038 - Richard Rice on his piece of Operation Cyclone aka “Charlie Wilson’s War”


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110 Days, 3 Missions over an 11,000 foot mountain, 45 “Sensitive Items,” and 10 rather small donkeys

For Episode 038 Rich and Jason are alone in the SCIF at GORUCK HQ for an oral history of Rich’s experiences in Operation Cyclone, also known as “Charlie Wilson’s War.” Rich picks up his story a bit where Episode 003 left off, just after his two tours in Vietnam, and shares what led -- from the fall of Saigon, to SAS Selection in Wales, to the first enlisted person in financial training in Indiana -- to working as a “cog” on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

While it might be helpful to have read George Crile’s book “Charlie Wilson’s War,” or have seen the movie starring Tom Hanks based on it, you don’t need to have to appreciate Rich’s tales. Briefly: in the 1980s, a Congressman from Texas named Charlie Wison made it his mission to secretly arm the Afghan mujahideen against an invasion by the Soviet Union at the height of the cold war. To hide American involvement, support went through Pakistan and was coordinated by an OGA (Other Government Agency aka the CIA) and came in the form of guns, ammo, medical supplies and eventually Stinger Missiles to take down especially Soviet Mi-24 Hind Helicopters.

This is not a typical “by, with and through” Green Beret ODA mission but a Cold War “OGA” Operation. Still it is a story about making a difference -- not a silver bullet but piece by piece -- and as Rich says “it really feels good to have done that.” Make sure to stay tuned for the “it’s a small world” kicker story in Fayetteville, NC.


46 episodes