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Publisher's Summary

On April 6, 2003, 26 Green Berets, including those of Sergeant First Class Frank Antenori's Special Forces A-Team (call sign Roughneck Nine One), fought a vastly superior force at a remote crossroads near the village of Debecka, Iraq. The enemy unit had battle tanks and 150 well-trained, well-equipped, and well-commanded soldiers. The Green Berets stopped the enemy advance, then fought them until only a handful of Iraqi survivors finally fled the battlefield.

In the process, the Nine One encountered hordes of members of the news media. And at the peak of the fight, a US Navy F-14 dropped a 500-pound bomb into the middle of a group of supporting Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, killing and wounding dozens.

Roughneck Nine One is the never-before-told, unsanitized story of the fight for the crossroads at Debecka, and a unique inside look at a Special Forces A-team as it recruits and organizes, trains for combat, and eventually fights a battle against a huge opposing force.

©2006 Frank Antenori and Hans Halberstadt (P)2006 Tantor Media, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"...Antenori's memoir offers a gritty inside look at a Special Forces team at war." (Publishers Weekly) "A notable contribution to the literature on both the Iraq war and the capabilities of special-ops units." (Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • John
  • Rex, GA, USA
  • 10-07-08

Excellent narrative

I really liked this book. It is, however, a tactical narrative. There's really nothing about human drama or character development and stuff like that. If you want to know what modern combat is like this book is perfect. It's a battle from a Special Forces' unit's perspective, well told, and nothing more. I recommend it if you're interested in learning about warfare.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Tomio
  • Oakland, CA, USA
  • 10-16-09

Excellent First-Hand Accout of SF in Iraq

While I love stories--especially books, but just about all other media--about gung-ho, testosterone-driven SOF missions, I'm always a little suspicious of the content's authenticity; especially when its a first-hand account of some super-secret, confidential, need-to-know operation you've almost never heard of. But the Battle of Debecka Pass is probably one of the most well-known of SOF battles in Iraq, perhaps because--as Antenori explains in the book--his primary job after the fact was to tell his story. And in "Roughneck" he does it extremely well, never veering off into the dubious land of self-mythologizing and John Wayne/Green Beret legend. Instead the book is grounded in innumerable--though interesting--details,and Antenori is just as concerned with telling THE STORY, as he is in telling HIS STORY (if that makes any sense).

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Pulls few punches

In Roughneck Nine-One Frank pulls few punches. While there are some details that obviously cannot be divulged, Frank does a great job painting vivid images of not only the main battle, but the path leading up to it. His descriptions of events are engrossing and the reader soon finds himself swept up in the pace of battle. The characters are well developed, the action is hot, and the simple objectivity and decisiveness of Frank's character lend great credit to himself and his story-telling.

This is also a great read for those who know the familiar burden of political BS that somehow runs around bitting people in the ass in the military, and an eye opener to those who do not.
One would be uninformed to think that even Special Forces teams are immune to red tape and political wrangling.

All around, a great read! Couldn't put it down.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Chip
  • Miami Shores, FL, United States
  • 10-14-11

Outstanding Insight into present day Special Force

What did you love best about Roughneck Nine-One?

Having served in Special Forces during the Vietnam Era, I was particularly interested to see that while some things have changed over the years, the core issues which define U.S. Army Special Forces remain the same. This non-fiction novel offers extraordinary insight into the nature of the

What about Patrick Lawlor’s performance did you like?

Patrick Lawlor's peformance was outstanding. Although initially, I thought his voice to be a bit out of pitch, as the story unfolded, it fit in precisely with SFC Antenori and conveyed a precise image of the persons as well as the events unfolding in the story.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Several moments. Interactions between ranking commanders and team 391 (particularly the all too familiar WPPA candidate Major X), as well as the battlefield leadership scenarios which inspired and encouraged individuals within the teams.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Only problem

This is a good listen, however, the use of money litany acronyms is why over the top.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Conventional Military Book, Competently Read

A wholly conventional book of this type, and well-worth the sale price I paid for it. The usual characters all show up: the unlikable journalists, the incompetent superiors, the unwieldy military bureaucracy, and so on.

I liked the account of the training mission. The idea that the higher-ups would pull everyone out of something like that to make them attend a lecture on domestic violence is too stupid not to be true.

Recommended, of course, for fans of military non-fiction.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Xavier
  • Los Angeles, CA, United States
  • 02-18-12

Enjoyed it!

Loved all the modern weapons technology. Enjoyed the plot, characters, and insight into Special Forces challenges with unit commanders, other units-our own and friendly allies, and the enemy. I enjoyed a lot and recommend.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Andrew
  • Las Vegas, NV, USA
  • 03-18-10

Well written - Great Book

Frank Antenori puts together a well written narrative. Well written meaning the organization and structure of his thoughts demonstrate real skill in writing. Some books of this genre are written on a Jr. High level. I would like to say thank you to Frank Antenori for having the courage to kill the enemy, not be conflicted about it, and for telling his story.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Pass on this one

Black Hawk Down was far more urgent and dire than this account. The main theme for this story was, it's a wonder anything gets done with all the turf battles and chain of command conflicts. Special Forces are indeed well trained and hard charging and while these guys were in fact outnumbered, they had far superior technology. With all the missles and CAS at hand, one team could have handled the situation. Hunker down on the hillside and lob pin point, high tech ordinance at the enemy. The friendly fire caused more death and havoc than the Iraqis did. Overall the writing was dry, repetitive and uninvolving. While any battlefront is inherently dangerous, picture multiple news crews trying to interview the soldiers in Mogadishu. This was work to listen to.

13 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Great story, bad writing

A compelling story. The soldier that wrote the book would have benefited from more guidance by a professional writer.

The events recounted can stand superbly on their own. Unfortunately, excessive “John Wayne” type comments detracted from the power of the events. I can not overstate the courage and skill of the men involved in the account, but the over the top commentary made the book hard to listen to.

The narrator is better suited for a different genre. He is good, but his style accentuated the already trite prose.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful