Former MARSOC team member Michael Golembesky has published his second book titled, “Dagger 22” and it goes on sale September 20th. Dagger 22 gives readers a “grittier feel; more aggressive, with a deeper personal story-line” from Ski’s deployment in Afghanistan with his MARSOC team.
Below is a Q&A with Michael Golembesky:
1) You mention in the author’s note at the beginning of Dagger 22, how writing helps you manage some of the mental scars left from combat and personal loss. Can you please elaborate on this since there has been some debate over whether or not military writers should publish their experiences in books or the media?
Ski: The whole writing process provided me with a focused outlet to talk about what I was feeling and how I had perceived the situations I was a part of. Whether or not a military veteran should try to publish their experiences is an extremely personal decision and is not one that is taken lightly. I can only speak for myself when I say that my decision to write the first books portraying Marine Corps special operations in combat was an easy one. As for the people who have already read the first book Level Zero Heroes (2014), it was a promise to my fellow team members. And with the release of Dagger 22, I consider that promise fulfilled.
2) How do your two books, “Level Zero Heroes” and “Dagger 22” differ?
Ski: Same deployment to Afghanistan, same MARSOC team, and keeping true to the story. Dagger 22 has a grittier feel; more aggressive, with a deeper personal story-line of the men readers have come to admire in the first book. Level Zero Heroes had a very defensive and reactive type of operational feel to it, with the Taliban dictating when and where battles would be fought. Dagger 22 represents the other side of that coin. After assisting Coalition Forces in establishing and expanding the “safe area” around Forward Operating Base Todd in the remote northwest region of Afghanistan, the valley plunges into winter as the team takes on a more offensive posture conducting sniper ops, night raids, and reconnaissance missions deep inside enemy controlled territory.
3) You describe Afghanistan as the war that most Americans don’t bother to care about anymore. If you could change anything, what would you do differently on a strategic level to alter the outcome of the war?
Ski: It is unfortunate that our leaders did not have the foresight or wisdom to see that getting into the business of nation building, in the most volatile region of the world was not in the best interest of our nation or military. I am no strategic military scholar, just one of many guys who had a job squeezing triggers and sleeping in the dirt.
4) If the war did not end so abruptly and unexpectedly for you, how do you think your life would be different?
Ski: People who know me and have read these books understand that the choice to leave the military was not made solely by me, the environment and politics within the Armed Forces these days helped. I was trained to drop bombs and kill the enemy. All of this other fairy dust bullshit, no thanks, I passed.
5) What advice can you give for those Marines that are interested in joining MARSOC?
Ski: Read these books, there is a lot more within the pages than just a story. These are the caliber of men that you will be joining the ranks of, deploying with, and eventually replacing.
6) What is next for you? Will you be continue to write, and if so have you thought about fiction?
Ski: That’s the great thing about the future; you never know what’s in store for you. Who knows, maybe I will branch off into the fiction realm of Tom Clancy style of books. We will just have to wait and see. -Ski