The world’s most elite military special forces met up at a military compound in Jordan to compete in what organisers call “the Olympics of counterterrorism.”
Contributing editor to Rolling Stone Magazine Josh Eells was there for the competition, which consisted of 32 teams from 17 countries and the Palestinian territories.
Eells breaks it down:
Over the next four days, the teams would raid buildings, storm hijacked jets, rescue hostages and shoot targets with live ammunition, all while being scored for speed and accuracy.
The competition was held at the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training centre (King Abdullah was actually a special operations soldier), and if you want to find out the overall winner, you’ll have to read the whole thing.
In the meantime, here are just a few of the coolest portions of the piece:
The truth was, Team America wasn’t actually called Team America. It was a nickname they chose for themselves, after the movie by the “South Park” creators — a sendup of patriotism that they knowingly repurposed as actual patriotism. Their official name was Team I.D.S., for International defence Systems — a military supplier that specialised in tactical equipment and ballistics gear. In keeping with the corporate outsourcing of war, I.D.S. was a sponsor of the competition. The team was here not to represent the United States, but to promote the brand.
“When you’re on that Black Hawk at 2 in the morning, on your way to target, and the bad guy you’ve been hunting for months is in that building, and there’s 25 guys with machine guns and only 6 of you — that’s a thrill you’ll never forget.”
The next morning, the Chinese jumped out to an early lead, winning the first three events. They were well on their way to winning the overall trophy. Watching them conquer an event called Method of Entry — breaking down three doors, scaling the side of a building, shooting a series of steel targets and sprinting back to the start — was simultaneously impressive and terrifying. Team America, who spent the previous night in their barracks drinking contraband rum, had trouble getting inside: they wasted five minutes trying to open the door the wrong way and finished near the middle of the pack.
That night, everyone loaded onto buses for a team mixer at the Intercontinental Hotel. “I hope they have karaoke,” Carey said. He turned to A. in the seat behind him. “How do you say ‘Call Me Maybe’ in Arabic?”
“Ismeh robbama?” A. said. It meant, literally, “My name is Maybe.”
But more often than not, he seemed uncomfortable with the attention. “These are just competition teams,” Brian sniffed one afternoon. “A.’s not a competitor — he’s a killer.” A. gave a halfhearted smile and looked away.
On stage at the hotel’s grand ballroom, two dozen trophies were laid out: 500 pounds of custom bronze, cast in the shape of Spartan helmets, crests and all. “Pretty pimp, huh?” Bill Patterson said to Fred.
“Really pimp,” Fred said.
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