Unconventional Warrior

Memoir of a Special Operations Commander in Afghanistan


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About the Book

This fascinating look at the life of a modern-day professional soldier gives the reader an inside view of the deadly global war on terror. Herd argues that conflicting political objectives have muddied the way forward for the on-the-ground commanders and thus threaten the prospect of any real victory in Afghanistan. He uses everyday stories to make his points: “One of the local leaders pointed to his wrist and said to my interpreter, ‘the Americans have all the watches but we have all the time.’ That made a lasting impression on me.” Colonel Herd was one of the highest ranking officers on the ground with a command of some 4,000 elite soldiers from all branches of the U.S. military and five other coalition nations. It was a mission he had trained for all of his life. A sixth-generation soldier, Herd became a master parachutist, a combat scuba diver, a Green Beret and an Army Ranger. He conducted combat missions against the Taliban by using the Special Forces mandate to work by, with and through the local population.

About the Author(s)

Colonel Walter Morris Herd is retired from the U.S. Army, Special Forces. He lives in Kentucky.

Bibliographic Details

Walter Morris Herd

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 224
Bibliographic Info: 26 photos, glossary, index
Copyright Date: 2013
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6971-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0152-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface: Six Generations of American Patriots  1
1. The Making of an Unconventional Warrior  9
2. Initial Training  11
3. First Assignment  13
4. Transfer to the Rangers  15
5. Airborne!  18
6. Jumpmaster  21
7. A Lesson in Leadership  23
8. Time to Move On  26
9. Understanding Special Operations Structure  28
10. Earning the Green Beret  38
11. Special Forces History and the “Coin”  43
12. Special Forces Training  46
13. Reporting to the Regiment  56
14. Training for Unconventional War in Europe  61
15. The First Desert War  66
16. Staff Time  70
17. Unconventional Warfare as Illustrated by Tom Sawyer  75
18. The Lware Campaign  79
19. Firefight  88
20. Fire Support  106
21. Returning Fire  108
22. UW Thinking in a “Joint” Environment  116
23. Czech Republic Paratroopers  121
24. The Press  127
25. Fallen Comrades  131
26. Quarters  135
27. Winning in Afghanistan: Understanding the Culture  137
28. The UW Option  144
29. The Challenge to the UW Option  157
30. Bases, Good Order and Discipline  167
31. Holiday Festivities  174
32. Political Correctness  177
33. Afghan and Pakistan Meetings  180
34. Prisoner Interrogation  185
35. Special Forces Soldiering  187
36. Power in the Modern Era  193
37. Provincial Reconstruction Teams  198
38. Learning from History  201
39. Final Thoughts  205
Glossary  207
Index  210