Andy McNab joined the infantry in 1976 as a boy soldier. In 1984 he was badged as a member of 22 SAS Regiment. He served in B Squadron 22 SAS for ten years and worked on both covert and overt special operations worldwide, including anti-terrorist and anti-drug operations in the Middle and Far East, South and Central America and Northern Ireland.
Trained as a specialist in counter terrorism, prime target elimination, demolitions, weapons and tactics, covert surveillance and information gathering in hostile environments, and VIP protection, McNab worked on cooperative operations with police forces, prison services, anti-drug forces and western backed guerrilla movements as well as on conventional special operations. In Northern Ireland he spent two years working as an undercover operator with 14th Intelligence Group, going on to become an instructor.
McNab also worked as an instructor on the SAS selection and training team and instructed foreign special forces in counter terrorism, hostage rescue and survival training.
In the Gulf War, McNab commanded the famous Bravo Two Zero patrol, an eight man patrol tasked with destroying underground communication links between Baghdad and north-west Iraq and with finding and destroying mobile Scud missile launchers. The patrol infiltrated Iraq in January 1991, but were soon compromised. A fierce fire fight with Iraqi troops ensued and the patrol was forced to escape and evade on foot to Syria.
Three of the eight men were killed; four were captured after three days on the run; one escaped. One of the four taken prisoner, McNab was held for six weeks and was relentlessly and savagely tortured. By the time he was released he was suffering from nerve damage to both hands, a dislocated shoulder, kidney and liver damage and had contracted hepatitis. After six months of medical treatment he was back on active service.
The most highly decorated patrol since the Boer War, the truly heroic exploits of the Bravo Two Zero patrol have been recognised the world over and, in the words of the patrol's commanding officer 'will remain in Regimental history forever'. Awarded both the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) and Military Medal (MM) during his military career, McNab was the British Army's most highly decorated serving soldier when he finally left the SAS in February 1993.
Andy McNab has written about his experiences in the SAS in three bestselling books, Bravo Two Zero (1993), Immediate Action (1995) and Seven Troop (2008). Bravo Two Zero is the highest selling war book of all time and has sold over 1.7 million copies in the UK. To date it has been published in 17 countries and translated into 16 languages. The CD spoken word version of Bravo Two Zero, narrated by McNab, sold over 60,000 copies and earned a silver disc. The BBC's film of Bravo Two Zero, starring Sean Bean, was shown on primetime BBC 1 television in 1999 and released on DVD in 2000.
Immediate Action, McNab's autobiography, spent 18 weeks at the top of the bestseller lists following the lifting on an ex-parte injunction granted to the Ministry of Defence in September 1995. To date, Immediate Action has now sold over 1.4 million copies in the UK.
In 2009, Andy McNab released Spoken from the Front, in which he told the real story of the Afghan Campaign for the first time in the words of the servicemen and women fighting there. While writing the book, McNab had unprecedented access to soldiers of all ranks, as well as pilots, reservists, engineers, medics, Royal Military police, mechanics, cooks and other military personnel.
McNab is also the author of several highly successful works of fiction, drawing extensively on his experiences and knowledge of Special Forces soldiering. He has written thirteen fast action thrillers starring Nick Stone, a tough ex-SAS operative working on deniable operations for British Intelligence. The first, Remote Control, was published in 1997, and was hailed as the most authentic thriller ever written, selling over half a million copies in the UK. The subsequent books have all been highly acclaimed bestsellers.
McNab is now writing a new series of fiction with co-author Kym Jordan about one platoon's experience of warfare in the Twenty First Century. The first novel in this series, War Torn, was a Sunday Times bestseller.
Andy McNab has collaborated with scriptwriter Robert Rigby on the bestselling young adult thriller series Boy Soldier and has written another series of books for young adult readers, DropZone. He has also written two novels for emerging adult readers, The Grey Man and Last Night Another Soldier.
McNab was technical weapons advisor and trainer on the hit Michael Mann film Heat (1995) and spent five months in Hollywood working closely with Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Val Kilmer. As well as advising on weapons handling and use, McNab was drafted in to work out in detail how master-thief De Niro would go about pulling off robberies on an armoured car and a bank, and how cop Al Pacino would go about tracking him down and stopping him.
Also a director of a Hereford based security company, McNab developed and runs a specialist training course for news crews, journalists and members of non-governmental organisations working in hostile environments (including war zones). The course is currently the only one of its kind in the world. He is also involved in training videos for the Ministry of Defence, lectures for the FBI and gives motivational talks for large corporations on both sides of the Atlantic.