Ex-special ops Army pilot from Orange County discusses history-making missions in days following 9/11 attacks
Former Army special ops pilot Alan Mack remembers his dangerous call to duty during America’s immediate response to 9/11 like it was yesterday.
“We were determined to succeed,” said Mack. “We didn’t think we’d survive. By Oct. 3 and 4, we are in Uzbekistan or K2.”
Mack’s history-making rescue and attack missions with the elite SOAR aviation regiment inspired the 2018 film “12 Strong” starring Chris Hemsworth.
The now-retired, highly decorated officer lives in Wallkill and is the Orange County deputy commissioner of emergency services.
He sat down with News 12 Friday to share his experiences piloting thousands of hours of special missions that eventually led to al Qaida’s most-wanted leader.
“Eventually we were able to get to Bagram Airbase, which was the key strategic airfield in the entire country,” said Mack. “That allowed us to go after bin Laden, who was in a location called Tora Bora.”
Mack nearly died during one mission when he crashed the Chinook he was piloting with his team on board.
In the meantime, his wife back home was fighting her own battle with opioid addiction that turned fatal, leaving a person who helped so many Americans helpless.
“You want to do all this stuff for the nation, for the public, for the community, but you have a family at home that can suffer while you’re gone.”
Mack is now remarried and has five adult children and four grandchildren in his blended family.
Alan Mack wrote about his history-making military missions and personal experiences after Sept. 11 in a book called, “Razor 03 – A Night Stalkers Wars.”
When he looks back at his service and his role now, he says he’d do it all again.
“People ask me all the time if I miss flying and the answer is usually no. I miss the missions. The missions going after bad guys and stuff. You just transfer that from national service to local community service, and it’s really the same.”