“We Fought Every Day That Year”: Task Force Pale Horse in Afghanistan

Jimmy F. Blackmon


COL Jimmy Blackmon grew up in a cotton mill town in north Georgia, and anticipated a lifetime working in the mills when an Army Recruiter presented an alternate path that ultimately led to North Georgia College, Fort Campbell, and eventually Afghanistan, where he commanded Task Force Pale Horse. During his career, COL Blackmon deployed twice to the Balkans, twice to Iraq, and twice to Afghanistan. Some of the greatest changes he noticed during his career related to Mission Command and the amount of trust and empowerment commanders extended to their subordinates. During this interview, COL Blackmon discusses the differences among his multiple deployments, the operational impact of terrain, and the Army’s transformation during the War on Terror. He specifically examines his deployment in 2009, for which Task Force Pale Horse received both the Ellis D. Parker Aviation Unit of the Year Award and the Army Aviation Association of America (AAAA) Combat Unit of the Year Award, becoming the first unit to receive both prestigious awards during the same year. Finally, he addresses leadership lessons, particularly ensuring that Soldiers receive care for Post-Traumatic Stress. COL Jimmy F. Blackmon is the author of “Pale Horse: Hunting Terrorists and Commanding Heroes with the 101st Airborne Division” (2016).


name Jimmy F. Blackmon
institution North Georgia College
graduation year 1991
service Aviation
unit 7th Squadron 17th Cavalry Regiment (Task Force Pale Horse)
service dates 1991