I had to look up the definition of “Deguello” before I started reading Scott Zastrow’s book of the same name. The first reference I found was the name of an old ZZ Top album. That’s not what I was looking for. The word means “a fight to the death, without quarter or mercy.”
This particular fight without mercy took place in Afghanistan not long after terrorists struck the United States on Sept. 11, 2001. The fight started in the mountains. It crossed Bagram Air Base and culminated in the ouster of the Taliban from Kabul by a coalition of Afghans called the Northern Alliance. And Scott Zastrow was there, up to his ass in all of it.
The fighters of the Northern Alliance were led and assisted (to say the Afghans were trained might be a bit of a stretch) by a group of 10 members of the U.S. Army Special Forces. The Green Berets of the 555th ODA (Operational Detachment Alpha), affectionately called “The Triple Nickel,” took the fight to the enemy at a time when most Americans were still staring in disbelief at the charred ruins in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania. Zastrow and the rest of the team weres there, providing the payback every patriot wanted to dole out.
His new book, The Deguello, takes an inside look at the dedicated men who charged forward while the rest of the world sat wondering what to do. Their mission was to destroy the Taliban any way they could. So they moved in close, worked with indigenous personnel, and brought the full force of U.S. air power down on the heads of the enemy.
But this book is not all blood and guts, tech speak and tactics. In fact, there is very little of that. What you get is a look at a group of men thrust into an isolated and hostile environment carrying the weight of a nation in their rucksacks. So, they did what any group of young Americans far from home would do: they quoted movie lines and joked with their buddies.
They made the best of bad situations. And they used their skill, daring and bravery to unleash holy hell on their enemy every chance they got. From laser-guided close air support to a B-52 strike that shook the very ground and opened the door to Kabul.
Though it is a fictionalized account (the names have been changed to protect the men who served), Zastrow was there, and as you turn the pages you feel like you come to know the men of the Triple Nickel. Any historian can tell you about the war. It takes a veteran to tell you about the men who served. That’s what Scott Zastrow does. This book is well worth your time. Find it on Amazon and think about all you owe these 10 men.
Scott Zastrow was born in Wisconsin and grew up in the Milwaukee area; he is an Army Veteran with more than 23 years of service. Most of his career was spent in Special Forces with an incredible operational tempo which has taken him to more than 25 countries around the World. He has numerous combat depolyments as well as both humanitarian and non-combat missions. After leaving Special Forces in 2007, he went on to finish his Masters Degree as a Physician Assistant at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and now works as a PA full time in the Nashville area. His book, “The Deguello” has been touted as one of the most personable first-hand accounts of the inital response to the attacks of 9/11. The book was self-published through Lulu.com and is being considered for several indie book awards in both the fiction and military categories.