Lone Survivor – A True American Hero?

I don’t mean to turn this blog into a review site, but I felt as if I needed to write about a book I recently read.  This has easily been one of the best books I have read this year.  But, it certainly was not due to the stellar writing, in fact even though Marcus Luttrell used a professional writer to help tell his story, the book is just poorly written.  And the conservative, flag-waving, jingoistic preaching is a bit over-whelming at times. 

However, the story of this SEAL team’s heroism is so compelling that I just could not put the book down.  Deep in Taliban held Afghanistan, Luttrell’s SEAL team had a decision to make, kill a group of three shepherds who found their hiding spot, or let them go, knowing that they would inform the Taliban as to their whereabouts.   Shortly after letting them go, they were attacked by a 200 crazed Taliban, intent on kill the four American SEALs. 

Operation Redwing was aimed at capturing or killing Ahmad Shah, a Taliban leader in Kunar province whose attacks had been taking a heavy toll on Marines operating in eastern Afghanistan. The four SEALs,Lt. Michael Murphy, Sonar Technician (Surface) 2nd Class Matthew Axelson, Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Danny Dietz and Luttrell were the leading edge of the operation, charged with locating Shah and his forces.

The battle went from bad to worse when the Taliban shot down the MH-47 Chinook helicopter carrying the quick reaction force that was sent out to rescue the SEAL team, killing all 16 personnel on board, eight SEALs and eight aviators from the Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment.

Even before the book reaches the action packed battle scenes, the author goes into a very personal reflection of his life and his journey through SEAL training.  The author’s description of what is required to become a Navy SEAL is vivid and intense. After reading what those soldiers go through, you can’t help but feel that Navy SEALs are true American heroes and tough as nails.

If you don’t get a chance to read the book, it is rumored that a movie based on the book will be released sometime next year.  If you have already read the book, tell me what you think.  Is Marcus Luttrell an American hero?  Would you want your son or daughter to see him as a role-model?

7 thoughts on “Lone Survivor – A True American Hero?

  1. Richard McLaughlin

    I read this book several years ago and agree with you. I should have reviewed the book on my business site as an example of leadership.

    I spent 8 years in the Marine Corps – several years being shot at, and know that this is the perfect example of the lengths that an American fighting man will go to in an effort to protect his team. When the team leader walked into fire to use a cell phone to call in for support – what a hero!

    Stumbled.

    Dugg at http://digg.com/movies/Lone_Survivor_A_True_American_Hero

    Movies, as soon to be movie. There is no book review section.

  2. gsmith Post author

    Thanks for your comments Richard. I agree, the soldiers are all portrayed as heros. Would I want my child to grow up with Marcus as a role-model and hero? I have thought long and hard about that, and still am not sure where I stand.

  3. Corky Axelson

    I am the proud father of Matthew Axelson, Axe! I was also called Axe when I was drafted and proudly served in the US Army back in 1966-1968. Yes, I would want any child, nephew, etc., of mine to grow up with the desire to try out for the Navy SEALs. What strength and dedication these men demonstrate. What contributions these men willingly make for us, for the average American. Where would we be without them

  4. gsmith Post author

    Your son is a hero, and I am honored to have you leave your comment on my blog. Thank you.

    While searching the web for more information about the book, I came across a quote that you gave to a local TV station. “There’s a lot of people that put their life on the line not to be a hero but just because of what they believe in.” That statement really hit me, a truly unselfish individual, one we can all hope to live up to.

    I know your wife and you were instrumental in creating The Cupertino Veterans Memorial, others can view online at http://www.cupertinoveteransmemorial.org/

    Thanks to you for raising such a fine man. Rest in Peace Matt.

  5. Dale Moore

    ET1 Jeffrey Allen Lucas,SEAL Team 10, was on the rescue helicopter which was shot down. He too is a hero, and my childrens cousin. We miss him.

  6. gsmith Post author

    I am very sorry for your family’s loss. All of the soldiers who rushed to the aid of their fellow soldiers on that day are all heroes. Thank you for stopping by.

  7. Martin C

    I have read this book and others about the Navy SEALs.. Good to Go, by harry constance is about the beginning of the SEALs and their outstanding tour in Viet Nam.. that is where the SEALs were created.. they used current strategies and operated outside the box.. their success is unmatched by any other spec op or branch of service of that era..
    Luttrell’s book was not as preachy as you say simply because he was expressing the loss he felt in his teamates..this bond is very typical and you will see it in the other books..
    SEALs are unique in their skills and their mission. Even the brass has misused them at times, but since Nicaragua their mission has been for specialized and they are now at their best, such as the rescue of the captain in recent days.. Read what the SEALs did to accomplish the mission and you will know how they operate.. brilliant, strategis and precise beyond measure..
    Also a good book to read is Rogue Warrior by Richard Marcinko. that title is real, most of his other books are fiction.

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