Guns and Gear

Secret Mission: The Horse Soldiers Of 9/11

(Photo by SANAULLAH SEIAM/AFP via Getty Images)

Alex Quade Freelance War Reporter
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Editor’s note: Today The Daily Caller is proud to present again Alex Quade’s gripping video documentary about the first American servicemen to enter Afghanistan after the 9/11 terror attacks. This report earned TheDC the prestigious Edward R. Murrow Award, along with the American Legion’s Fourth Estate Award and a Bronze Telly Award.

It was the news the world breathlessly waited for immediately after the 9/11 terror attacks: a report of the first American troops on the ground in Afghanistan.

All at once the world’s attention focused on an iconic photo of those Special Operations Forces doing something no American military had done in nearly a century: They rode horses into combat.

Their secret mission: secure northern Afghanistan by advising the warring tribal factions that formed the Northern Alliance. During the 2011 Veterans Day Parade on November 11, a new monument to these men — and to all Americans in uniform — made its way down New York City’s famed Fifth Avenue on the way to its final home, a stone’s throw from Ground Zero.

Military men and women, along with New York City firefighters, policemen, emergency responders and other marchers, 50,000 in all, will escort the monument on its televised journey. The spectacle will feature members of the three original Special Operations teams — some on horseback, others walking alongside surviving spouses of fallen heroes.

Retired Army general and current CIA director David Petraeus was among the parade marshals. Hollywood producer Jerry Bruckheimer is producing a future movie about America’s “Horse Soldiers.”

The spirit of the elite forces who rode on that dangerous and unprecedented mission in Afghanistan — the men depicted in this short film — was the monument’s inspiration. War reporter Alex Quade tracked down some of those courageous American commandos. She obtained their permission, and that of their commanding officers, to share their personal stories, their names, their faces, and their mission photos. This footage and most of these photos have never been seen before.

John Vigiano is a former marine and retired New York fire captain who lost two sons at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. John Jr. was a firefighter. Joe was a New York City police officer.

“We are all in this equally, but in a different capacity,” Vigiano told Quade. “President Bush called us [in New York] ‘the first casualties of the war’ … we may have responded first to the attack, but the Special Forces took it to them on their turf,” Vigiano says. “The Horse Soldiers picked up the standard from us, here in the USA, and brought it to them in Afghanistan.”

“In every sense of the word,” he said, “they were an extension of our sons.”

Join Alex Quade as she takes us along for a ride with “The Horse Soldiers of 9/11” — brought to you exclusively by The Daily Caller.

Note: The Green Beret Foundation is helping subsidize the creation and transportation of this remarkable monument to America’s uniformed heroes. To make a tax-deductible contribution, click here.



War Reporter Alex Quade recently returned from nearly 18 months covering U.S. Special Operations Forces on combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Quade worked at Fox News Channel before heading overseas in 1998 to cover war zones and hostile environments as a freelance journalist, mostly for CNN. She embeds with elite combat units for several months at a time to produce special series and documentaries.

During her career, Quade has been embedded with every branch of the U.S. military.

She is the recipient of the Congressional Medal Of Honor Society’s Tex McCrary Award For Excellence In Journalism, awarded “for her courageous reporting and honest news coverage” in war zones. Prior recipients of this prestigious award include Tom Brokaw, Mike Wallace, Tim Russert and Paul Harvey.