‘Diving was a boys-own adventure, a jump into the unknown, full of devil-may-care attitudes. It welcomed you with one hand and cast you asunder with the other. It was a hideous bitch goddess and it drank the blood of the unprepared.'
After an ordinary childhood, Hugh ‘Obi' O'Brien's life has been surprising. What took this sporty country boy from Sydney boarding school to directionless youth to navy clearance diver, slipping undetected through deep waters to defuse mines and dismantle bombs? Upping that level of adrenaline, Obi joined the Special Forces counterterrorism unit TAG (East) – no picnic.
In a memoir full of eye-popping anecdotes, he colourfully recounts this wild ride. He reveals the painful transition from military life to his days risking ‘spaghettification' on underwater construction projects to private security work – pirate-hunting in the Red Sea and tearing along the world's most dangerous roads in the Middle East.
Undaunted is for anyone who's ever dreamed of taking a high-action, alternative route through life. This is an engaging and unexpected account by an operator at once tough, whimsical and funny, and always brutally honest.
About the Author
The second of Amanda and Gerard O'Brien's four sons, Hugh ‘Obi' Robert O'Brien was born in 1979 and grew up on the family sheep and wheat farm near Young in New South Wales. Obi attended Sydney boarding school St Joseph's College, a rugby academy where old-school English customs and Dickensian group living honed his fast developing survival skills. His lacklustre performance in both sporting and academic endeavours ingrained a sense of underachievement that would fuel Obi's later success in the Special Forces.
After high school, Obi attended university somewhat aimlessly. On the advice of his younger brother Phil, a member of the armed forces, Obi applied for the navy as a Clearance Diving candidate, and against all odds he found success and acceptance with these subaquatic supermen. With an unquenched thirst for adversity, Obi applied for Special Forces with the army's counterterrorism unit, TAG (East), a secretive team of divers and commandos, tasked with defending the domestic population from harm post-9/11. Admittance to this unit – their failure rate is in the eightieth percentile – was the defining moment of his life, the chance to serve where angels fear to tread and maybe, just maybe, feel worthy of the path less travelled . . .
In 2011, Hugh left the Special Forces and has since pursued a career in private security. Currently he is stationed in Iraq and recently married to his childhood sweetheart, Alex.
Hugh continues to seek adventure wherever it may lie, be it pirate-hunting in the Red Sea or mentoring soldiers in Afghanistan. He believes you will only ever regret the things you do not do, and nobody wants to die without any scars.