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Level Zero Heroes

The Story of U.S. Marine Special Operations in Bala Murghab, Afghanistan

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


A New York Times Best seller!

In Level Zero Heroes, Michael Golembesky follows the members of U.S. Marine Special Operations Team 8222 on their assignment to the remote and isolated Taliban stronghold known as Bala Murghab as they conduct special operations in an effort to break the Taliban's grip on the Valley. What started out as a routine mission changed when two 82nd Airborne Paratroopers tragically drowned in the Bala Murghab River while trying to retrieve vital supplies from an air drop that had gone terribly wrong. In this one moment, the focus and purpose of the friendly forces at Forward Operating Base Todd, where Team 8222 was assigned, was forever altered as a massive clearing operation was initiated to break the Taliban's stranglehold on the valley and recover the bodies.

From close-quarters firefights in Afghan villages to capturing key-terrain from the Taliban in the unforgiving Afghan winter, this intense and personal story depicts the brave actions and sacrifices of MSOT 8222. Readers will understand the hopelessness of being pinned down under a hail of enemy gunfire and the quake of the earth as a 2000 lb. guided bomb levels a fortified Taliban fighting position.
A powerful and moving story of Marine Operators doing what they do best, Level Zero Heroes brings to life the mission of these selected few that fought side-by-side in Afghanistan, in a narrative as action-packed and emotional as anything to emerge from the Special Operations community contribution to the Afghan War.

From Publishers Weekly

Jul 07, 2014 – Former U.S. Marine Michael "Ski" Golembesky tells the engaging story of his unit, Special Operations Team 8222, in action on the ground in Afghanistan from October to December of 2009 and while it's not quite military propaganda, it certainly paints an overwhelmingly positive portrait of the U.S. Marines. Golembesky kept a journal in Afghanistan and he wrote this book "as a sort of catharsis." But his project soon evolved into a mission to showcase the wartime service of his fellow Marines in Afghanistan. To do so, he focuses on a mission in which his 23-member special-ops team (call sign Dagger 22), operating out of Forward Operating Base Todd in the mountainous Bala Murghab River Valley in northwest Afghanistan, went after an entrenched Taliban stronghold. Golembesky vividly depicts the engagement, which became known as Operation Hero Recovery and involved vicious ground combat. There are military acronyms galore and plenty of reconstructed dialogue in this paean to the Marines on the ground doing the grunt work in America's longest armed conflict. But Golembesky's condemnation of the "rules with which our nation's leaders have decided to fight the war in Afghanistan" will prove controversial.

Customer Reviews

A Tribute to Those Who Serve

A great Story, told Superbly. This is one of the finest books I’ve read on modern combat. The author(s) have created a tribute to the fine men with whom he served, and tells the raw yet thoughtful story of his own experiences in Afghanistan. Semper Fi means ‘Always Faithful’, and this book exemplifies this authors lasting Faith with his own band of brothers. To the Author: Thank you for your Service, and thank you for keeping the faith as you related your experience. RESPECT.

Great guy, great story.

Many have war stories, few are brave enough to share them.


I don't believe I've ever enjoyed a book so thoroughly! Not a single dull chapter. It brought Afghanistan right back to life for me. It described scenarios, feelings, and things in ways I always wish I could have, all while putting you right along in the passenger seat through Dagger 22's incredible personal story. Highly recommend this read!

Level Zero Heroes
View in iTunes
  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Military
  • Published: Sep 02, 2014
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Seller: Macmillan
  • Print Length: 320 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings

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