Captain David Blakeley is one of the few people in the world who is able to speak about missions behind enemy lines. He was Second in Command of the elite British military unit the Pathfinders, also known as “The Ghost Platoon”. He led the most audacious mission of the Iraq War, commanding a patrol on a mission deep behind enemy lines – the subject of his first book, Pathfinder, which was published in 2012, and was a Sunday Times bestseller. He was amongst the first British soldiers operating in Afghanistan post 9/11, working with Afghan Warlords and irregular forces.
At 21 years old David was the youngest Captain in the British Army. He has presented at military seminars, and was chosen as the British Army representative for a series of NATO ‘Partnership for Peace’ programmes. After a serious injury on a mission he left the military in 2006, but not before regaining full use of all his limbs and 100% physical fitness.
He has since worked as a consultant to film and television companies and a number of high profile computer games including the latest ‘Alien Vs Predator’. He has also fronted a number of advertising campaigns including for HBO.
David’s latest book, Maverick One, the story of his selection into the Pathfinders and his missions in Afghanistan, was published in 2013.
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MAVERICK ONE: THE TRUE STORY OF A PARA, PATHFINDER, RENEGADE
For the first time ever an elite British operator tells the gruelling story of his selection into the Pathfinders – Britain’s secret soldiers. Pathfinder selection is a brutal physical and psychological trial lasting many weeks. It rivals that of the SAS and takes place over the same spine-crushing terrain, in the rain-and-snow-lashed wastes of the Welsh Mountains. For two decades no one has been able to relate the extraordinary trials of British elite forces selection – until now.
Captain David Blakeley goes on from completing selection to serve with the Pathfinders in Afghanistan post 9/11, where he had a gun held to his head by Al Qaeda fighters. From there he deploys to Iraq, on a series of dramatic behind-enemy-lines missions – wherein he and his tiny elite patrol are outnumbered, outgunned and trapped.
MAVERICK 1 is unique and extraordinary, chronicling the making of a warrior. It culminates in Blakeley fighting back to full recovery from horrific injuries suffered whilst on operations in Iraq, to go on to face SAS selection.
PUBLICATION DATE: 23 May 2013
PATHFINDER: A SPECIAL FORCES MISSION BEHIND ENEMY LINES
First in – the official motto of one of the British Army’s smallest and most secretive units, 16 Air Assault Brigade’s Pathfinder Platoon. Unofficially, they are the bastard son of the SAS. And like their counterparts in Hereford, the job of the Pathfinders is to operate unseen and undetected deep behind enemy lines. When British forces deployed to Iraq in 2003, Captain David Blakeley was given command of a reconnaissance mission of such critical importance that it could change the course of the war. It’s the story of nine men, operating alone and unsupported, fifty miles ahead of a US Recon Marine advance and head straight into a hornets nest, teeming with thousands of heavily-armed enemy forces. This is the first account of that extraordinary mission – abandoned by coalition command, left with no option but to fight their way out of the enemy’s backyard. And it provides a gripping insight into the Pathfinders themselves, a shadowy unit, just forty-five men strong, that plies its trade from the skies. Trained to parachute in to enemy territory far beyond the forward edge of battle – freefalling from high altitude breathing bottled oxygen and employing the latest skydiving technology – the PF are unique. Because of new rules introduced since the publication of Bravo Two Zero, there have been no first-hand accounts of British Special Forces waging modern-day warfare for nearly a decade. And no member of the Pathfinders has ever told their story before. Until now. Pathfinder is the only first-hand account of a UKSF mission to emerge for nearly a generation. And it could be the last.
PUBLICATION DATE: 10th May 2012