Intent 147

12 Culture Clashes 161

13 The Prisoner 181

14 The Decider 197

15 Ghost Tracks 211

16 Lost in Translation 224

17 The Uprising 238

18 Fireworks 253

Part III Spring 2004

19 A Tale of Two Mullahs 267

20 Eye for an Eye 282

21 High Noon 295

22 The Waiting Game 307

23 The Unforgivable 321

24 A Shared Struggle 337

25 Nanawatay 348

Afterword: Lessons Learned 354

Acknowledgments 368

Notes 371

Glossary 376

Index 378

What People are Saying About This

Lt. Col. Marcus Custer

Hammerhead Six is the compelling story about a small team of brave men who were sent into the most hostile area of Afghanistan. They did what Green Berets have always done: They stood up for human rights, made friends and trained people to protect themselves. Taliban activity dropped dramatically and the surrounding area thrived. The unconventional victory of Captain Ronald Fry's unit provides inspiration and a way forward into the troubled and uncertain future. It is a textbook on how to get it right the next time. --Lt. Col. Marcus Custer, USA (Ret.)

Tony Schwaim

Amidst torrents of hot brass and the smell of burnt gunpowder in Ron Fry's Hammerhead Six are nuggets of wisdom that can only come from a warrior leader who has lived outside the wire, among those he fought and those he sought to help. Riveting, compelling, transparently honest and emotional, Hammerhead Six is a must read for anyone wondering what could have worked in the 'graveyard of empires.' --Tony Schwaim, author of The Gorilla Factory

Sean Parnell

Hammerhead Six is a raw, hard-hitting and authentic war story that will become one of the most important books to emerge from the war in Afghanistan. Captain Fry tells a deeply human story that captures the remarkable courage of America's elite Special Forces soldiers. Reading it plunged me back into the exhilarating, heartbreaking experience of combat. Mr. President and Members of Congress, read this book immediately. If we do what Fry and his men did, we win the war in Afghanistan. Honestly it is that simple. --Sean Parnell, New York Times-bestselling author of Outlaw Platoon: Heroes, Renegades, Infidels, and the Brotherhood of War in Afghanistan

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