BEIRUT – After a wholly improbable sequence of events, the uncoordinated, ham-fisted Green Berets of ODA 5327 somehow managed to bring stability and order to the entire Middle East, learning a valuable lesson about the importance of friendship in the process.
The force, which only exists because a clerical error created a seventh detachment in the Bravo Company battalion, had to overcome many obstacles even before they were deployed.
“The State Department didn’t want to send us out because they saw us as a bunch of underequipped, out-of-shape misfits,” Captain Eric Fernández said at the ceremony where he and his squadmates received Medals of Honor for their heroism. “Well, we worked extra hard to show them, and we got a little help when every other battalion in the 5th Special Forces Group failed in their missions in the Middle East.”
Even then, the eager but untrained unit had plenty of obstacles to overcome.
“We thought we’d lost our chance after Sparky [SFC James Edison] forgot to shut off the A-10 after our last training exercise and it rolled off the runway and into the Persian Gulf,” Sgt. José “Matador” Morales said. “The superiors were all ready to give him a general discharge and get rid of him, but I got the unit together and we told ‘em that even though we’ve only got eleven soldiers instead of twelve like all the other ODA squads, 5327 is a family, and we stand up for our own. That showed them!”
5327’s situation got still more complex when half the members overslept a critical mission briefing, because they were up late the night before planting tear gas mines around ODA 5322’s barrack, a prank that Staff Sgt. William “Fireball” Chang and SFC Scott “Demoman” Parkin agreed was “totally worth it.” However, it meant that the sleep-deprived and confused force mistakenly flew to Cambodia instead of Kabul. They soon realized their mistake, but not before adopting Jimbo, a lovable macaque who became the unit’s honorary twelfth member, on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City.
Once in Kabul, the Green Berets continued their hijinks. Disobeying orders, they attempted to infiltrate a meeting where local warlords were planning a bomb attack on the Afghan Parliament, only to nearly have their cover blown when 5-foot-8, 300-pound Sgt. Charles “Fatback” Jenkins got stuck in a window.”
“That was the toughest moment of the whole campaign,” Fernández said. “I thought we were going to have to shoot our way out of Afghanistan. Luckily, Jimbo disrupted the meeting when he peed on the ringleader’s head. In the chaos, we took out the four biggest opium tycoons in Central Asia in five minutes.”
“That was the point when we really learned just how important it was for the Green Berets to stick together, and it’s a lesson we never forgot,” added Morales. “Jimbo saved us in Kabul, and we kept him out of the line of fire while we shut down those jihadist cells in Damascus.”
The unit then proceeded to Jerusalem, where Chang singlehandedly repaired Israeli-Palestinian relations with an impassioned two-minute speech atop the Dome of the Rock. Chang modestly deflected praise for the gesture, saying that “it was the right thing to do” and that all he remembered of the evening in question was that it began “when Fatback came into camp carrying ten bottles of 110-proof arak.”
At press time, ODA 5327 had been deployed on a peacekeeping mission in Egypt where, in an accident involving an M1038 Humvee and twelve pounds of C4, Parkin managed to break off the rest of the head of the Great Sphinx of Giza.
– AKS ’15