Excerpt from ‘Lone Survivor’
I really, really, really, really, really want you to read the following excerpt from the book Lone Survivor. The one survivor of this incident wrote the book. It honestly made me cry AND it made me angry at those who would criticize our military.
This shows the reality of what our fighting men have to face and the decisions they have to make in a split second. It’s easy for people back home to say what they “should have done”, but it’s heart-wrenching to hear about what they actually have to face.
The idea that these men felt they had to make a decision based on how the media would spin it is awful, and even more awful is the fact that all but one lost their lives because of the decision they made. They didn’t want to be labeled murderers by the media just for doing their jobs, so they let these goatherders go free, which resulted in these SEALs’ deaths.
The blood of these men is on the hands of the liberal media and every liberal who is spinning this war and making our men second-guess their every decsion.
Excerpt from ‘Lone Survivor’
By Mark Luttrell
It was almost noon on June 28, 2005, when three Afghan goatherds stumbled upon a four-man Navy SEAL reconnaissance team high in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan. The SEALs – Lt. Michael Murphy, Sonar Technician (Surface) 2nd Class Matthew Axelson, Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Danny Dietz and Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Marcus Luttrell – faced an agonizing decision …
The question was, what did we do now? They were very obviously goatherds, farmers from the high country. Or, as it states in the pages of the Geneva Convention, unarmed civilians.
The strictly correct military decision would still be to kill them without further discussion, because we could not know their intentions.
How could we know if they were affiliated with a Taliban militia group or sworn by some tribal blood pact to inform the Taliban leaders of anything suspicious-looking they found in the mountains?
Mike Murphy said quietly, “We’ve got three options. We plainly don’t want to shoot these guys because of the noise. So, number one, we could just kill them quietly and hurl the bodies over the edge. That’s probably a thousand-foot drop. Number two is we kill them right here, cover ‘em up as best we can with rocks and dirt.
“Either way we get the hell out and say nothing. Not even when the story comes out about the murdered Afghan goatherds. And some f—ing headline back home which reads, ‘Navy SEALs Under Suspicion.’
“Number three, we turn ‘em loose, and still get the hell out, in case the Taliban come looking.” …
Axe said firmly, “We’re not murderers. No matter what we do.
“We’re on active duty behind enemy lines, sent here by our senior commanders. We have a right to do everything we can to save our own lives. The military decision is obvious. To turn them loose would be wrong.”
If this came to a vote, as it might, Axe was going to recommend the execution of the three Afghans. And in my soul, I knew he was right. We could not possibly turn them loose. But my trouble is, I have another soul. My Christian soul. And it was crowding in on me. Something kept whispering in the back of my mind, it would be wrong to execute these unarmed men in cold blood. And the idea of doing that and then covering our tracks and slinking away like criminals, denying everything, would make it more wrong.
To be honest, I’d have been happier to stand ‘em up and shoot them right out in front. And then leave them. They’d just be three guys who’d found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. Casualties of war. And we’d just have to defend ourselves when our own media and politicians back in the U.S.A. tried to hang us on a murder charge.
Lieutenant Murphy said, “Axe?”
“No choice.” We all knew what he meant.
“As before. I don’t give a sh– what you decide. Just tell me what to do.”
“I don’t know, Mikey.”
“Well, let me tell you one more time. If we kill these guys we have to be straight about it. Report what we did. We can’t sneak around this. Just so you all understand, their bodies will be found, the Taliban will use it to the max. They’ll get it in the papers, and the U.S. liberal media will attack us without mercy. We will almost certainly be charged with murder. I don’t know how you guys feel about that … Marcus, I’ll go with you. Call it.” …
I looked Mikey right in the eye, and I said, “We gotta let ‘em go.”
It was the stupidest, most southern-fried, lamebrained decision I ever made in my life. I must have been out of my mind.
I had actually cast a vote which I knew could sign our death warrant. I’d turned into a f—ing liberal, a half-assed, no-logic nitwit, all heart, no brain, and the judgment of a jackrabbit.
At least, that’s how I look back on those moments now. Probably not then, but for nearly every waking hour of my life since.
No night passes when I don’t wake in a cold sweat thinking of those moments on that mountain. I’ll never get over it. I cannot get over it. The deciding vote was mine, and it will haunt me till they rest me in an East Texas grave.
Mikey nodded. “Okay,” he said, “I guess that’s two votes to one, Danny abstains. We gotta let ‘em go.”
After releasing the goatherds, the SEALs moved back up the mountain and took up defensive positions. But within two hours, a force of about 140 Taliban fighters was upon them. Battling desperately, the SEALs retreated downhill, trying for the flat ground where a village offered the opportunity of cover to make a stand. But Dietz didn’t make it, succumbing to a shot to the head – the sixth bullet he had taken in the fight. Murphy and Axelson had also been shot, but were still fighting hard when Luttrell reached their position …
Finally I caught up with them. Axe was out of ammunition and I gave him a new magazine. Mikey wanted to know where Danny was, and I had to tell him that Danny had died. He was appalled, completely shocked, and so was Axe. Although Mikey would not say it, I knew he wanted to go back for the body. But we both knew there was no time and no reason. We had nowhere to take the remains of a fallen teammate, and we could not continue this firefight while carrying around a body.
Danny was dead. And strangely, I was the first to pull myself together. I said suddenly, “I’ll tell you what. We have to get down this goddamned mountain or we’ll all be dead.”
And as if to make up our minds for us, the Taliban were again closing in, trying to make that 360-degree movement around us.
And they were doing it. Gunfire was coming in from underneath us now. We could see the tribesmen still swarming, and I tried to count them as I had been trying to do for almost an hour.
I thought there were now only about fifty, maybe sixty, but the bullets were still flying. The grenades were still coming in, blasting close, sending up dust clouds of smoke and dirt with flying bits of rock. There had never been a lull in the amount of ordnance the enemy was piling down on us.
Right now, again tucked low behind rocks, the three of us could look down and see the village one and a half miles distant, and it remained our objective.
Again I told Mikey, “If we can just make it down there and get some cover, we’ll take ‘em all out on the flat ground.”
I knew we were not in great shape. But we were still SEALs.
Nothing can ever take that away. We were still confident. And we were never going to surrender. If it came down to it, we would fight to the death with our knives against their guns.
“F— surrender,” said Mikey. And he had no need to explain further, either to Axe or me. Surrender would have been a disgrace to our community, like ringing the bell at the edge of the grinder and putting your helmet in the line. No one who had made it through this far, to this no-man’s-land in the Afghan mountains, would have dreamed of giving up.
Remember the philosophy of the U.S. Navy SEALs: “I will never quit. … My Nation expects me to be physically harder and mentally stronger than my enemies. If knocked down, I will get back up, every time. I will draw on every remaining ounce of strength to protect my teammates. … I am never out of the fight.”
Those words have sustained many brave men down the years.
They were engraved upon the soul of every SEAL. And they were in the minds of all of us.
Mikey suddenly said, above the rage of the battle, “Remember, bro, we’re never out of it.”
I nodded tersely. “It’s only about another thousand yards to flat ground. If we can just get down there, we got a chance.” …
They’d knocked us back again. … But once more we landed up in a good spot, a sound defensive position, well protected by the rock face on either side. Again we tried to take the fight to them, picking our targets and driving them back, making some ground now toward the village.
They were up and screaming at us, yelling as the battle almost became close quarters. We yelled right back and kept firing. But there were still so many of them, and then they got into better position and shot Mikey Murphy through the chest.
He came toward me, asking if I could give him another magazine.
And then I saw Axe stumbling toward me, his head pushed out, blood running down his face, bubbling out of the most shocking head wound.
“They shot me, bro,” he said. “The bastards shot me. Can you help me, Marcus?” What could I say? What could I do? I couldn’t help except by trying to fight off the enemy. And Axe was standing right in my line of fire.
I tried to help him get down behind a rock. And I turned to Mikey, who was obviously badly hurt now. “Can you move, buddy?” I asked him.
And he groped in his pocket for his mobile phone, the one we had dared not use because it would betray our position. And then Lieutenant Murphy walked out into the open ground. He walked until he was more or less in the center, gunfire all around him, and he sat on a small rock and began punching in the numbers to HQ.
I could hear him talking. “My men are taking heavy fire … we’re getting picked apart. My guys are dying out here … we need help.”
And right then Mikey took a bullet straight in the back. I saw the blood spurt from his chest. He slumped forward, dropping his phone and his rifle. But then he braced himself, grabbed them both, sat upright again, and once more put the phone to his ear.
I heard him speak again. “Roger that, sir. Thank you.” Then he stood up and staggered out to our bad position, the one guarding our left, and Mikey just started fighting again, firing at the enemy.
He was hitting them too, having made that one last desperate call to base, the one that might yet save us if they could send help in time, before we were overwhelmed.
Only I knew what Mikey had done. He’d understood we had only one realistic chance, and that was to call in help. He also knew there was only one place from which he could possibly make that cell phone work: out in the open, away from the cliff walls.
Knowing the risk, understanding the danger, in the full knowledge the phone call could cost him his life, Lieutenant Michael Patrick Murphy, son of Maureen, fiance of the beautiful Heather, walked out into the firestorm.
His objective was clear: to make one last valiant attempt to save his two teammates. He made the call, made the connection.
He reported our approximate position, the strength of our enemy, and how serious the situation was. When they shot him, I thought mortally, he kept talking.
Roger that, sir. Thank you. Will those words ever dim in my memory, even if I live to be a hundred? Will I ever forget them? Would you? And was there ever a greater SEAL team commander, an officer who fought to the last and, as perhaps his dying move, risked everything to save his remaining men? I doubt there was ever anyone better than Mikey, cool under fire, always thinking, fearless about issuing the one-option command even if it was nearly impossible. And then the final, utterly heroic act. Not a gesture. An act of supreme valor. Lieutenant Mikey was a wonderful person and a very, very great SEAL officer.
If they build a memorial to him as high as the Empire State Building, it won’t ever be high enough for me.