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Hammerhead Six: How Green Berets Waged an Unconventional War Against the Taliban to Win in Afghanistan's Deadly Pech Valley

4.42  ·  Rating details ·  349 ratings  ·  48 reviews
Two years before the action in Lone Survivor, a Green Berets A Team conducted a very different, successful mission in Afghanistan's notorious Pech Valley. Led by Captain Ronald Fry, Hammerhead Six applied the principles of unconventional warfare to "win hearts and minds" and fight against the terrorist insurgency.

In 2003, the Special Forces soldiers entered an area later c
Hardcover, 382 pages
Published January 19th 2016 by Hachette Books
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Average rating 4.42  · 
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 ·  349 ratings  ·  48 reviews

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Start your review of Hammerhead Six: How Green Berets Waged an Unconventional War Against the Taliban to Win in Afghanistan's Deadly Pech Valley
Jan 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Note: I received this free copy of Hammerhead Six: How Green Berets Waged an Unconventional War Against the Taliban to Win in Afghanistan's Deadly Pech Valley through the Goodreads Giveaway program, with the expectation that a review would follow. Here is my review:

This book gets a strong 4 Stars as an excellent textbook on Special Forces and Unconventional Warfare and on how an SF “A”-team conducted a successful UW mission in Afghanistan‘s Kunar Province, Pech Valley in 2003-2004. To show how d
"Hammerhead Six" is a book that everyone should read. It doesn't glorify war, but tells the story of how a team of Americans made a positive change in a war-torn valley in Afghanistan later known as the Valley of Death. Captain Fry's story of his team's work in the Pech Valley is inspiring and a tribute to the power of understanding and cooperation. It's a grand adventure story as well, told from the viewpoint of an older troop; instead of the scared youth, you get the story through the eyes of ...more
Roger Feenstra
The worst book on war I have read. The U.S. could have sent volunteers from the Peace Corps to do what these Green Berets did. It would have saved us millions of dollars.
Jul 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Captain Ronald Fry, leader of the Special Forces unit tasked to win over the hearts and minds in a huge swath of land in the Pech Valley, Afghanistan, ably recounts the experiences and lessons the team learned during their deployment in 2003 in remote and potentially dangerous place. I was unaware that Captain Fry is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints until I got into the book, and his unique perspective sheds light on several keys that made this mission successful to bo ...more
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely great read. The author makes it enjoyable and easy to read while also teaching relevant lessons about UW and leadership in the complex operational environment of today's world.
James Chally
Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
I give this 2.5 stars. Reading this is kind of like the story you get after you separate two kids who were fighting on the playground and you pull one of them aside to find out what happened. Everything is interpreted through his biased lens; this is probably best illustrated in the chapter ‘High Noon’ which he offers up as yet another example of how he undermined support for local insurgents through what I guess he classifies as psychological warfare. Anyone who has spent any time in this count ...more
May 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Telling it true

This isn't a book long on firefights and midnight raids. This is a book about how a Green Beret force won over the hearts and minds of "the enemy" by understanding where they were and who they were interacting with. These gents did what Green Berets are supposed to do, and multiplied the force strength of indigenous personnel through training and diplomacy. Hats off to Hammerhead Six for not seeing a world filled with nails. I think they were onto something.
Jun 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: military, afghanistan
Fantastic account of how Special Forces (Green Berets) did what so many others in uniform could not. To get an area of operations under control by way of kindness, appreciation, respect, and a little gunfire in Afghanistan with only 60 Americans and 100 Afghans is monumental. It shows that fighting an unconventional war in an unconventional way works. They fought the war they were in and not the war they want. A great read!
Aug 23, 2019 rated it liked it
PG-13: audiobook
Book club
This is an amazing example of how unconventional warfare can be successful in building bridges for future relationships in contrast to conventional warfare (which is obviously necessary but with different outcomes).
Definitely not an easy read due to the military lexicon/acronyms, made for a choppy read.
Still really appreciate what a small force was able to accomplish under the direction of Captain Frye. Amazing what respect and relationship building can do.
Benjamin Neely
Jul 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was a great book! It provides some detail in to the early successes in the Pech valley. Understanding those early successes, and seeing the changes since then is telling. I think if we had kept with CPT Fry's strategy we would be in a much better position than we are now. I f you like military history, this is a great book.
Rich Beckwith
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Simply …

Romans 12:20-21

20-On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

21-Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
A Burrow
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent unconventional methods to win conventional wars. An absolute read and strategy for today and the future.

Excellent unconventional methods to win conventional wars. Should be a required read for military strategy for today and the future.
Jan 09, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways
I received this book from a goodreads giveaway. Thank you! This book was hard to read for me because I'm not too familiar with all the military jargon and acronyms he was using. However, I thought it was a very interesting story about one group's experience in Afghanistan.
Nov 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It illustrates the dynamic difference in terms of conventional warfare vs unconventional warfare and why it takes a different breed of soldier to do more than just kill the “bad guys” Green berets are the best the US has to offer to make the world a better place.
Mar 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: misc-read
I won this book through Goodreads. Wow. Really incredible group of soldiers. Beautifully written and so crazy, scary, heartwarming, inspiring. So glad to have read this.
Jul 20, 2017 rated it liked it
A good reminder of how to fight unconventional warfare in a country as Afghanistan.
Vietnam is a classic example of WWII mentality of losing a conflict.
Diana West
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fry writes with veracity and humility:

His expertise in-theatre and his frank, descriptive honesty make this a textbook must! What a patriot! What an honest-to-gosh hero!
Nov 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent read for all current and future SOF operators. Also provides key insight from an unconventional perspective for those who are so interested.
Ben Prill
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simply outstanding! This Captain was mature beyond his years. As a CGO in the armed forces, I am adding him to my list of role models.
Mar 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Imagine where we’d be if this ODAs successes had been repeated....many years and lives later, we’re still in the same places where this SF A Camp had such success.......
Apr 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An excellent account of modern Special Forced, and how they should be deployed...many lessons to be learned/ studied
Apr 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A unique book about war, where the focus isn’t on body count, but building and protecting a community, and how that prevented the enemy from being effective.
Jessica Crouse
Mar 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received a copy of this book from the publisher Hachette Books through the Goodreads Giveaways program.

I found this book to be very informative and interesting. The voice of Captain Ronald Fry lends an interesting perspective and invited me to understand the complicated environment of the Pech Valley in that time as well as the nuances of unconventional warfare. As I was reading, I appreciated the reflections that tied in the history of the region and dynamics of previous conflicts in Afghanis
Mar 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A "should read" for current military personnel

An insiders look into how conflicts can be be resolved without hate and a large body count. Recommended for all current military.
Jan 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
The weekend that I finished this book, two migrants from Afghanistan were arrested in Uppsala, Sweden, in connection with a three-hour gang rape of a woman that was broadcast on Facebook Live. This book describes how a team of Green Berets set up a Forward Operating Base, called Camp Blessing, in the Pech Valley in Afghanistan in the mid-2000s. While a part of the mission was to capture known terrorists in the region, a larger part of the mission was to protect the inhabitants of the region, and ...more
May 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A glimpse into how an unconventional war could be "won".

In 2003, an elite team of twelve US Army Special Forces Soldiers were sent into one of the most dangerous provinces in Northeastern Afghanistan. Their mission was a unique one: set up the first Special Forces "A" camp since the Vietnam to train and interact with the locals to fight back against the Taliban insurgency. In the year that followed, the Special Forces team revealed one of the most successful counterinsurgency missions ever condu
Jason Wills
Feb 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I bought the book because I have met Ron Fry and heard him describe some of his Pech Valley experiences. This is a well written narrative of Unconventional Warfare that has some excellent lessons for anyone interested in gaining insight into the day to day life of guerrilla war.
Instead of a war story with a background of faceless civilians and endless explosions, this gives a glimpse of life in a country where normal citizens are caught between horrific neighbors (or friends and relatives) and
Craig Bowman
Apr 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is different than most Afghan War military books. It shows how the Green Berets take a different approach then let's say the Marines or standard army approach of staying behind barbed wire fences on bases and only leaving their base to go on search and destroy missions. The Green Berets infiltrate themselves into the local communities and work with locals to build aid stations and repair infrastructure to build trust with the village elders. They grow long beards like the locals and of ...more
May 09, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
First off, despite the title, this is not a book about a bunch of Green Berets fending off massed Taliban assaults on an indefensible outpost in Alamo or Rorke's Drift style.

Instead, it is an intelligent account by a smart Green Beret captain on how his team of twelve trained 100+ Afghans to win the hearts and minds of the local populace. His unit's tour of duty lasted less than a year but it seems to have been a text book application of counter insurgency doctrine, how a US citizen would want
Dave Crowder
Nov 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a well-written account of a truly amazing story. What Captain Fry and his fellow soldiers accomplished in Afghanistan is truly remarkable. It breaks my heart and frustrates me that this story hasn't been widely told in the military and in our country. Our military efforts in Afghanistan and other countries would be so much more effective if the strategies and tactics that these Green Berets used to win hearts and minds were studied and used in other military campaigns. Anyone interested ...more
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US Army Captain Ronald Fry was born in Diamond Bar, California. He attended Brigham Young University and served as a missionary in France and Switzerland for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Fry entered military service in 1996. Fry is a third-generation veteran who served in the 82nd Airborne Division and as a Special Forces team leader in Afghanistan. The mission to the Pech Vall ...more

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