E.Walker Movie Pick

12 Strong will be proud moment for local Green Beret veteran Stephen Schnell!

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Stephen Schnell had many proud moments as an Army Green Beret. He will experience another one this Friday night. That’s when he and other veterans of the U.S. Army Special Forces  will gather at the Regal Deerfield for the opening of “12 Strong,” the highly anticipated war movie starring Chris Hemsworth. The movie is based on the true story of 12 Green Berets sent on a special mission to fight al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan in the first weeks after the 9/11 attacks. Stephen Schnell says fighting with Afghan militia against a common enemy was exactly the kind of mission the U.S. Army Special Forces was trained and organized for. “It’s an unconventional warfare mission. It’s helping a resistance element overthrow a government in a denied area, and it’s as pure as any unconventional warfare mission that U.S. Army S.F. has ever conducted,” said Schnell, who was just entering the Green Berets at the time.  Schnell serve 21 years in the Army – 12 in Special Forces in Iraq, Africa and Europe.  Stephen Schnell was humbled to meet the Green Beret played by Hemsworth. In 2016, Major Mark Nutsch spoke about the mission he led at the local Green Beret Foundation gala.  Nutsch’s team fought on horseback against a greater, well-organized force, but the Green Berets picked up more and more help as time progress. “With our growing militia force that initially numbered 300, within weeks, as word spread, these Afghan minutemen gathered around their leaders and we raised a militia equivalent of 2,500 horse-mounted cavalry,” Nutsch said in his address here. Schnell called that “incredible.” “With less than 500 guys and a similar number of other agencies’ personnel on the ground, they were able to take down the entire country before Christmas – from Oct. 17 to Dec. 9. They thought it would take months, maybe years,” said Schnell. “No other force in the U.S. military arsenal that can do that. It makes me extremely proud. “Schell said he identified wth Nutsch in a way.“He’s a very interesting guy,” Schell said. “He’s a Midwestern kid.  One of the reasons that he actually ended up on the mission is because he’s an experience horseman. “In the movie, based on the 2009 book Horse Soldiers, Hemsworth’s team is dropped into the rugged mountains of northern Afghanistan and left to convince an Afghan general to join forces with them.  They develop an peculiar bond, but one that grows stronger with each victory.

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