Level Zero Heroes: The Story of U.S. Marine Special Operations in Bala Murghab, Afghanistan

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9781250030405: Level Zero Heroes: The Story of U.S. Marine Special Operations in Bala Murghab, Afghanistan

A New York Times Best seller!

In Level Zero Heroes, Michael Golembesky follows the members of U.S. Marine Special Operations Team 8222 on their assignment to the remote and isolated Taliban stronghold known as Bala Murghab as they conduct special operations in an effort to break the Taliban's grip on the Valley. What started out as a routine mission changed when two 82nd Airborne Paratroopers tragically drowned in the Bala Murghab River while trying to retrieve vital supplies from an air drop that had gone terribly wrong. In this one moment, the focus and purpose of the friendly forces at Forward Operating Base Todd, where Team 8222 was assigned, was forever altered as a massive clearing operation was initiated to break the Taliban's stranglehold on the valley and recover the bodies.

From close-quarters firefights in Afghan villages to capturing key-terrain from the Taliban in the unforgiving Afghan winter, this intense and personal story depicts the brave actions and sacrifices of MSOT 8222. Readers will understand the hopelessness of being pinned down under a hail of enemy gunfire and the quake of the earth as a 2000 lb. guided bomb levels a fortified Taliban fighting position.
A powerful and moving story of Marine Operators doing what they do best, Level Zero Heroes brings to life the mission of these selected few that fought side-by-side in Afghanistan, in a narrative as action-packed and emotional as anything to emerge from the Special Operations community contribution to the Afghan War.

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Review:

Sean Parnell Talks with Michael Golembesky about Level Zero Heroes

Two combat veterans from polar-ends of Pennsylvania turned authors, Sean Parnell of Outlaw Platoon (from Pittsburgh) and Michael Golembesky of Level Zero Heroes (from Philadelphia) have a candid talk about the first book to tell the story of Marine Corps Special Operations.

Michael Golembesky in Afghanistan

SP: So you root for the Pittsburg Penguins, Steelers?

MG: No. Flyers and the Eagles, even when they suck, which seems to be all the time now.

SP: You promised your team members that if you lived through the experience, you'd share their story with America. What do you most hope to convey?

MG: Hope and Courage. This book gives the American people an uncanny look, not only into the little known world of Marine Special Operations, but also a blunt and unapologetic look at the Afghan War. I want readers to walk away with a better understanding of the war and what these men had to endure from both the enemy and from within. This book was written in a way that makes the reader feel as if they are a member of the team, drawing their own conclusions, knowing what it’s like to be ambushed and to feel the heat from a 2,000 pound bomb detonating 200 meters away.

SP: MARSOC is the Marines’ Special Operations unit and not much has been written on them. Why is that, what makes them unique among spec ops groups?

MG: What makes them unique? They are Marines, enough said. (haha) The Marine Corps officially joined and began operating under U. S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) in 2006, so it is relatively new as compared to Navy SEAL, CAG and Army Special Forces. Although MARSOC teams have been operating heavily in Afghanistan since then, the right story has just not surfaced, until now. The story of Marine Special Operations Team 8222 is nothing short of amazing.

SP: Leaving no man behind is an important ideology in America's military and a big part of the story of LZH. What does it mean to you, specifically?

MG: When the 82nd Airborne lost two of our paratroopers while trying to secure pallets of supplies from an airdrop that had blown off course, nothing could stand in our way to recover their bodies; even as the Taliban threw everything they had at us. No one gets left behind, no one.

Sean Parnell

SP: In your opinion, what's the biggest thing civilians don't understand about what it's like in to be in the middle of a firefight?

MG: Fear. Overcoming it, using your commitment and responsibility to protect your brothers on the left and right of you; using that to rise above the fear and to crush the enemy on their own turf, in the rain, the mud, subfreezing temperatures and stifling heat, the Taliban and America’s enemies don’t own the fight, we do.


About the Author:

STAFF SERGEANT MICHAEL GOLEMBESKY served 8 years with the United States Marine Corps and is a combat veteran of the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars. Golembesky served as a Joint Terminal Attack Controller with Marine Special Operation Team 8222 (MARSOC).

JOHN R. BRUNING is the author or collaborating writer on sixteen non-fiction books, including the bestseller Outlaw Platoon, House to House, Shadow of the Sword and The Devil's Sandbox: With the 2nd Battalion, 162nd Infantry at War in Iraq.

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