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1st SFC hosts free viewing

12 Strong: The Declassified True Story of the Horse Soldiers

Chris Hemsworth stars in the upcoming film 12 Strong, opening Jan. 19. Photo credit: David James - © 2017 HS Film, LLC

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The upcoming movie 12 Strong: The Declassified True Story of the Horse Soldiers, will open in theaters Jan. 19. The much-anticipated film is based on the 2009 best-selling book, Horse Soldiers, by Doug Stanton.

However, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) will host a free premiere of the film Saturday (Jan. 13) at 6 p.m. at Carey Theater on Joint Base Lewis-McChord Main.

The movie will captivate audiences.

Thirty-nine days after 9/11 Task Force Dagger, comprised of CIA paramilitary officers, elements of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, and Operational Detachment Alpha, or ODA, 595 from 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, entered Afghanistan.

Immediately, ODA 595 joined forces with Afghan Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum of the Northern Alliance in order to conduct unconventional warfare against Taliban forces. The unit had successfully formed a relationship with Dostum while also leveraging the centuries-old feuds between the various Afghani tribes to convince them to join in the fight against the Taliban.

The strategy proved successful, and the mission of this coalition force held together by the thin thread of trust turned to take the strategically important city of Mazar-i-Sharif.

As the movie underscores, the Northern Alliance knew the region better than ODA 595 and trained the Americans in tactics that worked well in the mountainous terrain.

Early on, the ODA 595 soldiers learned that they would have to travel on horseback to keep up with their newfound allies. One of the ironic aspects that both the book and the movie highlight is that modern fighters with satellite communications, night-vision goggles and state-of-the-art weapons had to travel on small Afghan ponies.

"We look at the movie as an opportunity to tell this amazing story about the brave servicemembers who faced innumerable challenges against incredible odds," a 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) public affairs official wrote in an email.

"The movie showcases Special Forces and special operations to potential future Army soldiers, and it is an educational tool for those unfamiliar with the Special Forces mission." 

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