Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Lone Survivor...Grab A Hankey

About a year ago, I was listening to Glenn Beck interview a Navy SEAL named Marcus Luttrell. His story was an incredible tale of heroism, bravery, & intelligence.

A synopsis from Wikipedia:
On June 28, 2005, Luttrell and SEAL Team 10 were assigned to a mission to kill or capture Ahmad Shah (nom de guerre Mohammad Ismail), a high-ranking Taliban leader responsible for killings in eastern Afghanistan and the Hindu-Kush mountains.

The SEAL team was made up of Luttrell, Michael P. Murphy, Danny Dietz and Matthew Axelson. Luttrell and Axelson were the team's snipers; Dietz was the communications officer and Murphy the team leader.

The four SEALs stumbled upon a small group of goat herders whom they considered to be Taliban sympathizers, but the SEALs were unable to verify any hostile intent, and were subsequently released after much debate by the four SEALs. The goat herders betrayed the team's location to local Taliban forces and the SEALs were soon engaged in an intense gun battle against a force of between 80 and 200 enemy fighters

All of Luttrell's teammates were killed.

MH-47 Chinook helicopter was dispatched with a force consisting of SEALs and 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment "Nightstalkers" to rescue the team, but the helicopter was shot down by an RPG. All 16 men on the Chinook were killed.

Luttrell was the only survivor of the SEAL team. Badly wounded, he managed to walk and crawl seven miles to evade capture. He was given shelter by an Afghan tribe and finally rescued by American forces six days after the gun battle.

The first thing that really struck me was the date. June 28, 2005. It was Reese's 2nd birthday, and we were in Cancun as a family. We celebrated that exact same night, in a cushy hotel in paradise, eating cake & singing Happy Birthday. A world away, these 4 men were going through hell.
It's hard to summarize such a gripping tale as Luttrell's in such a short space. I found myself disgusted with the media & lawmakers, who spew their B.S. about the Rules of Engagement. By trying to follow the ROE, Luttrell and his men were put in direct harm, with three of the men dying. Had they been allowed to do their job, follow their SEAL training, the goatherders would not have been given the chance to share the team's location & three brave men would still be alive today.

Instead, in fear of a media storm about "the innocent goatherders killed by American soldiers" that would surely be played up by the US media, they let the men go. Which directly resulted in the death of 3 American soldiers. Disgusting.

The government spends vast amounts of money to train SEALs in combat. No trigger-happy, unfit, half-witted person would make it through Hell Week & training to become a SEAL. No. These men are the top of the top. Why we can't let them do their job is beyond me. You get a real grasp of a soldier's frustration with the media & lawmakers in Luttrell's book. Completely understandable.

I wanted to read this based on Glenn Beck's interview with Luttrell. I stayed up last night well past midnight, with my little book light, listening to Jeff snore & Reese breath heavy sleepy breaths. I could not stop reading until I reached the end.

I cried.
Tears of sadness for Luttrell & the loss he had experienced. Tears of joy for Luttrell's family as they learned his fate. Tears of anger at the US media & lawmakers for putting Luttrell's team in a no-win situation. Tears of compassion for the tribal people that took Luttrell in for five days, protecting him at all costs. Tears of pride for what Luttrell, his team, & their families endured.

I am proud to be an American, with soldiers like Luttrell volunteering to go in harm's way. For me, for you. Even for those politicians and media members who don't get it. Luttrell gets it. Our family gets it. And even though the media tries to convince you otherwise, most of America gets it.

God Bless America, and God bless Marcus Luttrell for sharing his story. It's one we all need to hear.

White House Photo by Eric Draper


Mrs4444 said...

Wonderful story, wonderfully told. We've thought about going to an all-inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic. I would love to go, but I can't get past the idea that we'd be living it up while people are suffering on the other coast. We do have a lot to be grateful for in our SEALS, don't we?

Michael said...

Really great story