“The Mission, The Men, and Me: Lessons from a Former Delta Force Commander” by Pete Blaber (New York : Berkley Caliber, 2008) is a surprisingly great read. Writing in an entertaining way that keeps your audience interested, especially in non-fiction, is not easy. To find someone able to do it well in what is not their first career is very impressive. I would highly suggest you read this book.
Pete Blaber is in fact a former Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1st SFOD-D), better known in Hollywood movies as Delta Force. After he left the US Army, he also worked as a consultant for the TV series “The Unit” and even co-wrote at least one episode.
Unlike most military history or personal accounts / narratives, where the story seems to have a definitive beginning, middle, and end, Blaber’s book jumps forward from experience to experience not to tell a specific story, but to give you the reader context to understand the life lessons he has learned during his years in the SFOD-D. The next surprising thing is that much of those life lessons are not unique to a life in the military; they are life lessons you can use in everyday personal or professional life too. A great example of this is the chapter on “Don’t get treed by a chihuahua”, which sounds ridiculous untill you read the chapter and then go, “huh… that’s a very good point”. His points about basic human nature and reactions are very true in any context. They have helped me to think about the way I reason things and the way I interact with people.
Other interesting things about this book is reading his first hand accounts of the opening months of the war in Afghanistan; how the US Forces operated, how they set up and searched for Osama bin Ladin (and why members of the intelligence community and military usually refer to him as “UBL”; not “OBL”). He also gives you some very good insight into some of the puzzle pieces of Operation: Anaconda. To be more precise, what happened leading up to the events at what would become known as “The Battle of Takur Ghar” (also called “The Battle of Roberts Ridge”). He watched it happen, not on satellite images or a video feed from a predator drone, but with his own eyes from a nearby mountain, and tried to give information to help save the lives of American servicemen. I’ve always been fascinated by Operation Anaconda and I think the two books that do the best job telling the story are “Not a Good Day to Die: The Untold Story of Operation Anaconda” by Sean Naylor and “Roberts Ridge: A Story of Courage and Sacrifice on Takur Ghar Mountain, Afghanistan” by Malcolm MacPherson. I really suggest both of those books; combined they give a great in-depth account of Operation Anaconda. I will write reviews for both of them one day.
You can find a printed copy of Pete Blaber’s book on Amazon and most other major bookstores, both online as well as brick & mortar, and probably at a local library too. This link will take you to WorldCat where you can get more info and a see if any libraries near you have a copy.
In brief, I found “The Mission, The Men, and Me: Lessons from a Former Delta Force Commander” by Pete Blaber to be a fascinating book and very much worth reading for fans of military non-fiction and even for those who are not.