Blackfive note: "The Lone Survivor" is on-sale today!
Finally, the story of one of the most harrowing battles in our nation's history is being told. Here are the background links (be sure to read the first two by Froggy):
Froggy Ruminations - SEAL Memorial at the Punchbowl MUST READ
Froggy Ruminations - The One
Pundit Review - Blackfive podcast about the battle
Blackfive (Froggy) - Axelson and Dietz to Receive Navy Crosses
Blackfive (Froggy) - Mike Murphy Beach
Blackfive - "HERO" - SEAL Lieutenant Mike Murphy Considered for MOH
Blackfive - Danny Dietz - Navy SEAL Hero's Memorial Opposed
And, as many of you know, the sole survivor of the battle is known as "The One". His father comments here occasionally as Pops, so (as Froggy and I have said), if he stops by, show him the proper respect.
"The One" is US Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell who's book, "Lone Survivor - The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10", is out tomorrow, June 12th. This is the book that you absolutely must read.
The Washington Post gives a sort of preview, staying away from the fight itself and focusing on Luttrell's escape and rescue. Of course, it puts a lot of focus on the decision by Luttrell not to kill some innocent civilians:
...The four Seals zigzagged all night and through the morning until they reached a wooded slope. An Afghan man wearing a turban suddenly appeared, then a farmer and a teenage boy. Luttrell gave a PowerBar to the boy while the Seals debated whether the Afghans would live or die.
If the Seals killed the unarmed civilians, they would violate military rules of engagement; if they let them go, they risked alerting the Taliban. According to Luttrell, one Seal voted to kill them, one voted to spare them and one abstained. It was up to Luttrell.
Part of his calculus was practical. "I didn't want to go to jail." Ultimately, the core of his decision was moral. "A frogman has two personalities. The military guy in me wanted to kill them," he recalled. And yet: "They just seemed like -- people. I'm not a murderer."
Luttrell, by his account, voted to let the Afghans go. "Not a day goes by that I don't think about that decision," he said. "Not a second goes by."
At 1:20 p.m., about an hour after the Seals released the Afghans, dozens of Taliban members overwhelmed them. The civilians he had spared, Luttrell believed, had betrayed them. At the end of a two-hour firefight, only he remained alive...
The best part of the WashPo article is the focus on the USAF rescue operation. It will give you a decent view into what the pilots and Pararescuemen had to do to get Luttrell out of hostile territory. It also focuses on the aftermath of the battle:
...Such happy moments have been rare for Luttrell. After recuperating, he deployed to Iraq, returning home this spring. His injuries from Afghanistan still require a "narcotic regimen." He feels tormented by the death of his Seal friends, and he avoids sleeping because they appear in his dreams, shrieking for help...
Froggy said it best in his post about Marcus on July 20, 2005:
It occurs to me that the ONE could use some prayer at this point in his life. It is about this time that someone in his situation might be asking himself questions about why he survived when ALL of his brothers did not. While he deserves every accolade we can give him, he probably needs our compassion and support more than anything else.
Compassion and support. Reading Luttrell's book will give you and understanding of what our SOF forces go through in combat and the fight that continues here at home. It will make you proud and humble.
Petty Officer Danny Dietz (SEAL Team 1)
Petty Officer Matthew Axelson (SEAL Team 1)
Navy Lt. Mike Murphy (SEAL Team 1)
Chief Warrant Officer Corey J. Goodnature (pilot, US Army 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment)
Chief Warrant Officer Chris J. Scherkenbach (pilot, US Army 160th SOAR)
Sgt. Kip A. Jacoby (US Army, 160th SOAR)
Sgt. 1st Class Marcus V. Muralles (US Army, 160th SOAR)
Chief Petty Officer Jacques J. Fontan (SEAL Team 10)
Lt. Cmdr. Erik S. Kristensen (SEAL Team 10)
Petty Officer 2nd Class James Suh (SEAL Team 1)
Petty Officer First Class Jeff Taylor (SEAL Team 1 medic)
Master Sgt. Michael Russell (US Army, 160th SOAR)
Maj. Steve Reich (pilot, US Army 160th SOAR)
Sgt. 1st Class James "Tre" Ponder III (US Army, 160th SOAR)
Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric Shane Patton (SEAL Team 1)
U.S. Navy Lt. Michael McGreevy (SEAL Team 10)
Petty Officer Jeffrey Alan Lucas (SEAM Team 10)
Senior Chief Petty Officer Dan Healy (SEAL Team 1)
SSgt. Shamus Goare (US Army, 160th SOAR)