Why do I feel like I must title this photograph “Speedy and Bob’s Excellent Adventure”? I’m not sure how excellent it was, but I’m certain that a degree of adventure was involved.
Bonus Content – The Mission, The Men and Me
“The Mission, The Men and Me” was a book written by Delta operator Pete Blaber. What follows below is an excerpt from that book:
India team had only three men. Not the optimal number for a mission such as this one, but what they lacked in numbers, they more than made up for in skill and experience. The team leader was a thirty-six-year-old Kentuckian we called Speedy. He did everything — run, shoot, and talk — fast.
Born and raised in rural western Kentucky, Speedy grew up in the woods. Legend had it he once shot an acorn out of a squirrel’s paws — with a BB gun. Speedy’s partner was a man I considered to be the poster child of a Delta operator. Bob [Horrigan] was born, raised, and still longed to return to Austin, Texas.* He was all-around fit as anyone in the Unit and like Speedy, a word-class hunter who never came home from a hunt empty-handed.
*Bob was killed in action in Iraq on June 17, 2005. “Every man dies, but not every man truly lives.” Bob truly lived, for family, for nation, and for the guys around him.
As I told Sean Naylor, “If you needed two men to track a chipmunk in a hundred-thousand-acre forest and kill it with one bullet, these were the two.” Although two operators were less than I would have said were needed for a mission such as this, these two were living proof of why you never say never with regard to rules governing tactics. Having Speedy and Bob on a team together was like having Daniel Boone and Simon Kenton together in the frontier days — as hunters and athletes, they had no peer anywhere.
…. After a kilometer of moving together, the teams split toward their individual Ops. India team’s route was short and steep; a seven-kilometer movement seemed like park strolling compared to the “into thin air” movement they made during their environmental recon just three days earlier. At 10,500 feet, India’s team of three stopped just short of the edge of the cliff.
All three India team members laid down flat to avoid being silhouetted from below. After unshouldering his ruck, Bob [Horrigan] scootched forward on his belly. He stopped behind a small pile of rubble. Canting his head slowly, he spied the valley below. His eyes and ears strained to detect any unnatural noise or movement; Bob was focused, like a man whose finely tuned autonomic nervous system is programmed to maintain perfect equilibrium between the thrill of the hunt and the thrill of the chase.
Bob understood his status as both the hunter and the hunted. He liked it that way. If you could have peered back through his thermal scope, you would have seen an unmistakable gleam in his eyes — it was the gleam of pure, unadulterated courage. Courage has been called a contradiction in terms, meaning a strong desire to live manifests as a readiness to die. It described Bob and his mates to a tee.