Koos Stadler has been a career officer in the South African National Defence Force for more than 30 years. Twenty-four of these he served in the elite South African Special Forces, better known as the "Recces" - spending 10 years in active service during the long drawn-out guerilla war against the then South West Africa Peoples' Organisation (SWAPO) on the border between Namibia and Angola. Stadler conducted many exceptionally sensitive missions, often facing extreme conditions of hunger, thirst, loneliness and danger. Fear was a constant companion and Stadler does not shy away from acknowledging this and sharing his innermost thoughts in the pages of Recce. He ended his career on a high note during a 4-year tenure as Defence Attache to Saudi Arabia where he spent much of his time exploring the desert. During a 200 km solo hike through the Empty Quarter, one of the most barren stretches of sand on earth, he re-lived his small teams experiences and in his own words 'buried the last of his fears in the sand'.