Roberts Ridge: A Story of Courage and Sacrifice on Takur Ghar Mountain, Afghanistan

Malcolm MacPherson, Author . Delacorte $25 (352p) ISBN 978-0-553-80363-1

On March 2, 2002, U.S. intelligence launched Operation Anaconda; having noted a concentration of al-Qaeda and Taliban forces in the Shah-i-Kot Valley, they dispatched MAKO-30, a seven-man navy SEAL reconnaissance team, attempted a helicopter landing on Takur Ghar, the highest overlooking peak. Tasked with calling in air strikes, MAKO-30 found its landing zone to be a well-concealed al-Qaeda camp; the team's Chinook helicopter was driven off by withering ground fire. When SEAL Neil Roberts fell out of the chopper, the others insisted on going back for him. With the team pinned down by enemy fire and facing annihilation, commanders dispatched a quick reaction force of army Rangers to rescue them. Thus began a harrowing 17-hour drama every bit as perilous and courageous as the Rangers' ill-fated Battle of Mogadishu, Somalia; novelist (Deadlock ) and journalist (The Black Box ) MacPherson eloquently captures this gripping tale, based on interviews with many of the survivors and access to the army's after-action report. And while the battle "played no part in the success of Anaconda," and was in fact a distraction for decision makers, the army after-action report cites the troops' "conspicuous bravery" and "countless acts of heroism"—all of which MacPherson captures with aplomb. (Sept. 6)

Reviewed on: 06/27/2005
Release date: 08/01/2005
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