’12 Strong’: Real-life Heroism Of Green Berets After 9/11 [Video]

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’12 Strong’ is a movie about soliders and heroes. If you have already seen Clint Eastwood’s movie, “The 15:17 to Paris”  then this may be your next great flick. ’12 Strong’ is about is the dozen men who became the first U.S. Arym soldiers to enter the Taliban-controlled Afghanistan after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

Mark Nutsch, the former major who led the first Special Forces team deployed to Afghanistan after 9/11, is the subject of a new war film titled “12 Strong”. The movie portrays the real-life story of how a dozen American soldiers successfully worked with an Afghan warlord to take down the Taliban. Nutsch is portrayed in the ’12 Strong’ by Australian actor Chris Hemsworth, who stars as Capt. Mitch Nelson.

’12 Strong’ is a film produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, a proud conservative who’s passionate about the military and has also produced such movies as ‘Armageddon’ and ‘Top Gun’.

Of course, ’12 Strong’ was inspired by author Doug Stanton’s 2009 book, “Horse Soldiers”. “Horse Soldiers” was a little-known story about a small band of Special Forces who secretly entered the war-tron Afghanistan, convinced the Afghan allies to work with them, and then pursued the Taliban on horseback. They liberated Mazar-i-Sharif, the country’s fourth-largest city all in three weeks time.

Evidently, according to Nutsch, horseback riding was the secret behind navigating the mountainous terrain of northern Afghanistan.

As Nutsch explained, “My grandfathers, they both ranched. My family still ranches. I grew up showing horses and rodeoing, competing in high school rodeo teams and at the collegiate level… Who knew just general ranch work and being around horses was going to play such an integral role?”

While Nutsch was an expert rider, however, his teammate Bob Pennington wasn’t ready for such a bumpy ride. As Pennington, the retired Chief Warrant Officer explained,

“Oh my God, it was horrible. Absolutely horrible. And these are very small horses, to say the least. But very wild, like stallions… Back then, I was very muscular and in very good shape. … Probably weighed about 230 pounds.”

Pennington went on to explain,

“And I would carry about 80 pounds of equipment on me… I crushed those horses. Literally … I got on this horse and he just buckled. As we began to move, the more and more … he would get so aggravated at me, he would try to reach back and bite me.”

Pictured: Nutsche and Pennington

Pennington added, “As we traveled the mountainside, those goat trails that we traveled on were probably about 18 inches wide. So the horse naturally leaned a little bit. That aggravated him even more. But it scared the death out of me because now I’m looking down and I’m looking at a [5,000 to 6,000-foot] tumble.”

Pennington is portrayed in ’12 Strong’ by Academy Award-nominated actor Michael Shannon, as character Hal Spencer . He said it was big-screen hero John Wayne who inspired him as a child to ultimately become a Green Beret.

“When 1968’s ‘The Green Beret’ came out, of course me and my two brothers went to see it,” he explained. “I was just in such awe of what these guys were doing. And of course back then, John Wayne was a mountain of a figure. He was Americana.

“But the idea of what these guys were doing — jumping out of planes and liberating the oppressed … working with the indigenous forces and trying to help them succeed in the country. Someone would look at me and say, ‘You got all of that out of being 7-8 years old?’ Yes I did!”

However, not everyone was instantly eager to share their story. Lt. Gen. John F. Mulholland, who led the team into Afghanistan and is depicted by actor William Fictner, was wary of how a Hollywood film would showcase the work of real-life Green Berets. However, he seemed content with the final product.


“Other films on Special Forces focuses on what we call direct action,” said Mulholland. “You know, helicopters swooping in. Men coming down from ropes, blowing things up. Shooting bad guys and rescuing hostages. And killing the bad guys. Which is all good stuff… [But] I don’t think too many people understand who we are as Special Forces. They see a lot of seals and all the sexy stuff in the movies, but this is something much deeper.”

While Nutsch and Pennington were only on set for nearly three days during filming, they happily enjoyed drinks with the actors at a local bar and shared how determined they were to defend America after a horrific tragedy.

“We try to be the quiet professionals that we aspire to be,” said Mulholland on being a Green Beret. “We train as guerilla fighters, [but] our mission is to go behind enemy lines and link up with friendly indigenous folks in that country to help them either overthrow an occupying power, or in the case of the Taliban, a regime that was trying to oppress its people… That’s what makes us unique. We’re the only force in the Department of Defense that’s trained to do that mission.”

Nutsch is hoping “12 Strong” will do more than just entertain audiences with its non-stop action.

“We hope this film inspires Americans to learn about the incredible things that the Green Berets and our Special Operation community has done in the last 16 years of war,” he said. “These guys continue to be at the forefront… in probably over 80 countries on the ground, trying to help our allies resolve very tough and complex problems, like Islamic extremists. We hope this film inspires young American men and women to serve their nation and volunteer to try out for the Special Forces community.”

Nutsch added, “We want to see more Green Berets. We want to see the next generation of Green Berets. We need them.”

I hope this film does inspire more young kids and men to become Green Berets when they grow up.  We owe a lot of gratitude to the men and women in uniform, not only the Green Berets, but all those who serve our country. They risk their lives every day defending our freedom. A freedom many Americans take for granted. God Bless Our men and women in our military! And God Bless the Green Berets!

’12 Strong’….hope you’ll go to see when it comes to a theater near you.


Resource: Fox News

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