The pair of MH-60 Blackhawks roared past the target building.

One of the birds came into a hover, and operators started fast-roping. Time was of the essence. They were supposed to have hit this target some minutes before. The ISIS cell leader that was inside might have already left.

An MH-47 Chinook carrying the blocking force landed in a nearby soccer field. Rocket-Propelled Grenades (RPGs) began whizzing through the night air as the terrorists understood their mortal peril.

With a sense of urgency, the operators breached the target building and began flowing smoothly into its rooms. Minutes later, the call went out on the net, “Target secured.” They had captured the High-Value-Individual (HVI) and successfully completed their mission — or so they thought.

Train as You Fight, and Face a Court-Martial

It was a chilly night in March 2019.

The Green Berets of A Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group (A/1/5) were conducting pre-deployment training for an upcoming rotation to Syria. This was their last training mission before they were to be greenlighted for deployment and combat operations.

Master Sergeant John Hasenbein was serving as the Mobility Sergeant Major in the assault force, one of the four main leadership positions during the operation.