The Men, The Mission and Me: Lessons from a Former Delta Force Commander
by Lt. Col. Pete Blaber
REVIEWED BY SID HEAL
As our reading list was finalized, I was delighted when nine of the 12 recommendations were already highlighted, annotated and in my personal library. I immediately ordered the remaining three and read this one on a cross-country plane trip. It is written in the first person by a former Delta Force Commander who pulls no punches. Within less than 20 pages I knew I had a gem and began highlighting passages and making notes in the margins. One of the most poignant observations he makes I will quote verbatim, “With each battlefield I stepped foot on, and each mission I took part in, I became more and more convinced of the pattern revealing power of a handful of guiding principles.” As many will recognize, this is the essence of tactical science in which courses of action are not cookie cutter solutions but rather an intuitive application of tried and true principles.
The book is a page-turner as Blaber describes the preparations and planning for some of the riskiest and most bizarre missions imaginable. The value of ingenuity and adaptation becomes irrefutable as he cites one incident after another in which plans fell apart for one reason or another. While all the examples are from military special operations, the concepts and principles are equally applicable in law enforcement. I can see why this book was so highly recommended.