McChrystal's 'Team America'

In the Rolling Stone article that kiboshed Gen. Stanley McChrystal's career, writer Michael Hastings notes that longtime confidants of McChrystal who were with him in Afghanistan under the NATO/ISAF force referred to themselves as "Team America," an homage to South Park's balls-out parody of special forces.  (The SOF guys love South Park.)

The general's staff is a handpicked collection of killers, spies, geniuses, patriots, political operators and outright maniacs. There's a former head of British Special Forces, two Navy Seals, an Afghan Special Forces commando, a lawyer, two fighter pilots and at least two dozen combat veterans and counterinsurgency experts. They jokingly refer to themselves as Team America, taking the name from the South Park-esque sendup of military cluelessness, and they pride themselves on their can-do attitude and their disdain for authority. After arriving in Kabul last summer, Team America set about changing the culture of the International Security Assistance Force, as the NATO-led mission is known.

Not only is Hastings' vignette true, but the "collection" of people who identified themselves with Team America had a special patch made for their service. (It was created for them by a small company somewhere in  Missouri.)   Here, for the first time, is an image of the patch that cemented the camaraderie of Team McChrystal. I discovered it on Twitter and verified its validity.

TAFY.jpg

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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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