Excerpt: CCT at War – Afghanistan

Excerpt:  Combat Controllers at War

jdgresham-2Air Force Combat Controllers at War
Afghanistan 2001

By John D. Gresham - July 2, 2010

“These single Americans had the power to conjure lightning bolts out of the sky…what happened in Afghanistan is one of the most extraordinary stories in military history…”
– Mark Bowden, author, Black Hawk Down

Okay … here is the problem. It is October 2001, just five weeks since the terror attacks of September 11. The enemy is located in one of the most remote and isolated places on the planet, America has only a limited ability to support a handful of troops on the ground, and their only friends are a rag-tag collection of insurgent groups that has been on the losing end of a civil war for almost five years. The terrain is barren and the mountain passes are as high as 19,000 feet at the saddle. Winter is just weeks away, and the American people expect a response.

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Combat Controllers at War - AfghanistanOur friend and colleague John D. Gresham died July 2, 2016, after fighting serious health
issues for the past several years.

An author, researcher, game designer, commentator and historian, John was well known for his interviews, commentary, rese
arch, screenwriting, and production assistance for various documentary series produced for TLC and the History, Military, New York Times, Discovery, and National Geographic channels.

He was the primary researcher and partner to Tom Clancy on his best-selling series of non-fiction “guided tour” books about military units. These included Submarine (1993), Armored Cav (1994), Fighter Wing (1995), Marine (1996), Airborne (1997), Carrier (1999), and Special Forces (2001), all published by Berkley Books. He also was the award-winning co-designer of Supermarina I and Supermarina II (Clash of Arms Games, 1996 and 1997), naval wargames based upon Larry Bond’s award-winning Command at Sea game system.

His book DEFCON-2 (with Norman Polmar) was a single-volume history of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Beyond Hell and Back (2007, with Dwight Jon Zimmerman), describes seven key U.S. special operations missions. His last book was Uncommon Valor, covering six Medal of Honor recipients and their deeds in Iraq and Afghanistan, also co-authored with Zimmerman.

He was the consulting editor of The Year in Special Operations for more than a decade, and was an integral part of its growth and success over the years. John had big ambitions for the publication from the beginning and achieved most of them. He also wrote many stories for other Faircount publications, and was a regular contributor to the Defense Media Network website.


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