As America’s response to the attacks of September 11, 2001, then Captain Nutsch led a heroic U.S. Army Special Forces 12-man team of Green Berets, designated Operational Detachment Alpha - 595 on an impossible mission into Afghanistan. Inserted by special operations helicopter into Northern Afghanistan, working with their Central Intelligence Agency partners, they were to linkup with and unite the local Afghan armed resistance leadership factions against the Taliban and al Qaeda forces. Greatly outnumbered they spearheaded unconventional warfare operations, raised and equipped a militia army of thousands, while mounted on horseback, fighting alongside their Afghan allies and overcame seemingly insurmountable odds to achieve an unprecedented historic victory.
The “Campaign for Mazar-e Sharif” resulted in liberating the city of Mazar-e Shariff and the 6 Northern Afghanistan provinces within a matter of weeks and is considered the catalyst for the collapse of the Taliban Regime. This is considered one of the most successful Unconventional Warfare campaigns in modern history, a victory that inspired our nation and the peoples of Afghanistan; changed the course of a country and the world.
Mark’s team of Green Beret’s became known as “The Horse Soldiers”. They are the design inspiration of the “America’s Response Monument,” a tribute to our Special Operations Forces and Intelligence Community. Featured in multiple books, museums and as a guest speaker with Keppler Speaker’s Bureau. Mark, the 595 team and their families are featured in the Emmy nominated documentary film “Legion of Brothers”. Mark is portrayed by actor Chris Hemsworth in the 2018 feature film entitled ”12 Strong”.
He deployed repeatedly with multiple combat tours to the Middle East and former Soviet Asian states. Working with the National Labs as a program manager, he led diverse collaborative teams of contract aircrew and intel analysts and conducted ground-breaking manned aerial wide area counter-network surveillance efforts.
Mark, Bob, and their former SF team mates and business partners, now operate a veteran owned, craft distillery brand, American Freedom Distillery in St. Petersburg, FL featuring their premium award-winning, Horse Soldier Bourbon.