In order to hold their identities secret, I have blacked out their faces and I will only use their first names. We had an OPSEC breach during a leaders shura while I was deployed to Afghanistan relating to an upcoming operation, so I know how sensitive these guys are about things like names, faces and operational details.
Enough of the disclaimer though; these are the great men of ODA 753, who recently returned from a deployment in Afghanistan. These are, without a doubt, some of the most professional warriors I have ever served with. They are a credit to the Special Forces because they were humble and focused on getting to know the other guys operating in their AO and getting in the fight. The guys they took over from had the same attitude and I was glad we ended up with two good teams that operated in our AO.
I just appreciated how they treated me and my soldiers like we were professionals too. That was truly refreshing. Mark (the second guy from the left in the picture) was there at the beginning of the GWOT in Afghanistan and he was perhaps one of the nicest guys I have ever met. I have no idea how he became a steely-eyed killer.
NCOIC Mike, the dark haired guy out front, was great. Anything we needed, if he could get it, he did. Many thanks to him and the favors he did for us. The cigars he had rocked. It was good to have the time to have a smoke.
Zach, the guy on the left end, lost a lot of self respect and some money playing poker at our tiny firebase when they came to visit. I don't know if he ever got the 20 bucks back from that girl from the 82nd Airborne, but I hope he did.
Leslie, the tall guy in the back, was a fellow Dallas Cowboys fan. It was good to find because I only knew of one other in the whole AO, me. My boss, Captain Jack, was a Houston fan (yeah, that was a long year, right up until they whooped their ass in 2006). It was nice to have some back-up.
Deshawn (back row, 2nd from the right) was hilarious and the guy that would always be quick with a joke, and he had this apron that he got from Mexico that, well, if you get a chance, you should ask him to show you. Don't look to close though, it'll poke out your eye.
The guy in the middle, Cappy, was the guy who ran the whole show. He was one of the most dedicated and professional leaders of men I have known. According to his guys though, he is a great mechanic and works on his antique Chevy Monte Carlo often, much to his dismay sometimes.
Rich, the guy on the right end, front row, was perhaps the best intel guy I have ever met. He truly had some of the best sources and was able to make use of our good information that we collected. The fact that he was funny as fuck certainly helped make a difference. His counter-part, Joey (not pictured) was definitely a complement to those talents, as he had some unique talents of his own.
Jake, the engineer (middle right, next to Leslie), was without a doubt the most in shape guy I have ever seen. He had a HEMMT Tire (without air it weighs 500 pounds) that him and the guys used to flip (yeah, not roll) end over end as part of their workout. I hope he did get to blow some stuff while he was there. Engineers like to do that.
They helped me and my boss, Captain Jack root out the Taliban in our AO and help the people of Afghanistan. I got to say that despite the restrictions that they found themselves operating under, they did some great work.
It was my honor to have served with them.