Secret Mission: The Horse Soldiers of 9/11
Combat Controller, Bart Decker, "HORSE SOLDIER"

Working with The Northern Alliance in Afghanistan; ?, ?, Ken Huhman, Bart Decker, and Casey Crate

In the wake of September 11, 2001, the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), also known as the Legion, was called upon to play a major role in our Nation's defense. Within hours of the terrorist attacks, Soldiers from the Group were deployed in support of the Global War on Terror.

From October 2001 through April 2002, Special Forces Operational Detachments – Alpha (SFOD-A), or A- teams, from the 5th SFG (A) conducted Unconventional Warfare against Taliban and Al Qaeda forces.

Individuals from these Green Beret A-teams have been recognized as "Horse Soldiers" due to their requirement to advise and assist their Afghan counterparts, formed under the moniker of the Northern Alliance, while riding horseback, a form of transport not used in the U.S. military since the cavalry of old.

In less than six months the 5th SFG (A), a regimental-sized force, effectively destroyed the popular base of the Taliban government and toppled the terrorist-sponsoring state of Afghanistan.

Interviewed; Combat Controller, Mike Scorintino

Their contribution to the American response will be commemorated with a statue near Ground Zero in Manhattan, complete with a parade to its installation: 
During the 2011 Veterans Day Parade on November 11, a new monument to these men — and to all Americans in uniform — will make its way down New York City’s famed Fifth Avenue on the way to its final home, a stone’s throw from Ground Zero.  

Military men and women, along with New York City firefighters, policemen, emergency responders and other marchers, 50,000 in all, will escort the monument on its televised journey. The spectacle will feature members of the three original Special Operations teams — some on horseback, others walking alongside surviving spouses of fallen heroes.

If this sounds like a movie script, well, it shortly will be: Retired Army general and current CIA director David Petraeus will be among the parade marshals. Hollywood producer Jerry Bruckheimer is producing a future movie about America’s “Horse Soldiers.”

Their Air Force Combat Controller — Master Sgt. Bart Decker, now retired — radioed for airstrikes, calling in bombing coordinates to a female navigator on an AC-130 gunship nicknamed “the Angel of Death.”

“The warlord we were advising heard her on my radio and broadcast to the enemy: ‘Female up in this airplane is wreaking havoc on you,’ ” Sgt. Decker recalled. “That’s an insult, obviously, to the Taliban, who used to beat down their women.”

The statue, a 16-foot-tall bronze of a Special Forces soldier on horseback, may wind up in Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan once the protesters camped there depart. But for now, it is bound for a temporary spot in a building a block from the World Trade Center site.

Titled “De Oppresso Liber,” a motto of the Army Special Forces, the statue memorializes the soldiers who rode into battle in Afghanistan after 9/11. Sculptured by Douwe Blumberg, it now belongs to the United War Veterans Council, the organization that manages the parade.

The $500,000 to build the statue was raised from wealthy private donors, but the sponsors have not yet found a final resting place for the statue.

After making its public debut riding on a float up Fifth Avenue, it will be hauled to Battery Park City. It is to be dedicated Friday night by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Lt. Gen. John Mulholland in the Winter Garden of the World Financial Center.

From there, it will go to a lobby of 1 World Financial Center, a building owned by Brookfield Office Properties, the company that owns Zuccotti Park. Brookfield had considered placing the statue in the park, before the Occupy Wall Street crowd descended on that plaza in mid-September, said Bill White, who helped arrange the creation of the statue. But that idea would have required approval by city officials. Melissa Coley, a spokeswoman for Brookfield, said, “We’re pleased to provide a temporary home” for the statue.

Mr. White said the statue’s sponsors hoped it would eventually reside at the World Trade Center, but Patrick Foye, the executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, said no decision had been made. Mr. Foye, who helped clear the way for the statue to travel to the Winter Garden, said that because it “memorializes the sacrifices of a lot of people after the attack on the trade center, a downtown location would be fitting.”

“That’s a possibility we’d be happy to entertain,” he added.

Horse Soldiers: The Extraordinary Story of a Band of US Soldiers Who Rode to Victory in Afghanistan; Buy the book here

 Task Force Dagger Memorialized in Stone

Posted: Thursday, November 14, 2013 6:00 pm
by Staff Sgt. Marcus Butler, U.S.Army Special Forces Command
FORT BRAGG, N.C. – Family, friends, and Soldiers both past and present, gathered at Meadows Memorial Plaza, Nov. 7, to commemorate the sacrifice, patriotism, and heroism of the service members of Task Force Dagger, during a memorial stone dedication ceremony.

It is because of the actions of the men of Task Force Dagger in Afghanistan from October 2001 to April 2002, which led to the fall of a terrorist government in Central Asia and eviction of al Qaeda leadership from Afghanistan, that they are being memorialized in stone. 

“I would like to thank each and every one of you who made it out here today to honor this great event in honor of some great men,” said Lt. Gen. John F. Mulholland, deputy commanding general, U.S. Special Operations Command. “This day, the men of Task Force Dagger are truly walking in the footsteps of giants as we are recognized with the other members of Special Operation Forces in this memorial plaza.”

Soon after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Task Force Dagger was directed to conduct Special Operations missions in support of a number of Northern Alliance commanders in Afghanistan, and to work with them to gain their active assistance in overthrowing the Taliban regime.

“As we rolled that task into one machine it was absolutely phenomenal. All of our joint brothers-in-arms were absolutely amazing,” said Mulholland.

Mulholland chronologically described each and every moment of emphasis that changed the outcome of the task force and the importance of each of them. One point made was that of the role of the Families.

“We are 12 years into this and we have a very solid process and great support. But, that was not the way it was when we had our first casualties – it was all starting from scratch,” said Mulholland. “The ladies of 5th Special Forces Group had to figure that out, all of whom were exceptional, and figured it out is just what they did. For the exceptional job that they accomplished, I would like to say thank you. 

“This day is about the commemoration of Task Force Dagger. This represents our place in history. We have extraordinary men who took on our Nation’s most difficult and dangerous enemies,” said Mulholland. “It was the men on those alpha-teams and their interagency counterparts figuring it out on the ground – guiding us, informing us, and letting us shape and bring things together when we saw opportunities.”

For its actions, Task Force Dagger earned the Joint Meritorious Unit Award while its subordinate units earned six Presidential Unit Citations and four Valorous Unit Awards. 

“The Nation is truly in debt to these men, to 5th Special Forces Group, and the Night Stalkers who flew incredibly perilous missions; to our AFSOC [Air Force Special Operations Command] brothers in the fixed wing world, Combat Controllers, Para Jumpers and weathermen, and all of this coming together with our interagency partners to get the job done on behalf of our country,” said Mulholland. “If there is one strategic lesson to take away from this is when the United States brings all of the elements and capability powers together there is nothing that can stop us – nothing can stand in our way.”