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VMI Welcomes Former Green Beret; Author of 'Operation Pineapple Express'

LEXINGTON, Va. Feb. 21, 2023 — Virginia Military Institute welcomes guest speaker retired U.S. Army Green Beret Lt. Col. Scott Mann, on Wednesday, March 1 at 7:45 p.m. in Gillis Theater in Marshall Hall. Mann will share his experiences organizing the rescue of hundreds of Afghan citizens during the last days of the U.S. war in Afghanistan as chronicled in The New York Times best seller, “Operation Pineapple Express.” The event is free and open to the public as part of the Center for Leadership and Ethic’s Courageous Leadership speaker series.  

Initially, Mann sought to extract a long-time Afghan National Army partner and friend, Nezam, whose U.S. visa request had stalled, putting his life in imminent and certain danger. The efforts, however, exposed a deeper reality – Nezam and others were being targeted by the Taliban in the chaos of America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan. From his home in the U.S., Mann organized a rapidly expanding team of American veterans and others, to rescue targeted Afghan citizens as the Taliban was closing in. This is the story of Task Force Pineapple.  

Mann has more than 20 years’ experience in the U.S. Army and special operations. He deployed to Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He is the chief executive officer of Rooftop Leadership, a professional training and coaching company specializing in human connection skills, and the founder of The Heroes Journey, a 501(c)(3) committed to helping U.S. and Afghan veterans tell their stories and transition to civilian life. Mann regularly speaks to corporate leaders, industry associations, law enforcement officers, and special operations forces on how to forge deeper connections with the people they serve, and create more powerful outcomes in business and life. He is also an actor and playwright who has written and performed in a play about the war called, “Last Out - Elegy of a Green Beret,” which can be viewed on Amazon Prime.  

Copies of “Operation Pineapple Express” will be on sale in the lobby before the event and a book signing will take place after his talk.  

The final speaker of this year’s Center for Leadership and Ethic’s Courageous Leadership speaker series is Amber Smith, 101st Airborne in Iraq and Afghanistan, Air Mission Commander of AN OH-58 Delta Kiowa Warrior, on April 13.  

For more information, contact Kim Connolly at 

Marianne Hause
Communications & Marketing

VMI: Forging 21st Century Leaders