Green Berets: '12 Strong' captures spirit of Special Forces

January 8, 2018

The new movie 12 Strong tells the story of 12 members of the U.S. Special Forces who were the first to fight in Afghanistan shortly after 9/11. It's based on the book Horse Soldiers by Doug Stanton.

Mark Nutsch and Bob Pennington were two of the real-life members of that force. They're both featured in the movie, which opens Jan. 29. Nutsch is played by Chris Hemsworth and Pennington is played by Michael Shannon.

The Green Berets fought alongside with the local Afghan militias. The terrain was rough and littered with land mines. Their main mode of transportation was horseback.

“Blending 19th century warfare tactics on horseback with 20th century weapons and 21st century technology -- satellite capable radios, GPS, night-vision goggles, and you're trying to figure out how all these things can come together,” said Mark Nutsch.

The horses ended up being the secret weapon helping the local Afghans and Special Forces fight Al-Qaida and Taliban forces.

“The horses were the best mobility there" Pennington said. "They had tanks, they had trucks, they had different types of vehicles. They could not maneuver around the mountains and hills. We actually could."

Nutsch and Pennington say the film 12 Strong captures the real spirit of the Special Forces.

“It represents all the main players. The Afghans are represented, the CIA, the different aircraft. Different components that were all part of that task force that were all helping 12-man teams,” said Nutsch.

“Depicting the team, yes. The camaraderie with the Afghans and how the team had itself molded and melded together,” said Pennington.

The two men hope moviegoers see how quickly the intelligence community and Special Forces came together shortly after 9/11.

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