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Horses and Swords of Lightning: the Book of ODA 595

September 11th is a date widely – and rightly – recognized in the US. It is also observed (sometimes celebrated) by other nations and n0n-state actors.

Less well known are the late October dates when the men of ODA 595 put boots on Afghanistan ground to begin working with the Northern Alliance. Happily, a new book provides a first person account of that operation.

Swords of Lighting

David Reeder, reporting for SolSys LLC.

That anniversary is coming up fast. If you’re interested in knowing more about the mission, check out Swords of Lightning, the (tacitly) official account of the Horse Soldiers. This is not the story made famous by Hollywood.

[12 Strong is]..gripping, symbolic, and, according to the advertising and hoopla, based on a true story.

Except, no.

Then-Captain Mark Nutsch, the commander of ODA 595 on that mission), contributed to that book in partnership with then-CWO2 Bob Pennington (Assistant Detachment Commander), and author Jim DeFelice. It is a first person account rendered by and about some of the first SOF and OGA units deployed to Afghanistan after the attacks of 9/11.

GW Ayers, COO of Rainier Arms Firearms Academy with Mark Nutsch, one of the authors of Swords of Lightning. Nutsch was a guest speaker at Triggrcon 2022.

Nutsch spoke to a packed audience last night at Triggrcon 2022, discussing a wide range of topics from the mission, the book, and some of the Horse Soldiers’ more recent missions, including the recently launched charity Badger Six (named in memory Johnny “Mike” Spann) and his involvement in The Pineapple Express (q.v.).

Triggrcon’s Jim Lambert with Mark Nutsch, Swords of Lightning, and a bottle of Horse Soldiers bourbon.

Here’s an excerpt from…

Swords of Lighting

A rocket-launching truck appears amid a pack of Soviet-era tanks and armored personnel carriers in the Afghan mountains…Just when all seems lost, American Green Berets on horseback brave a hail of bullets and ride into the enemy position, firing shots at breakneck speed with an accuracy that would make John Wayne weep. Dodging bullets to the left and RPGs to the right, the SF soldiers overwhelm the armored column…clearing the way for an unparalleled victory of man and horse over machinery and evil. Martial music swells..

It’s a great scene, roughly the climax of the movie 12 Strong, ending the Taliban’s reign as protectors of Islamic terrorism. It’s gripping, symbolic, and, according to the advertising and hoopla, based on a true story.

Except, no.

There was a massive battle, and the good guys did win, but it didn’t happen that way.

Swords of Lightning (swordsoflightning.com), was written by Mark Nutsch, Bob Pennington, and Jim DeFelice. It is available in a variety of formats (including the old-fashioned paper ones).

Triggrcon staffer Shawn Johnston with Nutsch – and a bottle of Horse Soldiers Bourbon .



One Response to “Horses and Swords of Lightning: the Book of ODA 595”

  1. Iggy says:

    A complex and misunderstood series of events that has almost never been presented well, let alone being rewritten by popular mythology. Lets hope this book helps dispel some of that.