Charlie Wilson’s War

Charlie Wilson’s War

Many have seen the movie or read the book,Charlie Wilson’s War.  Barrett had a small part in that covert operation which was a piece of the puzzle that brought down the Soviet Union and ended the Cold War.

While a member of the U.S. Congress and on the House Appropriations Committee, Wilson was responsible for securing millions of dollars for the CIA to arm the Afghani mujahedeen against the powerful Soviet military.  Some of those arms included the Barrett .50-caliber rifles manufactured in Murfreesboro.

Ronnie Barrett was involved in the covert effort but remained silently loyal to those involved over the years, dating back to the 1980s.  He said, “We frequently met with people from the front; some of whom were portrayed in the movie, and learned through them how the former Soviet Union was gripping that area of the world with an iron fist.  Their military was bombarding Afghanistan constantly 24 hours a day.  The freedom fighters had limited means of defense”.

Barrett still has the personal letter from Charlie Wilson, dated September 22, 1987, ordering the purchase of the Barrett rifles, which were picked up in Murfreesboro by the United States Government and routed through Pakistan and onto the Afghani freedom fighters.

“I think that it is interesting how much of a role Tennessee played in that covert operation,” recalled Barrett.  “The CIA actually purchased a large number of Tennessee mules from the mid-state to transport supplies, arms and munitions over the mountains and rough terrain in order to sneak them into Afghanistan.”