As written by Stavros Atlamazoglou in Brothers of the Cloth
Master Sergeant (Ret.) George E. "Chik" Hand IV, better known as Geo to the public and as His Excellency or Ice-G to the editorial team.
Where to begin? Green Beret, Delta Force operator, Soldier.
Geo served for 10 years with the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta, colloquially known as Delta Force. As the U.S. Army's premier counterterrorism, hostage rescue, and direct action Special Mission Unit (SMU), Delta Force has been at the tip of the spear of the American military ever since the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979. To serve there, a man has to show remarkable consistency and professionalism.
Before his assignment to Delta, Geo served in the 7th and 1st Special Forces Groups as a Green Beret. Throughout his career, Geo deployed to Columbia, Somalia, and the Balkans, among other locations. From reinforcing Task Force Ranger after the Battle of Mogadishu to hunting down war criminals in war-torn Bosnia, Geo has been around. Equally important, he has operated with some Special Operations legends.
I first met him at SOFREP. The man is the ultimate icebreaker. Despite having the most impressive resume on the team, he would be the first to reach out to new writers and make them feel a part of the team. He would never let his heavy workload and other commitments stop him from taking the time to read other writers' pieces and always come up with a unique and insightful remark. Geo doesn't follow the conversation, he contributes to it.
This book has been long in the making and it is a reflection of Geo's character. Aside from the essential childhood part- essential in order to understand the man's origins and perhaps relate to him - each chapter is devoted to an operation, training event, or brother-in-arms. With Geo it's never about him but always about the mission and the fellas. He is perhaps the humblest guy I've ever met. And if you consider his astounding resume, that says something. Humility, however, is just one of his virtues.
A rare wordsmith, Geo is a master of the English language. But it takes more than that to create a compelling memoir, especially one so heavily focused on others. Indeed, it takes empathy and emotional intellect. By empathizing with his subjects, Geo puts you right next to them. You can see them breaching the door; you can smell their sweat after an operation; you can hear the radio chatter and the Little Bird helicopters whooping above; you can sense the joke that's about to crack and send everyone rolling; you can feel the pain of loss and the emptiness that a death carves. That's why readers of all ages and all walks of life rally around his stories.
To be sure, Geo's work isn't a hagiography of his brothers nor of his units. He doesn't shy away from describing a man's faults while still shining light onto his strengths. That also applies to the outfits that he served in. If something wasn't right or up to standard, Geo let's you know. Some might take offense from that. But his honesty produces an authentic, albeit subjective, description of the men he served with and of life at the tip of the spear of America's military.
Speaking of the men, Geo has managed to immortalize operators whose stories and characters would otherwise be known only to a few old teammates and perhaps their families. In that, Geo has succeeded in contributing to American and Special Operations history.
From didactic to dashing to hilarious to poignant, the book encapsulates Geo's military life and the men and experiences that shaped it. At times, it gets dark- very dark. But that darkness can light the path of so many others who might be struggling with their demons.
In the end, there is no better way to sum up Geo than by the following:
Loyal to a fault. An extraordinary wit. A great American.
- Stavros Atlamazoglou
In Honor of CSM James Nelson "Conan" Sudderth