Remembering Operation Red Wings 11 Years Later

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Although this is not a firearms-related post, it is relevant both within the firearms industry and because it is a point of respect – and pride. June 28, 2016 is the 11th anniversary of Operation Red Wings. The nation at large became far more aware of it thanks to the movie Lone Survivor, which was released in 2013, but the events of that day have been felt by many for far longer. And for some, those events have altered their lives drastically and permanently.

“On June 28, 2005, four SEALs – Lt. Michael “Murph” Murphy, Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Danny Dietz, Sonar Technician 2nd Class Matthew “Axe” Axelson, and Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Marcus Luttrell – were carrying out an op to place eyes on known terrorist Ahmad Shah. After positioning themselves amongst the shale of a mountainside in the Hindu Kush east of Asadabad, they were compromised by a trio of supposed goatherders. Deciding it would violate the ROE to kill the three Afghans, the SEALs let them go and immediately moved out. Just a few short hours later, the men were fighting for their lives, and when the proverbial dust settled, only Marcus Luttrell had physically survived.” (excerpt from “The Brotherhood: Remembering the 9th Anniversary of Operation Red Wings”)

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Nineteen men were killed during the course of the failed op. The three SEALs were killed in the firefight against insurgent forces and sixteen more men who made up the QRF and were making what would become the first rescue attempt were killed when their helicopter was shot down by an RPG. Of those sixteen, eleven were SEALs while the remaining eight were Night Stalkers. SEAL Marcus Luttrell survived as a result of his military brothers sacrifices in combat and due to his being stumbled upon by an Afghani whose village believed in not only extending but enforcing Lokhay Warkawal. That Pashtun code of honor included being willing to give their own lives to protect his.

11 years may have passed but the pain of those losses remains fresh for the families of the men who died. Some families have worked tirelessly to build a long-term memorial to one or more of the men. Marcus Luttrell works with a number of charitable organizations but it is his Lone Survivor Foundation that stands out among the others. The Lone Survivor Foundation is a 501(c)3 that works to help wounded servicemembers and their families heal both physically and mentally. Marcus felt the environment in which he recovered from his own devastating injuries would benefit others, and he uses his foundation to make it happen. Others such as the Axelson family – Matt Axelson was one of the three SEALs killed during the firefight on the ground – strive to help other military families and organizations in various ways while building a business as a constantly-growing tribute to their loved one. Axelson Tactical manufacturers high-quality firearms and although they’re a new company, they’re certainly a promising one. They do it all in Matt’s memory.

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The sacrifices made on that shale-strewn mountainside in 2005 are important to remember for many reasons. First and foremost is the simple fact that sacrifices such as those made by the men of Operation Red Wings are what make America, America. We enjoy more freedoms than any other nation thanks to the blood, sweat, and tears of our military. We enjoy Second Amendment rights because men like Danny Dietz, Matt Axelson, Mike Murphy, and Marcus Luttrell signed a blank check for this country. We also enjoy freedom of speech – something I am sure some of you will utilize in the comments section – due to the efforts of these men. Their memories should be respected and remembered for reasons far too numerous to list here.

If you’re interested in learning more about Operation Red Wings I highly suggest going right to the source by reading “Lone Survivor.” The book was written in a collaborative effort between Marcus Luttrell and writer Patrick Robinson; Luttrell told his story to Robinson who turned it into written words. The movie is nicely done but it is, after all, Hollywood – so it isn’t entirely accurate. Read the book. It’s well worth it.

A few websites to consider visiting: Lone Survivor Foundation at http://lonesurvivorfoundation.org/, Axelson Tactical at https://axelsontactical.com/, and Reaper Outdoors at http://reaperoutdoors.com/.

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Axelson Tactical is manufacturing a Danny Dietz tribute rifle (the Matt Axelson tribute rifle was the gun that got the company started). You can read about it in either of these posts from SHOT – “Danny Dietz Tribute Rifle by Axelson Tactical” or “SHOT Show 2016: Danny Dietz Tribute Rifle.” Visit the website for a closer look: http://axelsontactical.com/products/tribute-store/axelson-tactical-dietz-special-purpose-rifle.html



katie.ainsworth

Katie is an avid shooter, hunter, military journalist, and Southern girl. Firearms are her passion whether at the range or on a spot-and-stalk after a big buck. She’s a staff writer at The Firearm Blog and writes about guns, hunting, and the military for various publications both online and in print such as Outdoor Life, Handguns, and Shooting Illustrated. Shoot her a message at ainsworth.kat@usa.com


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  • Zachary marrs

    You think lone survivor is a good source? Please.

    Try Victory Point.

    • KestrelBike

      Is Victory Point the best source civilians can get to read the closest account possible of what happened?

      • Joshua

        Yes. There is nothing outside of those who may be willing to discuss it in public forums that compares to the accuracy of darracks book.

    • alex archuleta

      Victory point is an excellent reference and also talks about OP Whalers, which was the USMC’s version of payback for what happened with Red Wings. Which by the way was a Marine Operation first. Major Wood was a good man and I feel Red Wings wouldn’t have been a disaster had it remained a USMC joint operation.
      Victory point cleared up a lot of things that this pee on LCpl never understood at the time.

    • Kivaari

      It’s a good read and a good film.

      • Joshua

        It’s made up drivel.

        • Kivaari

          The film, like many films used screen writers to spice up the story. Even fiction gets played with y screen writers. Read “Clear and Present Danger” and “Sum of All Fears”. The films differ from the books by a great deal. Same for most stories. Like a book based on real events. WW2 happened, and we get space ships flying round.

      • Zachary marrs

        If you are looking to be entertained, but not informed.

  • Pedro

    Read them both!

  • Dave

    “so it isn’t entirely accurate” Neither is the book, and I’m not entirely sure that cockup of an op should be something people are proud of. Respectful? Sure, but not pride, knowing how things actually got to that result.

    • micmac80

      Exactly , plenty of made up stuff. Lone survivor is a fairytale.

      • It’s no fairytale that good men died both in the operation and in the following rescue attempt. If you knew people in the community and talked with them i don’t think you would have that opinion. Visit SOFREP and ask them I imagine they could clarify things for you.

        • CommonSense23

          The the 4 man recce teams did everything wrong. That they got themselves and the QRF killed. That the book and the movie whitewash all the failures of the Recce team?

          • Joshua

            Official reports whitewash the actual failures of that mission.

            It was a disgrace on so many levels and no telling how much of that Intel lost with that laptop(which they never should have had) was used against us.

          • Kivaari

            In the past we have seen similar events result out of not killing the civilians. How many men have died because a got herding kid tripped over the team? It seems a constant in warfare since men herded sheep and goats. Or a screw up like the Marines that killed the kid out plinking with his .22 rifle. That was stateside along the southern border. Stuff goes wrong.

          • CommonSense23

            Them not killing the goat herders had nothing to do with it. Multiple other seal elements had been comprised by herders, and had plans for it. They didn’t. They even ignored the advice given by seal team 6 that soft compromise(discovery by herders) was the number one thing that would happen. They didn’t have a plan for it. They ignored the advice that 4 man recce teams were to small. They ignored the advice that comms were a major issue. They were led by a incompetent officer and LPO.

          • Kivaari

            Did they not plan or did the plan not work. Compromise has killed a lot of fine men.

          • CommonSense23

            They didn’t plan. The operation is just bad decision after bad decision from the start. The biggest issue is letting a officer who should have been kicked out stay in. And giving SDV a mission.

          • Joshua

            They didn’t plan. Simple as that, they were “Special Forces” and didn’t need no stinking advice on how to run a OP from the Marine Corps.

          • n0truscotsman

            The whole ‘voting’ thing, whether to kill said goat herder or not, was a big ‘WTFO’ moment for me. 0__o

            If that was indeed true (and Ill say, from my own military experience, its bunk), that says a lot about the command presence within the unit, or, lack thereof.

          • Kivaari

            I don’t remember it from the book. But, I don’t have the book to re-read. When I saw it in the movie, I wondered the same. SEALs would know what was right. There may be events where herders needed killing, it just isn’t what our guys want.

          • Matt

            because is a war crime to kill civilians?
            A soldier’s job description includes risking your life.
            That is why you dont’ carpet bomb or nuke evertyhing.

          • Kivaari

            That may be part of it. WE tend not to be murderers.

          • Dave

            Matt (and I want to emphasize that I am not attacking you as a person), that comment is stupid. Killing civilians during a war is unfortunate but a reality never-the-less. Furthermore, your mistaken statement about carpet bombing or nuke-ing, has absolutely nothing to do with “war crimes”. It is extremely hard to laser designate all the targets that a “carpet bombing” mission would entail. “Carpet bombing” with dumb bombs is extremely cost ineffective and in these days of fiscal restrictions, that probably won’t happen. Our current ROE is driven by a bunch of political appointees and a belief in political correctness.

          • Matt

            Well, I hope you will understand an example using extreme condition.
            Killing civilians is not “unfortunate”, is forbidden or, if you prefer is a war crime.
            There is no such a thing like “colleteral damage” in the geneva convention about treatmenf of civilians during war.. So educate yourself before considering my comment stupid.

          • Lai

            Yup, Ephialtes, whose name when spoken in Greece obliges one to spit over their shoulder, was also a goat herder. Without him, who knows how long the Spartans would have held out at Thermopylae.

        • Dave

          Phil, I do know people in the community, I served in the ADF and worked alongside several groups in USSOCOM and had the unfortunate honour of being first eyes on Mako’s failed LZ on top of Takur Ghar. Coming across Neil’s body in the AQ camp is something I will never forget, and I have the utmost respect for those that made the ultimate sacrifice, but I also see the reality of what actually happened, and it is sad to say the least.

          • J0shua

            Any credence to the rumor (as was also rumored with extortion 17) that it was something more advanced than an RPG that shot down that Chinook?

        • Friend of Tibet

          That does not change the fact operation red wing is a total failure on so many levels. Good men died because of these mistakes.And compare to what really happened, the movie LONE SURVIVOR is indeed a fairytale compare to the reality.

        • Ron

          Years ago the AAR by Luttrell could be found on the SIPR, I believe it was leaked as part of the mass loss of data years ago.
          Bottom line the book and movie don’t reflect what was in that AAR.

      • Kivaari

        The movie? Book? Reality?

    • Kivaari

      What book is close? Worse what film is close.

      • RS

        Generation Kill is

  • Martin Grønsdal

    That the sacrifice was great, no problem in neither believing, nor understanding.

    That it helps promoting the 2nd amendment to the US constitution? Well, when Clinton becomes president, and appoints one or two judges to the Supreme Court, and your 2nd amendment will be interpreted accordingly.

    • john huscio

      If she’s not taken into custody first

      • KestrelBike

        If she is not and becomes President, then the U.S. will have reached the tipping point imo. As Thomas recently wrote in his dissent in the recent abortion case, we’ll be a nation no longer ruled by law.

  • TDog

    I’m curious as to how the account of Red Wings so closely matches that of Bravo Two Zero (another episode whose accuracy is in question), namely that you have a special operations group running afoul of an underage shepherd (or goatherd, in this instance), refusing to kill him, and winding up fighting a running gun battle.

    Are herders of the world the premier counterinflitration experts or is this just a running theme?

    • Tassiebush

      Interesting parallel but herders would cover a lot of terrain that otherwise wouldn’t be covered and I guess herders roam the fringes of settled areas and patrols do too.

      • TDog

        Time to outlaw herders… 😉

      • Bill

        IIRC the original Eagle Claw op, that was arguably the motor the drove the advancement of SOFs, was compromised by passersby also, truck drivers maybe?

        • Tassiebush

          Sorry Bill I’m not sure what the term SOF means. Special operations forces?
          Yes I think with eagle claw from memory there was an extremely unfortunately timed bus and truck arrival on a stretch of highway. I should read up on it but the theme of being sighted and following trouble is certainly a common one. I guess warfare is virtually always near where people live and it’s a huge challenge to avoid detection. I sometimes wonder too if camouflage is less used nowadays. It seems like the gear itself is not optimal for concealment. All those patches and molle straps and electronics etc.

          • Bill

            “Special Operations Forces” is correct, though it seems that nowadays “special” is the new “normal,” figuratively and literally.

            Don’t even bring up camo in the US. We now have multiple patterns for each branch of the military, and have poured billions of dollars into “research” that doesn’t seem to satisfy anyone, except the fans of whatever pattern was picked.

          • Tassiebush

            Yes everything is somehow special these days. I guess though it’s that situation of having lots of highly mobile people doing raids as the main focus in the most recent wars.
            Yeah it’s odd looking from outside at how many patterns there are with US forces. IMHO you folks should just pick a mix of marpat and multicam depending on the spot. That army one seems like a debacle for anything not very arid.
            Auscam has seemed a good one but it’s being phased out for a newer multicam auscam hybrid. I’m no expert though.

    • Zachary marrs

      Leting the sheppard go wasn’t what doomed operation Red Wings

      • TDog

        Yes… because the Taliban had psychics who detected them first? 😉

        • Joshua

          Didn’t need psychics when you get a helo to drop you off right near where you had planned to post and observe.

          • Kivaari

            Wasn’t it miles, klicks, away? With multiple false insertions? It’s a job much tougher than me.

          • Joshua

            No, it wasn’t.

            The SEALs thought they were bad —es and ignored what the Marine Corps told them about the OP.

          • CommonSense23

            They just didn’t ignore the marines. They ignored Damneck also who told them specifically not to do the op. Then ingored all the advice they told them they would need if they decided to do it anyway.

    • Joshua

      Because they’re both made up drivel to make the dead look better and to whitewash the failures of those missions.

      • CommonSense23

        One of the most telling things I have ever heard said about Red wings came from a 06 who said that the good thing about Murphy dying was they could give him the MOH instead of the court martial he deserved.

    • The Pro

      I don’t know how to break this to people, but even Marcus was unaware that the team had been compromised before the goat-herders stumbled onto them. The helicopter insertion was loud and echoed across the valley that night. The next morning, early, Taliban types looked around, found the 90′ drop rope coiled up where Murph tried to hide it, and started following footsteps. These guys are SEALS, not magicians, and they left footprints that were easy for the bad guys to follow. They were stalked and surrounded by a larger group of people (doesn’t matter how many, but it wasn’t 100+ for damn sure). They had higher ground and plunging, interlocking fire and superior caliber weaponry over what the SEAL team had. The operation was changed from a larger, 8 man force to a smaller force by Cdr. Christensen himself. That’s probably one of the many reasons he was compelled to get on that bird and be there to help these guys out. He owned the planning and approval process. The Marines that were working directly with the SEAL teams gave them good intel and warned them what they were up against, as best they knew. SEAL operators are not the type of folks to be scared of a little gunplay, so they made the decision to take more risk in the hopes of pulling off the operation in two stages with a smaller lead element than originally scoped. It obviously went wrong, but the true fault lay with the Army guy who threw out the rope from the MH-47 on insertion. That’s when things went wrong enough to cause people to die. It went downhill from there, literally and metaphorically. The shoot down of the MH-47 was pure luck, but it happened in any event. Men died, good men, and they didn’t do anything wrong other than be in that place at that time. It’s pathetic that folks disparage them on the Internet without having any real information. Even people that served and were there didn’t have the information I just shared. It’s not secret, it’s just not widely known. I served as a Marine Officer there and I worked with the SEAL teams. I’m proud to have known some of these men, and I’m glad that although they perished that people are still honoring their sacrifice. NSDQ, and LLTB!

      • nova3930

        I work with some guys that were part of the overall force in that immediate area. According to them the 47 shootdown probably wasn’t luck. Pilots were getting complacent and flying somewhat predictable routes and maneuvers. Apparently there had been another couple of close calls in the weeks prior in the same general vicinity…..

        ETA

        At least that was the case on the Army side. All the guys I know are prior service Army…..

        • The Pro

          There was no predictable route involved here. The landing site was improvised, and the route was “virgin”. It wasn’t a common area for us to operate in below 15000′. When you see the area from the air, it looks like there are villages, you see paths and trails that sheep and men use, and you see areas where trees are cleared for lumber harvesting and making shelters. On the ground, you see stone structures set up with loopholes to fire at other positions from, you see mortar pits concealed from the air, you see covered positions that are on the ridgelines and almost impossible to see from the air. We’re talking about fighting positions that have been there since the late 70’s/early 80’s. The locals know their turf, and they know exactly how to maneuver on, around, and through it. The Taliban that isn’t from the area simply gets help from a local that acts as a guide and helps them get to the area they want to go very quickly. The night the SEAL team was inserted, everyone in the area heard the choppers (we’ve got unclass intel that tells us so) and although there were decoy insertions as mentioned, there are only a few areas that you could put down on those ridgelines near the villages and the Taliban knew this. The enemy is *not* stupid. They are very cunning and extremely resourceful. They have no problem intimidating or killing locals to get “cooperation” and help from them, but they walk a very fine line in the tribal areas when they do so. Ask Shah: he was killed after trying to take a could of chickens from a guy so he could eat them without paying, asking, or even giving *anything* as compensation. The guy who owned said chickens got pissed and mowed Shah and a couple of his guys with PKM fire. He died shortly after that. That was in 2008 by the way.

          The Army’s tactics were not the problem. They were operating in daylight however, and they weren’t used to doing what they do in that time slot. They are “Nightstalkers” for a reason. Their efficacy and mission parameters are oriented to night operations. They can do daylight stuff, sure, but the vast majority of all operations are night. Of course, the QRF wasn’t going to wait until night fell to go in and help out the RECCE team. They didn’t have a choice. The luck I mentioned was that the guys knew the spots where the helos could even possible land, had guys there, and made the shot with a weapon that is not known for accuracy. They’d shoot those things at us and “splash” us with rock or debris more often than they’d hit us directly with them. The RPG-7 hit was right behind the combining transmission through the open rear ramp on that MH-47. If you hit the combining transmission, the fore and aft rotor systems are no longer sync’d and they slap into each other, causing major problems. With the loss of lift, even though they were in an established 50′ hover, the aircraft went down and crashed down slope. As it went down, the folks in the back spilled out of the ramp and were on-fire already and those in the chopper burned to death if they didn’t die on impact. The Rangers that went in to get them (and I know 2 of them, one of them was the MSgt in charge) said that hours after the crash that the debris was still burning and they could see it easily on their NVG’s. Some of the guys recovered were put into bags as ashes, that’s how hot the fire was. Those guys were heartbroken up there doing recovery of their fellow Americans. It was hard to hear on the radio, it was hard to see after they got there, and it was hard to see the ramp ceremony back on the flight lines for these guys. Anyone that wants to see what love and respect looks like should bear witness to these guys sending off their beloved comrades on the ramp.

    • J0shua

      I read a story about some u.s. special forces having the same exact problem hunting scuds in Iraq during desert storm. They let the young Herder go, Herder alerted his buddies and the team, which was set up in a drainage ditch, came under attack, had to call danger close air support, barely made it out. I’d say part of it is coincidence, but I also think the bad guys understand our rules of engagement and know we are much more likely not to kill a young goat Herder or detain them for fear of compromise. It’s like when u hear about how Saddam watched black hawk down for hints on how a ranger/Delta team might operate. It’s not so much that he got any info on how our guys conduct operations as much as he got info on how to use civilians as a blocking force against our guys and how our guys would react to mobs of mostly unarmed civilians.

  • datimes

    “We enjoy Second Amendment rights” and ” We also enjoy freedom of speech”? With the Left fanatically working to side step firearm ownership and political correctness used as a hammer to control speech contrary to their objectives. The SCOTUS recently further revoked life time possession of firearms for conviction of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine. Liberty has been losing the war for decades.

    • Kivaari

      Old cases that wouldn’t amount to anything if reviewed. But, there is no review.

    • Cattoo

      Say what? I missed that tidbit of news.

      • datimes

        Voisine v United States. In a 6-2 ruling, the court upheld the opinion that domestic violence
        convictions can result in gun ownership restrictions, even if the
        misdemeanor is only the result of recklessness rather than intent.
        Justices Roberts, Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer and Alito were in the
        majority, with Thomas and Sotomayor dissenting.

        • Cattoo

          Oh ok. Thank you. I was thinking the DVs were felonies and just hadn’t thought of ghem being treated as misdemeanors.
          Boy they sure screw you going you ways here don’t they?

          • Kivaari

            Most DV crimes are minor misdemeanor offenses. Many that have lost gun rights (for life) never harmed anyone. Some involve things as serious as breaking a dish.

    • Cattoo

      I read somewhere a comment made by someone that went along the lines of “If they treat us this bad while we have guns, imagine how bad they’ll treat us without them.”

      I’d rather not find out.

      • Cottersay

        That’s a great quote!!

  • guest

    is this the firearm blog or what?

  • Lew Siffer

    Every operation is filled with mistakes. Every retelling of any operation is completely distorted, either on purpose or because of the nature of human memory. Some soldiers die charging machine gun nests. Some die because they know too much. But they all died for us, and we are in their debt, forever.

    • Katie A

      Thank you.

    • Dave

      Those who write a check to We the People, guaranteed with their lives, are the pillars upon which this Republic gained its independence and sustained our Land of Liberty for these 240 years. God bless them all – past, present and future!

  • Vitsaus

    I am not downplaying the loss of these men, but I find companies milking their deaths for publicity and/or money distasteful.

    • Zach Robinson

      Indeed. The glorification of this failed op is distasteful at best, reprehensible at worst.

      • Kivaari

        It didn’t seem to me to glorify anything. The book or movie. Both told a tale of a failure a lucky enemy and some good fighting men that went down. If you read the story it does honor Murphy and the others. It sure didn’t make them into super men, just some tough warriors that were out numbered and over powered. There wasn’t any glory in getting shot to pieces. The Afghan villager seems to have done some downright brave stuff.

      • John Wisch

        I don’t understand you people here.
        So the U.S. shouldn’t celebrate or recognize Memorial Day ???
        Are you aware the 50% of SOF missions are failures to one degree or another? It’s true.
        We have operators that get hit and killed and it never makes the news.
        All dependent on where they are operating and what the mission is.
        So this mission went FUBAR from the intel on troop strength, to the coms, to decisions made on the ground. As well as to the RPG that took down the first Chinook. A lot of very good to great American warriors died for each other, fighting for each others lives.
        And we shouldn’t recognize or be proud of their sacrifice, courage, effort, or ability to fight & survive.
        Ok, any of you that really feel that way, you’re an idiot.
        The book was written as a way to honor the fallen, not glorify them or the single survivor. The Movie ended up being about Hollywood B.S. and making big money. Even though I don’t believe that Peter Berg meant it to turn out that way. It’s how it tuned out anyway.
        In its own way the Movie did honor the fallen Soldiers, Airmen, & Sailors
        I actually think the end of the movie should have been played in the beginning of the Movie as well.

  • Captain obvious

    Only the guys that were there know what really happened. Any after the fact opinion is purely speculation or total BS. In other words, if you weren’t there STFU.

    • CommonSense23

      Well the fact that there loadout was known. That they ignored multiple pieces of advice that would have prevented them from getting killed.

    • Ron

      You are right and Luttrell as one of the people there did an official AAR that was available on SIPR for years. That report contradicts both the book and the movie.

      • Dave

        Any Intel on whether that AAR is floating around out there in open channels?

    • Joshua

      There’s plenty of people who know the facts.

      It’s not like we didn’t have drones overhead.

      Let’s face it the SEALs screwed majorly, not to mention the op should have been handled by the Marines from the get go.

  • None of us can swear to what happened unless we had been there.

    • CommonSense23

      You don’t have to have been there to see ho much of a distaster this was due to those 4 men. They set up a suicide mission and unfortunately got a QRF killed for their absolute incompetence.

      • RS

        That eas a basic recom mission. Nothing special.

        • CommonSense23

          The way they planned it turned it into a suicide mission.

        • russ

          I don’t think this went the way the TFB author thought. lol

          • Katie A

            I expected this. However, I’d hoped you all would show a modicum of respect.

      • Kivaari

        Command approved the op.

        • CommonSense23

          Cause they weren’t micromanaging. Which is the right thing to do normally. But in this case it wasn’t.

    • JSmath

      The words of people, especially a lone survivor, are rarely ever as honest as impartial observations made after the fact.

      • RS

        Exactly. Especially if the ‘Lone Survivor’ makes $60K for each public lecture…

    • Zachary marrs

      There are these things called “after action reports”, “witness accounts”, and “poor planning”

    • Joshua

      Plenty of people were there.

  • JSmath

    Source?

    • RS

      That’s an excerpt from a recent article in Newsweek:
      Marcus Luttrell’s Savior, Mohammad Gulab, Claims ‘Lone Survivor’ Got It Wrong
      By R.M. Schneiderman

      Check it out…

      • Kivaari

        It’s a fact of life.

      • JSmath

        Thank you

    • Joshua

      Well it’s the fact.

      A 4 man group got decimated before they knew what hit them by 7 inbreds with PKMs RPGs and AKs.

      Don’t underestimate what superior numbers, element of surprise, and high ground can offer even untrained goat herders.

      • JSmath

        I wasn’t asking if it was fact or not, I want to read the actual f**king source.

  • Bob

    Ummmm…. What?

    • Bill

      Google “Fulton Recovery System:” I’ve jumped out of a plane, but never up into one.

    • Gary Kirk

      Apply jump harness attached to a pretty much weather balloon, balloon goes up, C-130 flies by with a catch device.. Long ago experiment to evacuate rapidly.. Didn’t work out perfectly

  • HH

    Looks like I need to read the Redwings book. I thought Lone Survivor was very poorly written and bombastic /exaggeration -like. Lots of hype put in them. Enjoyed reading it but always had a sneaking suspicion that all is not as it seems. The movie? Of course it’s gonna be hyped up- that’s expected. But you know what? I really just want to know what exactly happened to the best that can be determined- and without hype, blame baggage, defense, etc. Just the facts so to speak.

    My understanding from Luttrell’s book was that allowing the goaters to go free PLUS bad communication ( resorting to a Sat phone, etc) were the culprits of this tragedy. They should have been extracted immed after the goat herder release OR they should have executed the herders, rightly or wrongly, and continued the mission. Of course I’m Monday am QB’ing them which I realize is idiotic.

    I appreciate their service and my comments are not meant to disparage SEALS, US military at large, or Luttrell.

    • RS

      Now there is a better book to read, by Mohammad Gulab.

      The Lion of Sabray: The Afghani Warrior Who Defied the Taliban and Saved the Life of Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell

      • HH

        thanks!

    • Lew Siffer

      “OR they should have executed the herders, rightly or wrongly, and continued the mission…” There is no right way to murder an innocent juvenile. What would they say to God when he met them with the soul of that young goatherd?

      • Dave

        That innocent juvenile contributed directly to the death of a lot of Warriors. War is Hell and civilians die. The mission comes 1st thus the goat herders die or are restrained. After the mission and upon exfil they could have been released.

        Remember that kids with cell phones alerted the Somolian warlords that the Army was coming. War is Hell and sometimes civilians must die.

        • mbrd

          wow, straight out of the movies…

          • Dave

            Sorry, not movie talk. 30 yr Veteran. Reality talk. E-2 to E-8 then O-1 to O-4. Learned from training and operational experience. Nothing more; nothing less. Not about me; not about anyone else. It is all about the mission. It is all about achieving the mission; it is not about personal “growth”.

      • Kivaari

        We do try to hold the high ground. Killing goat herders is not what we normally do.

    • Kivaari

      It seems like every book I’ve read by a vet from any special operations group has “stuff” to fill in the story. I enjoyed the book. I’ve read quite a few and typically the writing is not first rate. Most have a fellow writer to assist them and those people are not first tier writers.

  • Kivaari

    The first thing to go wrong is almost always communications. This team was hammered by poor comms.

    • Joshua

      That’s what happens you ignore redundancy and only bring one sat phone.

      2 is 1 and 1 is 0.

      • Kivaari

        They had depth in conventional radio. With each man packing radios, it seems like the pre-planning failed. Did they know that the conventional radios would not work there? That would be odd. Foliage attenuation? Earth features acting as signal sinks? I’ve been in spots where LITERALLY, an arms reach meant the difference between getting signals in or out. Both with VHF and UHF. Brush and natural geology.
        I would have expected the command to know if the area was a dead zone.
        We have ways of finding out.

        • Al Wise

          There would not have been a dead zone if they had proper air support. Hell, that’s Vietnam-era SOP. Not rocket science.

          • Kivaari

            That was my point. In the bush that nice tall tree is your enemy.

        • Joshua

          The Marine Corps command knew, but the SEALs chose to do their own thing and pushed aside the guys who had been planning the op long before the SEALs got there.

  • Al Wise

    The Fulton is fantasy and Hollywood BS. Never used with a human in the field because its a giant christmas tree and needs lots of open ground. Not applicable to more than a single person, even if it did work. Certainly would work in Afghanistan.

  • Kivaari

    It seems like a great deal of hate is going out towards the team. Is that called for? I haven’t read official reports, just Luttrell’s book and the film. I did not see glorification, just some screw ups that led to dead sailors. Stuff, we have seen in every war recorded, since we learned to record stuff. How many good teams got whacked in Vietnam? Little VC chasing chickens.

  • Oldtrader3

    God Bless our fallen heroes!

  • Don1974

    This is my understanding of what happened with Spartan 01. The four man recon team was compromised by 3 goat herders. They had 2 choices; shoot goat herders and continue mission OR let goat herders go, beat feet to last position with comms and call for immediate extract. They instead made a risky 3rd choice; let the goat herders go and continue on with the mission. This led to a firefight with the local militia and the deaths of Murphy, Fritz, and Axelson. The teams fourth member Lutrell was hid with the help of a Afghan village until US forces were told of his location. He was subsequently rescued. Again this is my generic understanding of the events as related to Spartan 01. It in no way diminishes these men and their sacrifice for their country.

    • John Wisch

      Who the hell are you?
      They had 2 choices; shoot goat herders? Seriously?
      Not choke them out. Not knife the brain stem, Not snap their necks, or crush their trach’s. Not asphyxiate them with another method. They had to SHOOT THEM?
      In a clandestine mission. Do you really think that a suppressed 5.56 makes no report.

      • Don1974

        You mad bro? I thought it went without saying they could have killed the goat herders by other means. I didn’t think it necessary to list all the other ways of terminating the compromise. That’s why I used the somewhat generic term of shooting them. Also does a suppressed M4 make more or less noise than a person screaming for their life? Oh one other thing, do you talk to people in person like you do anonymously on the internet.

  • Cottersay

    RS: Excellent counter info to the LS book (and to the even more exaggerated movie). Makes a hell of a lot more sense from any non-biased perspective.

  • Kivaari

    Some criticism is just too much. The “errors” about WMDs, Taliban/Al Queda and such should be remembered in the context of the period. This was early on in the war. Much of what was “known as fact” morphed as more became known. WMDs were found in Iraq. Not many, since it appears most were shipped to Syria. Stored in Syria where many were destroyed by Italy on behalf of the UN. Intermixing the various Islamic terrorist groups is a “So, what?”. Regardless of the names of groups at various times, and their association with or not with each other is a “Who, cares?” now. The enemy is radical Islam, and every group is our enemy and that’s what counts.
    I suggest everyone read the official MoH citation. In the end, Luttrel lived.
    I like the book and film. Complaining that he calls a “sat-phone” a “cell phone” is a “big deal” to just who? How many enemy fighters were killed? Luttrell thought about 35. IIRC the navy said about 30. Some critics are saying there were 8-10 enemy.
    Critics complain that the target of the op was not a HVT. Well, he was “The TARGET” of this operation.
    It seems that changing the name from the “Red Wings” to “Redwings” is a critical error that proves the whole tale is fiction.
    Why don’t we accept the navy citation and accept the perception of Luttrell as being good enough.

  • Kivaari

    Read “Enemy at the Gate” and watch the film, and neither one tells a real story.

  • Friend of Tibet

    Because good men died, and these death can be avoided.