When we first covered the story of 9 special forces soldiers and 1 combat cameraman being awarded silver stars for valor (and ten Purple Hearts) during one of the most harrowing fights ever told, I wondered if we would get an opportunity to read about the whole story...what really happened...and would the public really know, despite a mission that should have been aborted and overwhelming odds at surviving, what complete American Bad Asses that were ODA 3336?
Well, No Way Out: A Story of Valor in the Mountains of Afghanistan has been written by Mitch Weiss and Kevin Maurer. The book covers the battle in the Shok Valley. It was an impossible mission right from the start. A Special Forces team planned to land in an enemy-held valley, scale a steep mountain in Afghanistan to surprise and capture a terrorist leader.
But before they found the target, the target found them...
From Kevin Maurer to BlackFive:
The team was caught in a deadly ambush that not only threatened their lives, but the entire mission. The elite soldiers fought for hours, huddled on a small rock ledge as rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine gun fire rained down on them. With total disregard for their own safety, they tended to their wounded and kept fighting to stay alive.
When the battle finally ended, ten soldiers had earned Silver Stars- the Army's third highest award for combat valor. It was the most Silver Stars awarded to any unit in one battle since Vietnam.
Based on dozens of interviews with those who were there, No Way Out is a compelling narrative of an epic battle that not only tested the soldiers' mettle but serves as a cautionary tale: Be careful what you ask a soldier to do because they will die trying to accomplish their mission.
The book features the story of John Wayne Walding, who had a bullet sever his leg. Despite the wound, he kept fighting. No Way Out offers the first accurate account of what happened in the valley from the men who fought there.
And, Mike Carter (one of our Someone You Should Know features), whom you all know as the combat camera man who was awarded a Silver Star that day, wrote this to co-author Mitch Weiss: "How y'all wrote it was fast paced and chaotic like that day was for us on that mountain side. All I can say is thank you to you and Kevin, I think y'all have done a outstanding job!"
This book has my highest recommendation.