Writer Jeff Haden spoke to a number of Special Forces operators about perseverance, developing the right mindset, and how the only limits we really have are self-imposed — adaptability, attitude, mental toughness — and that in life there’s no finish line. One of them, Herbert Thompson, a Special Forces (Green Beret) team leader shared a story of a combat mission he undertook replete with leadership lessons.
On Day 5 of a mission “leading” 205 Afghans, we heard that insurgents were setting up an ambush along our only route. A weapons sergeant, a couple of infantry soldiers and I were the American “face” of this operation. Our only backup was from a nearby Navy SEAL platoon that had to maneuver through rugged terrain to my position. I called for air support to erase the threat.
I was told not any time soon. We had 3 options: a.) sit and wait for air support that may not come; b.) maneuver on the enemy with a partner force that I did not fully trust; c.) sit another night with no way of knowing what would happen.