Jaeger: At War with Denmark’s Elite Special Forces is now available in English for the first time!


“Lose your dreams and you might lose your mind.”

Rolling Stones front man Mick Jagger once said that. And those words might as well have been my own. From childhood games pretending to be a real soldier, to work experience in the Danish Royal Guard as a teenager and the subsequent dreams of entering the prestigious elite military unit, the Jaeger Corps, my dream has been my life.

When I began to dream of a career in the Jaeger Corps, I trained intensively to achieve my goal. The reward came in 1990 when I was 23 years old, having served for five years as a sergeant in the Royal Guard. I had flown through the Corps’ selection process and could finally pull on the burgundy beret, which bears a brass emblem depicting a hunter’s bugle. The years of training had come to fruition. I will always remember the words of my course leader after another exhausting week on the selection course. Eight of the 94 applicants remained at the final evaluation, and he said: “Rathsack, it’s too good to be true.”

I do not write that because I think I am an excellent human being. Absolutely not. I have plenty of weaknesses and negative impulses. But the dream of becoming a Jaeger motivated all the best aspects of my character. I had the privilege of having a clearly defined goal and have been able to focus all my energy on reaching it. No static from every-day life, no disturbances, no worries. I just lived in a black-and-white world, which consisted of eating, sleeping and training. This gave me a psychological focus that enabled me to reach my full potential.

The conventional and predictable life has never appealed to me. I have always had a desire to explore, experience and discover – to feel alive. That’s the key to life for me. I know I would be unhappy if I looked back on a life devoid of intensity and thrills. Thankfully, I have experienced the life I wanted as a soldier in the Jaeger Corps. As a Jaeger.

Initially though, my boyhood dream turned to disillusionment. I came to realise that after three decades of Cold War, the Jaeger Corps and the Danish Defence Command simply were not geared for operative service. It took me some time to acknowledge this, but once I had, I left the Corps to seek new challenges. The decision brought me many new adventures in places such as South America, Afghanistan and the Caucasus, in a diversity of professions such as IT-sales, photography and landmine clearance.