The News Report
I was watching a news report in 2007, when there was a special announcement that a Navy SEAL who grew up on Long Island was going to be awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously for conspicuous gallantry in Afghanistan. Being a guy who grew up on Long Island myself, this immediately caught my attention and made me want to know more about Lt. Michael P. Murphy. I had heard of the book Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell before, but now that a kindred spirit from Long Island was being honored, I thought it was time to buy this book and read about SEAL Team 10 and their battle in the Hindu Kush mountain range.
I watched President Bush present the MOH to Michael’s mother Maureen, father Dan and brother John on October 22, 2007. I heard that different places and offices had been renamed for Michael on Long Island, but I was beginning my Masters studies and did not have much extra time so the book went unread. As time went on, the book Seal of Honor by Gary Williams came out, and I purchased that title as well. Studies continued for me through 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 and finally I completed my degree and ended up with some free time. Again, I did not get started on reading these books. Even though I view Michael Murphy as an incredible hero, I did not move on reading the story.
Fast forward the timeline to December 2013 for the rest of the story. I know that the movie of Lone Survivor is coming to the theater in the early part of January. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back and moved me to action. I am very glad that I took the step and read the book before seeing the movie.
In his book Marcus Luttrell gives a complete and unsweetened view of what happened on June 28, 2005. Before delving into all the specifics of the actual Operation Red Wings tactical planning and execution, Marcus takes us through the training that is necessary to become a Navy SEAL. Once read and understood, this portion of the book gives an insight into why these warriors are the tip of the spear for America’s military. The training is so difficult and exhaustive that only a small percentage of the initial students in any given class actually make it to graduation and the presentation of the SEAL trident. These men are brothers due to a shared experience that has tested every facet of their fiber. From the submersions in cold water, to sleep deprivation, to mile runs to and from the mess hall, SEAL training is set up so that only the strongest of the strong will make it through the end of sets of obstacles and tests (Hell Week) colorfully called the “grinder”. This is the key and the answer is simple: The unit is a team and the team is only as strong as the weakest member. If all of the members are strong and there are no weak members, the team is an invincible phalanx when in the thick of an operation.
In Lone Survivor we get a picture of a unit of men who are all varied and different in ages (Shane Patton was in his early 20s), while Marcus, Matt Axelson and Mike Murphy were in there late 20s and Danny Dietz was in his early 30s. The description Marcus gives of Shane Patton as a surfer dude turned SEAL warrior was very informative and gave a great view of one of the younger teammates. Shane referred to President Bush as a “Right Dude”. James Suh and Erik Kristensen also had interesting and varied backgrounds especially Kristensen who was the son of a Rear-Admiral. The team that went on the mission was a complete microcosm of America: Murphy was from Long Island, Dietz was from Colorado, Axelson was from California, and Lutrell was from Texas. The complete breadth of the country was covered.
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The Electronic/Digital Revolution in Book Publishing: History, Industry Perspective (Print and E-book) and “How To” Publish Your E-book for Amazon Kindle
The mission was to observe a Taliban/Al Qaeda operative (Ben Sharmak) who was a top Bin Ladin captain and eventually take him out with his power-base. Unfortunately, the operation went terribly wrong. Read this book, get to know the men who took part and do not forget their sacrifice. We honor them by learning and studying what transpired. They did what they did to protect us from any and all future 9/11’s.
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