As the Nation's first responder overseas, Master Sergent Todd Nichols "Cowboy 187" Green Beret of the 5th SFG (A) was given the mission to hunt down those responsible for the 9/11 attacks and bring them to justice. His Special Forces team faced enormous operational challenges and were required to rapidly adapt 21st century combat technologies and tactics into age old Central Asian models of guerilla and tribal warfare as they partnered with the Afghan tribes of the Northern Alliance. Needing suitable transportation to navigate the difficult mountainous terrain of Northern Afghanistan, the Special Forces Operational Detachment 564 "Damn Cowboys"– Alpha (SFOD-A), or A-team, were provided horses by the Afghan tribes they were supporting. The Green Berets readily accepted this superior form of mobility and proceeded to assist and advise the Northern Alliance fighters from horseback, similar to the cavalry days of old. Coordinating military operations while on horseback with local tribal warlords, this Green Beret accomplished in weeks what many thought would take months, if not years; defeating the Taliban and pushing surviving members of al-Qaeda into the mountains of Pakistan. Soon thereafter, Cowboy187 the Green Beret would adopt the familiar title of Horse Soldier. In honor of the victims of the 9/11 attacks, this Green Beret carried with him a piece of steel recovered from the rubble that was the World Trade Center. At the site where his A-team completed their mission, he respectively buried a piece of the World Trade Center steel and a properly folded American flag. As the first unit to invade Afghanistan and take the fight to those responsible, the burial ceremony in Afghanistan would forever bond the Green Berets of the 5th SFG (A) to the New York City first responders. It was a bond formed from an understanding and an ability to relate to those first responders who risked their lives to go to the aid of others.
Todd Nichols was born and raised in a small town in Mississippi. After high school graduation, Todd joined the Army and soon after became a Green Beret, 5th Group Special Forces (Airborne) He has twenty years of military experience, serving as a Green Beret for fourteen of those years. During his fourteen years as a Green Beret, Todd served five combat deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. He served as a sniper instructor for the United States Army Special Forces Sniper School. Along with being a sniper instructor, Todd is also an experienced instructor of military operations, having served within the United States and countries abroad. These countries include Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Pakistan, Jordan, Maldives, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Thailand, Singapore, Japan, Korea, China, Australia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Germany, the Netherlands, and Turkey.
Todd is also an experienced Jumpmaster who has earned the awards of the Jordanian, Thai, and Korean Parachutist Wings. He has completed over three hundred and sixty parachutist jumps in countries across the world.
Todd's military education consists of an Advanced Leaders Course, Blackwater Custom Tactical Training, a Combat Lifesaver Course, a Combatives Level One Course, a Department of Defense High Risk Survival Training Course, a Department of Defense Hostage Survival Course, a Mid-South Combat Pistol/Rifle Marksman Course, a Senior Leaders Course, a Fast Rope Masters Course, a Repel Masters Course, a Master Drivers Course, and a Warrior Leaders Course. Todd has handled every weapon the military has to offer --pistols, rifles, shotguns and was one of 16 that tested the New SCAR (special combat assault rifle). Todd was the demolition engineer on the team. "yea, I have blown up a few things".
Having completed a Russian Special Operations Forces Basic Military Language Course, Todd is fluent in the Russian language.
Being a decorated war veteran, Todd has earned himself numerous medals, badges, citations, and campaign ribbons. These honors include an Iraq Campaign Medal with five campaign stars, two Bronze Stars, two Joint Service Commendation Medals, two Army Commendation Medals, a Joint Service Achievement Medal, three Army Achievement Medals, an Overseas Service Ribbon, a Combat Infantryman Badge, a Gold Recruiter Badge, an Air Assault Badge, a Meritorious Unit Award, six Good Conduct Medals, two National Defense Service Medals, a Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, a Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and three Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbons. Along with these military achievements, Todd has also competed in the President's One Hundred and the National Trophy Match.
In the wake of September 11, 2001, the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), also known as the Legion, was called upon to play a major role in our Nation's defense. Within hours of the terrorist attacks, Soldiers from the Group were deployed in support of the Global War on Terror.
From October 2001 through April 2002, Special Forces Operational Detachments – Alpha (SFOD-A), or A- teams, from the 5th SFG (A) conducted Unconventional Warfare against Taliban and Al Qaeda forces.
Individuals from these Green Beret A-teams have been recognized as "Horse Soldiers" due to their requirement to advise and assist their Afghan counterparts, formed under the moniker of the Northern Alliance, while riding horseback, a form of transport not used in the U.S. military since the cavalry of old.
In less than six months the 5th SFG (A), a regimental-sized force, effectively destroyed the popular base of the Taliban government and toppled the terrorist-sponsoring state of Afghanistan. A statue of an "unknown soldier" on his horse is sitting in the lobby of Two World Financial Center in Manhattan. This was recreated from a picture taken of a soldier in the 5th Group Special Forces in Afghanistan after 9/11. The "unknown soldier" is Todd Nichols. Jerry Bruckheimer is producing a future movie about America’s “Horse Soldiers.”
On a personal note: Todd has been a hunter all his life. When Todd was a kid in Mississippi Shaw, he and his friend would go coon hunting at night around ages of 12-15 mostly instead of going out. He and his buddy would continue hunting year around throughout their childhood: dove season starting in September, squirrel season in October and deer season from November through January. Sometimes they would get paid to hunt: $5.00 to kill every beaver that would build damns to block the streams leading into and from ponds; $5.00 for each fox or coyote because the neighbors' chickens would go missing. Todd would hunt along railroad tracks for rabbit "easy hunting they don't run far and we hunted with dogs when hunting deer and rabbit."
As an adult, Todd hunted for big horn sheep in Kyrgyzstan and Hawaii, alot of hog hunting in Hawaii, using knives and dogs. Also, hog hunted in Georgia. And a good bit of hunting for turkey and deer in Kentucky. Todd had to kill for his food in Pakistan-- IE chickens that are wild, Its 90% observation, and 10% surgical. "When survival is important, hunting is a bit more serious." Todd has placed food plots, scents, and tree stands. He has hunted with rifles (30-30 to a 7mm), shotguns (ranging from a 410 to a 10 gauge), knives and a crossbow.