Former SOCOM, CENTCOM commander wants no one left behind in Afghanistan
A distant, gleaming image of blue skies, rolling mountains, and snow-covered rivers ran into a wounded soldier who had escaped a brutal skirmish on the ground below, barely perceptible to the naked eye.
This vivid but paradoxical scene is what former Green Beret Dylan Beer remembers as she looked down in a tired, half-conscious state from a Black Hawk helicopter as she was evacuated from an almost deadly combat encounter in the mountains of Afghanistan.
“I was able to look back in the valley below and see many of my teammates still fighting. It was a beautiful scene from a distance, but what just happened down below was essentially hell on earth, ”Behr explained.
This violence, heroism, and near-death for Behr is now known as the famous Battle of the Shock Valley in Afghanistan, 2008; The mission on this April day is called Operation Commando Wrath.
Behr was part of a 12-member U.S. Special Forces team tasked with bringing a high-value enemy target to the mountains; his unit was joined by another supporting 12-member Green Beret team and about 100 Afghan commandos. Behr was part of the 3rd Special Forces Group, ODA 3336.
While the Green Berets, among other things, had experience with helicopter ropes and various types of air strikes commonly used in attacks of this kind, Behr’s unit was forced to climb the side of the mountain and attack on foot due to rugged terrain and relative inexperience. in support of the Afghan command partners.
Behr recalled the battle scene in the mountains, at an altitude of about 1,000 feet, as gloomy with gray rocks, some small trees, and not much vegetation. The uneven terrain was accompanied by snow on the ground and a partially frozen river. Concrete mud huts and small villages were scattered in rows and villages along the mountain ridges.
After completing the training, selection, and training of the Special Forces, Burr had spent years preparing for the life-and-death combat scenario he knew he would encounter.
He was a trained fighter, coach and teacher, working as part of a cohesive group focused on a specific offensive mission. Behr was an intelligence and communications specialist, but like all Green Berets, he was above all a fighter, equipped and ready to respond to rapidly evolving combat situations.
“When we started to climb, we met insurgents … about 200 enemy fighters. See the article : Global Satellite Payloads Market Report 2021-2026. They had a high place and surrounded us, “he recalled.
During the ensuing, rapid ensuing skirmish, Behr and his Green Beret colleagues used what rocks, small trees, and ditches they could find to prevent the enemy from firing and launching counterattacks.
“We had intelligence that there would be a high-value target, someone traditionally difficult to track. We did not know that there would be so many fighters and enemy forces there. “We came across a much bigger meeting of enemy fighters than we expected,” he said.
At one point during the unfolding 7-hour skirmish, Beer was suddenly thrown to the ground by a larger bullet, cutting through the side of his pelvis. The bullet blew the ball and the nest on his thigh.
“It was like being hit by a car or a baseball bat and being electrocuted at the same time,” he said.
This almost fatal blow, unfortunately, was only the beginning of Behr’s efforts to stay alive. While intelligence colleague Luis Morales of A-Team Green Beret was taking care of his injury, a second bullet pierced Behr’s biceps and continued to hit Morales in the thigh.
Burr described the painful sensation of feeling a bullet cut through a muscle in his biceps as insignificant compared to the initial blow to his pelvis … a scenario that may make it impossible at first glance to imagine the force of the pain he felt on the first shot. .
As he struggled to regain consciousness and his teammates tried to stop the bleeding, Behr himself focused on the survival and safety of his attacked Green Berets.
“I have vivid memories of lying almost helpless and worried about a building on the other side of the valley that had direct access to our team. If anyone had to shoot from there, we were pretty exposed. “I remember directing some people on the team and making them take this out with a big bomb,” he said.
Then American air support arrived to destroy the attacking rebels; shrapnel from a bomb hit Ber wrong, piercing his gut.
When confronted with what he thought was certain death, Baer thought of his fellow soldiers and his family at home in Illinois.
“There was a time when I thought I was going to leave this world. At one point I thought I would fail, so I said a prayer and felt calm. Then suddenly Ron Schurer, the medic on our team, hit me in the face and said, ‘Wake up, you’re not going to die today,’ he said.
The intensity of the firefight, the volume of the enemy bullets and the enormous scale of the attacks are still difficult to recall and describe by Behr, the sharpness of some powerful and violent memories have found a permanent resting place in his mind. Then, just as Behr thought he might be able to live, the attacks worsened.
Just after telling Behr that he would not die, Schurer himself took a bullet in his helmet just above his face. Fortunately, the bullet bounced off his helmet.
“It could have been a lot worse,” Behr said.
Four Americans were critically wounded and transferred to Landstuhl Army Medical Center and then to Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Two Afghan commandos were killed, including an interpreter.
A total of 11 silver stars and one BBC cross were awarded for the events of that day.
“The heroic part is what my team did and how they held it together under heavy enemy fire. They risked their lives to get me and the other wounded boys off the team from this mountain. They dragged me and let me on the ledges and tried to catch me from the ledges, “Behr explained.
Life after almost death in struggle
Despite this accumulation of combat trauma and near-death experience, Behr achieved a startling recovery. To see also : Oscars Present 17 Awards for Technical and Scientific Achievement. After medical treatment, Behr went on to earn a master’s degree in security from Georgetown University before starting a non-profit gym for wounded soldiers at Walter Reed.
Asked how he managed to continue after his combat experience, Baer said: “I don’t know what else to do. We are given abilities and skills and it is a pity to waste them. Even after we leave the military, we have a responsibility to become leaders in our communities. ”
These days, after working for some time as a cybersecurity intelligence analyst at Discover, Behr now works as a professional liability and cyber liability broker for Risk Placement Services, a firm in Washington, DC.
In a way quite similar to his Green Berets counterparts, known as the “Quiet Professionals”, who are often reluctant to discuss the dangers of battle, Baer is reluctant to emphasize his activities in the war zone. However, he says that the experience has changed him forever.
Behr is now married to a former Red Cross volunteer who is helping him recover from his injuries.
“I value relationships more than ever,” Behr said.
Ber also participates in the Green Berets Foundation, an organization dedicated to supporting the Green Berets and their families. You can visit the Green Berets Foundation website here.