The book is written in two quite distinct parts. The first part is about Seal Training and the second part is about Operation Redwing. Interwoven in the two parts is Marcus Luttrell's life before and after Afghanistan, and his quest to visit each of the families of his friends who were lost and his healing and understanding of the events that occured that day.
The Prologue opens with "..my name is Marcus. And I'm writing this book because of my three buddies Mikey, Danny and Axe. If I don't write it, no one will ever understand the indomitable courage under fire of those three Americans. And that would be the biggest tragedy of all."
The first half of the book is autobiographical. We learn of Marcus' life in Texas - and he's all Texan! - the lifelong desire to become a Navy SEAL and the grueling school to become a Navy SEAL. If you want to know what becoming a SEAL is all about, Marcus tells you. Their training is beyond intense and you can't help but have complete respect for SEALs and hold them in awe for their courage, strenght and fortitude. They are trained in body and mind.
The second half of the book deals with Operation Redwing. Marcus takes us into the battle, into the death of his team and dear friends - Mike Murphey, Danny Deitz and Matt Axelson. The grueling battle, the fall of over one thousand feet down a mountain side, the struggle to survive despite the vast number of enemies, is beyond imagining. After the enemy has killed his friends, Marcus is severly wounded and presumed dead by American forces. In spite of his injuries, he crawls over seven miles while confronting the assassins sent to kill him. He is taken in by a Pashtun tribe who risk everything to keep him alive and eventually get him back to American forces.
In addition to the loss of the three members of Marcus' SEAL team, the CH-47 rescue helicopter with a rescue and reinforcement team was shot down by a rocket propelled grenade. It was the largest loss of life in SEAL history, and the largest loss of Special Operations Forces since D-Day. Nineteen highly trained, dedicated and patriotic men died that day:
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 10 Medic)
Sgt. First Class Michael Russell (US Army, 160th SOAR)
Maj. Steve Reich (pilot, US Army 160th SOAR)
Master Sgt. 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)
Marcus also gives us a parallel view of what was going on at his home during the time he was missing and presumed dead. He tells of the dedication of his family, friends, the SEAL community and the Texans who came to hold vigil. The spirit and faith of these people, many of whom did not know Marcus, is overwhelming and inspiring. It truly made me proud to live in the same America that they live in.
For their bravery and courage under fire Marcus Luttrell (previously known as "The One"), Danny Dietz and Matthew Axelson were awarded the Navy Cross. Michael Murphey was awarded a Silver Star and is being reviewed for a Medal of Honor.
If you ever have any questions about what patriotism, love of country, devotion, courage and bravery are, you only need to read this book to understand what they really mean. I have read this book twice. It has been an emotional journey, a journey of such profound pride in these young men, a journey of anger at trying to impose political correctness into warfare, a journey into the love between people that keeps them going on in spite of great tragedy.
I have heard Marcus' voice telling us what patriotism, love of country, devotion, courage and bravery are and how we undermine it at home. His anger is real. As is his love of his team, his friends, his family, Texas, and America. His shy and introspective nature is pushed to the side to tell this story and to give opinions about America at War. He had to leave the Navy - the thing he loved the most - to tell this story, because his love for his teammates and the truth was even greater. For that, I am truly grateful. Knowing about these twenty Americans has enriched my life.
As I listen to and watch the many interviews with Marcus Luttrell, I see a man who will ever be torn by the grief that was laid upon him by the events of Operation Redwing. I also see a man who gives the greatest respect for people he knows do not respect him, his brothers, the truth.
A great interview with Marcus Luttrell was done by Texas Radio KVET - 98 FM:
To play the media please click on the link below or paste it into your web browser
Part One: http://www.kvet.com/cc-common/mediaplayer/player.html?mps=Default&mid=http://a1135.g.akamai.net/f/1135/23782/1h/cchannel.download.akamai.com/23782/1048/richmedia/Kvet_Rick_PerryNavy_Seal.mp3?CCOMRRMID=4644003&CPROG=RICHMEDIA&MARKET=AUSTIN-TX&amp;amp;NG_FORMAT=country&NG_ID=kvet98fm&OR_NEWSFORMAT=&OWNER=1048&SERVER_NAME=www.kvet.com&SITE_ID=1048&STATION_ID=KVET-FM&TRACK=rick_perry_navy_seal
Part Two: http://www.kvet.com/cc-common/mediaplayer/player.html?mps=Default&mid=http://a1135.g.akamai.net/f/1135/23782/1h/cchannel.download.akamai.com/23782/1048/richmedia/Kvet_Rick_PerryNavy_Seal_2.mp3?CCOMRRMID=4644691&CPROG=RICHMEDIA&MARKET=AUSTIN-TX&NG_FORMAT=country&NG_ID=kvet98fm&OR_NEWSFORMAT=&OWNER=1048&SERVER_NAME=www.kvet.com&SITE_ID=1048&STATION_ID=KVET-FM&TRACK=rick_perry_navy_seal_2
If you want to know what a hero looks like, here are two - Danny Dietz and Marcus Luttrell.
This is a must read for all Americans. Read this book!
Marcus Luttrell: http://gazingattheflag.blogspot.com/2007/02/hero-to-remember-one.html
Danny Dietz: http://gazingattheflag.blogspot.com/2007/02/hero-to-remember-po2-danny-p-dietz.html
Matthew Axelson: http://gazingattheflag.blogspot.com/2007/02/hero-to-remember-po2-matthew-g-axelson.html
Michael Murphey: http://gazingattheflag.blogspot.com/2007/02/silver-star-lt-michael-p-murphy.html
Rescue Team: http://gazingattheflag.blogspot.com/2007/07/lone-survivor-rescue-team.html