Recently, Quiet Professionals celebrated the life of Maj (Ret) Thomas Greer, a.k.a. bestselling author Dalton Fury, with a sizable donation to the American Cancer Society.
Major Greer passed away on October 21, 2016, after a battle with pancreatic cancer, leaving behind family and friends, including many within the Special Operations Forces (SOF) community. He retired in 2005 after over twenty years in the U.S. Army, including fifteen years in special operations units.
Major Greer served in the Delta Force with Andy Wilson, CEO and President of Quiet Professionals. They remained lifelong friends. The diagnosis of cancer came as a shock.
As Andy says, “When I found out that my great friend Tom had come down with pancreatic cancer, he literally had about three months to live. It’s very devastating to know what he went through. He was a very private guy. He had done all these things and touched all these people’s lives around the world, and was a great patriot, a great father, a great husband. He was a gunsmith and an author, and he was a Delta Force commander in one of the squadrons. He was a significant personality—certainly one in my life. Cancer took that still-young, vibrant man. In three months, he whittled away to nothing.”
Andy remembers his former commander well.
“Thinking about Tom, there are a lot of funny stories of course, but I remember one specific time when he and I were out in Afghanistan together and assigned on the border of Pakistan early on. This was in early 2002, and we were going in on a mission with a group of Rangers, and there were some Taliban that had been found with possible ties to Al Qaeda not far from our base camp. We were pretty far out there in the countryside.
“It was probably eleven or twelve at night, pitch black, driving on those dirt roads in Afghanistan up and down in the mountains and through the valleys. We came up on this clot and it was quiet. We circled around the outside. The big front gate, it’s almost like a castle inside. In order to get in, you have twenty-foot walls. They had this massive door that was locked from the inside. We couldn’t get it open. We were trying to be quiet, obviously, and not let the folks that were occupying it know that we were out there.
“So he and I went around the side to find a way in and got up in a little side tower had to jump out on this roof. Looking down into the courtyard, it was like a twelve-foot drop.
“The courtyard was quiet. There was nobody out there, and the force was waiting outside that gate for us to pull the board out to open the gate, and I remember him telling me, ‘Okay, stay here, I’m going to jump down and open this gate.’ I was like, ‘There’s no way, sir, you’re the company commander, I’m not letting you down in there.’ So I held him back and I jumped down and had him cover me.
“I was getting ready to move out to the gate and I heard a noise. I turned around, and sure enough, he had dropped down behind me to make sure he was covering my back as I opened the gate.
“That’s the kind of guy that Tom was. He was unafraid, and he was definitely one of those people that you can always rely on.”
After Major Greer retired, he wrote a true account, called Kill Bin Laden, about his experiences as the senior special operations ground force commander during the hunt for Osama Bin Laden in the Tora Bora mountains of Afghanistan in November 2001. He wrote under the pen name Dalton Fury. The proceeds from that book were donated to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.
He also published a series of novels about a fictional Delta Force squadron. He wrote the books to help the general public understand those fighting in the seemingly never-ending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
About the novels, Andy says, “He sent me one to read, Black Sight. I devoured it. I finished the book in a few hours from cover to cover. It was exciting, maybe because I was part of that organization. I very much enjoyed his books.”
Andy says knowing cancer could possibly become a preventable disease in the future motivated him to contribute to the American Cancer Society’s mission.
The donation will be used to fund critical research projects; the American Cancer Society is the largest funder of cancer research after the Federal Government.
The American Cancer Society also supports veterans through their smoking cessation programs. Veterans with TRICARE access can call the free quit line at 1-855-QUIT-VET (1-855-784-8838). They can also enroll in the SmokefreeVet mobile texting program by texting the word VET to 47848 on a cell phone or sign up online at smokefree.gov/VET. As of 2017, the Veteran’s Administration has followed American Cancer Society guidelines on early cancer screenings, helping to ensure that veterans live longer, healthier lives.
Major Greer’s mark is still being felt in the world today, through all the lives he influenced.
“To have him leave that early in life was a tragedy. At [Tom’s] funeral, almost every member of the former A Squadron of Delta Force showed up, including some significant folks that are still active duty today. It was a testament to who he was.”