Kansas war hero, inspiration for film '12 Strong,' has memorial statue stolen
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) - A Kansas veteran and war hero, who led a team of special forces into Afghanistan lost something very special to thieves. It's a bronze statue made to honor his team who rode horseback through the country as part of their mission right after 9/11.
It may not look like much, but this 9-inch, 20-pound bronze statue means a lot to Mark Nutsch.
"It is a limited edition, a limited piece, it's not being made any more," Nutsch said."
The statue was inside a protective case in his son's car in a church parking lot near Central and 119th west on June 6, when someone smashed the car window and stole it.
"I was just concerned for my son," said Nutsch. "He was upset that the car had been broken into the glass smashed."
The statue is an exact replica of an 18-foot bronze statue that sits near the 9/11 memorial in New York City. It depicts a Green Beret soldier on horseback, who was part of a team led by Mark Nutsch.
“I commanded a 12-man team of Green Berets a month after the 9/11 attacks, special forces teams to enter northern Afghanistan," Nutsch said.
Nutsch says that Afghan tribes gave him and his team horses because of the mountainous northern Afghanistan terrain. A movie called "12 Strong" was made about Nutsch and the Green Berets.
Nutsch was lucky enough to get one of the smaller replicas of the statue. He takes it to speak about his experiences and to showcase it for the bourbon, called "Horse Soldier."
"People are just amazed that they can see this little statue and touch it," he said. "I encourage them to visit the larger version in New York City."
But now it's gone, in the hands of thieves who probably don't know what to do with it and Nutsch just wants it back.
"I would just like them to return it that's all, if they would anonymously return it to the police station or to the church."
If you have any information call Crime Stoppers at 316-267-2111. You could be eligible for a cash reward up to $2,500.