Most of us have seen the movie Black Hawk Down. However, not many of us have met the heroes the movie was based on. We had the pleasure of sitting down for an interview with one such hero, Command Sergeant Major(ret) Rick Lamb. Beyond his harrowing experiences from that day, SgtMaj Lamb has had an insane career. He was part of Operation Just Cause, and the infamous skirmish at the North Korean border in 1984. Lamb would become a special operations Sergeant Major, and receive many more awards throughout his career. In 2017, he was inducted into the Ranger Hall of Fame.
Lamb left his home of Iowa in 1978. His career would span 25 years, and many, many countries. Although, Lamb is incredibly humble about his service. After retiring, he continued to serve as a civilian. He also excelled there. Adding SOCOM Employee of the Year to his resume.
SgtMaj Lamb interview with American Grit
Lamb came out to join us doing Operation Black Cat. Additionally, he gave several motivating speeches, and inspired our jumpers. We were lucky enough to pull him away from the fans for an interview. It was an honor to talk to such a legend in the community, and hear his insights into leadership.
We talked about how things are drastically different now to when he began his career. For example, Lamb recalled his first deployment. This was in 1980, as part of the Iranian hostage rescue. He remembers how he was fresh out of high school and how Hollywood got Vietnam Veterans wrong. The war had been over for about 5 years, but most of his leadership had served there. However, the “wide eyed baby killer” persona he expected of his NCOs, didn’t track.
Lamb said his senior Rangers were dedicated professionals, and it was one of the best units he had ever been with, and that he was impressed by how well educated they were. Elaborating, he said their work ethic was inspiring.
Lamb stressed how pivotal it was to be well informed. This is particularly true when it comes to military intelligence. The concept of the “the unblinking eye” is extremely important to Lamb’s command philosophy. That is to say, constant drone, satellite, or human observation of a target is essential to mission planning, and execution.
This requires seamless integration of multiple assets. Furthermore, once an objective has been locked down, there is still work to be done.
Lamb recalled the endeavors of collecting sensitive intelligence, and turning it into actionable intel. This could be anything from maps, cellphones or even pocket litter. “If you don’t own it, you don’t control it,” Lamb remarked. He went on to express that once you disseminate the new intelligence, the cycle begins again.
He talked about how these missions, that Rangers may only done 1 or 2 of in their entire careers, are now far more common. Stating that now soldiers may do 6 or 7 in one night because the process has been so much more refined. “Find, fix, finish; analyze, exploit,” Lamb emphasized.
It was certainly a pleasure to listen to the stories about his career. We want to thank Round Canopy Parachute Team for making this all possible. The full video interview is still to come so stay tuned to American Grit!