When a huge-ass motherfucking explosion rattled the windows in the rec room at the NATO Forward Operating Base in Ghazni Province, Afghanistan, the perpetually-chillin’ dudes of the United States Army First Special Forces Group just yawned, cracked their knuckles, and went back to chewing their gum and using combat knives to clean dirt out from under their fingernails. Yeah, sure, whatever, it was probably just another Taliban mortar or rocket detonating in the general vicinity of the FOB, and freaking out about it like a fucking nerd just because someone is trying to drop a bomb on your head is like the Green Berets equivalent of living in downtown New York City and fleeing your apartment building like you’re running from a Godzilla attack just because a cop car happened to drive by your window with its sirens on.
When they looked out the window and saw a gigantic mushroom cloud of black smoke and a towering jet of flame engulfing the eastern wall of the base, however, shit got real serious real quick.
It was the afternoon of August 28, 2013, and Taliban fighters had just crashed an ungodly-huge 4,000-pound car bomb into the outer defenses of FOB Ghazni, ripping a 40-foot breach in the base’s defenses. Now dozens of enemy warriors, each strapped with a suicide bomb vest and carrying grenades, RPGs, and AK-47s were streaming in through the rubble, firing indiscriminately like assholes with the murderous intent of randomly killing as many of the base’s 1,400 soldiers and civilians as possible. As they stormed ahead, a second group of Taliban initiated a diversionary attack off to the West of the base to draw off the defenders there.
All that stood between the attackers and their primary objectives – most likely the mess hall and base housing – was a narrow airstrip and a half-dozen U.S. Special Forces operators who had been off duty until about twenty seconds ago. But the Taliban assault team was about to find out the hard way why it’s probably not a good idea to fuck with a base full of Green Berets.
Chief Warrant Officer Mark Colbert was one of the first on the scene. The 45 year-old Chief from Spokane, Washington grabbed his rifle and ran from the rec room the moment he saw the smoke, and basically immediately after he got outside a fucking Navy SEAL rode up on an ATV, Colbert jumped on, and they peeled out towards the sound of gunfire. And yes, I realize this sounds like the cover art for the new Call of Duty game or one of those obnoxiously over-the-top fucking webcomics where Gandhi rides a motorcycle mounted on the back of a Stegosaurus in outer space or some shit but this really happened in real fucking life and apparently fully-armed Navy SEALs riding by on ATVs offering rides to pissed-off Green Berets isn’t such a weird thing to see in FOB Ghazni because the news articles I read on this give it like one line and write it off like he’s hailing a fucking cab or some shit.
Anyway, Colbert and the un-named SEAL speed towards the fighting, hop off their ATV, and find themselves in a point-blank firefight against hardcore enemy warriors armed with full-auto AKs and with enough explosive strapped to their nuts to craterize a McDonald’s. And you can say what you want about the Taliban’s methods, beliefs, morality, or whatever, but these guys aren’t pussies. They’re battle-tested warriors who are cunning, savage, resourceful, well-armed, and fight with a downright-terrifying lack of concern for their own mortality. These dudes are tough as shit, and I don’t care how many times you’ve passed SEAL school, you don’t want to be outnumbered by these guys and have them spraying bullets in your face from thirty feet away (which is how far they were from Colbert)
Colbert and the SEAL dropped three of them, but when they went to maneuver to a better defensive position they turned a corner and found themselves face-to-face with six more Taliban, who opened fire immediately. Caught in the open, the SEAL took a bullet to the helmet and one to the leg, dropping him to the ground with non-lethal injuries. Colbert, a stone-cold fucking hardass who gave zero shits, turned back, exposed himself full-on to the enemy, and grabbed his wounded buddy to pull him out of the line of fire. Colbert took a bullet in the leg in the process, but shrugged it off like an FPS hero and still managed to wrench his wounded ally into cover. But now these guys were pinned down by six guys at extreme close range, with only his M4 service rifle and a pistol to hold them off.
It was around this time that he heard the 236-horsepower 4.0-liter V6 engine of a stock Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro pickup truck hauling fucking ass towards him. At the wheel, in true badass fashion, was Sergeant First Class Andrew Busic of the 1st Special Forces Group, barreling ahead while two other Green Berets fired their rifles out the windows like something out of a goddamned Mad Max commercial.
I picture this happening in slow motion, with the truck in mid-air and an explosion behind it, while “America, Fuck Yeah” plays super loud (even though it’s a Japanese car).
Left to right: Sergeant First Class Busic, Staff Sergeant Earl Plumlee, Chief Colbert,
and Sergeant First Class Nate Abkemeier with their Battle Pickup.
Because Humvees are for n00bs.
Andrew Busic, a 33 year-old from Michigan, slammed down the gas, barely flinching as a 7.62mm bullet punched through the windshield just inches above his head. Within seconds, every gun the Taliban had was focused on him, riddling his truck with fire from two directions, and bullets penetrated into the crew cabin and pinged off the chassis. One well-placed 30mm grenade from a Taliban grenade launcher scored a direct hit, embedding itself next to the passenger side headlight, but luckily it didn’t explode and Busic kept careening ahead like an unstoppable murderous vengeance force of patriotism. When the pickup truck full of gunslinging Green Berets got near Colbert, one of Busic’s passengers, Sergeant First Class Nate Abkemeier, quickly dismounted the truck and started spraying the enemy with covering fire, but Busic and his other passenger, Staff Sergeant Earl Plumlee, kept going even motherfucking closer to them, closing to within 50 feet of the enemy.
Busic then slammed the e-brake Vin Diesel style, spinning the truck sideways to provide additional cover to the men behind him, and Busic and Plumlee sprang out of the truck. Busic opened fire with his M4, but Plumlee’s gear became entangled in the door as he exited the truck (we’ve all been there, dude), so he was like “fuck this fucking bullshit,” left his shit stuck in the car door, pulled his pistol like goddamned Wyatt Earp, and started fucking running fifty feet across open ground towards guys with AK-47s and bomb vests shooting his goddamned pistol like a fuckin boss. Busic was right there with him, and both men pressed straight on at the enemy, who all pretty much died on the spot just from a heart attack of seeing something that awesome happen in real life right in front of them.
The immediate danger was dealt with, but more Taliban were streaming in, and the fight was just getting going. For the next hour or so, battle raged across the airstrip, Busic directing fire teams to eliminate the enemy, force them back, and secure the breach against any possible reinforcements. With grenades and bullets flying everywhere, the Green Berets pressed the attack, Busic fighting on even after a mortally-wounded enemy soldier detonated his suicide vest at close quarters and shredded the American soldier with shrapnel at point blank range. Hell, the fucking shit was so intense that it’s not possible for doctors to remove it (the shrapnel is still embedded in Busic’s leg to this day), but in the middle of a firefight with lives on the line this white-knuckle assbeater just walked it off and rubbed some dirt on got right back to the business of planting 5.56mm rounds into the enemies of America. More NATO forces arrived as well – including a team of five men from Polish Special Forces and a couple soldiers from the U.S. 10th Mountain Division – and before long the entire Taliban attacking force was annihilated, the determined enemy warriors fighting to the last man. Not one to leave a job unfinished, Busic immediately jumped back in his truck and raced to the other side of the base to help fight off the diversionary attack that was still going on over there.
Once the smoke and dust finally cleared, there were nearly a dozen enemy dead on the East side of FOB Ghazni, and only one American – Staff Sergeant Michael Ollis of the 10th Mountain Division, who was killed when he dove on a grenade that had landed next to a Polish Lieutenant (Ollis would receive the Silver Star and the Polish Army Gold Medal for his sacrifice… the Lieutenant would name his firstborn son after him). But thanks to his sacrifice, and the badass actions of Busic, Colbert, Plumlee, and the rest of the defenders, the enemy forces, hell-bent on a mass-casualty homicide, never reached the other edge of the airfield.
Busic, for his part, wrote a letter to Toyota of North America thanking them for building such a good truck. Because he’s a classy dude like that. I’ve included the letter in the links because it's fucking fantastic and you should read it.
He and Colbert each received Silver Stars in February. Plumlee was nominated for either a Distinguished Service Cross or a Medal of Honor, but the final decision is still pending. Naturally, all Busic has to say on the subject is this:
“We don’t do our job for awards or accolades. We just do it to serve.”