Chaos and pain. Marcus Luttrell admits he thrives on those two things.
That was a centerpiece of his shattered and heroic story of growing up in Texas and wanting to be a U.S. Navy SEAL special forces team member alongside his twin brother. They both would graduate from the hard-as-nails school in Coronado, Calif.
“Y’all ready to rock ’n’ roll?” Luttrell asked the 1,200 people gathered at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center Tuesday, the second and final day of the 11th annual Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum.
The Texan was part of a four-man reconnaissance team that entered the mountainous border of Afghanistan and Pakistan in June 2005. The mission quickly turned deadly after herdsmen spotted the Americans, culminating in a firefight against a heavily armed group of Taliban.
Luttrell was the only one of the four to make it out alive — albeit with a terribly battered and wounded body — after being sheltered by a local group of villagers. He would later receive a Purple Heart and the Navy Cross for combat heroism.
“I thank God every single day for letting me be born common and in this country,” said Luttrell, discussing his disciplinary father, who told his sons if they were going to exploit all that America has to offer, they would have to serve it first. Thus, their laser-focused goal to become members of the Navy’s elite Sea, Air and Land (SEAL) forces. In essence, he said Tuesday, they were training to become paid “gunfighters.”
Read More: Ledger-Enquirer
Featured Image – Navy file photo of Navy SEALs operating in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. From left to right, sonar technician (surface) Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew G. Axelson, of Cupertino, Calif.; Senior Chief information systems technician Daniel R. Healy, of Exeter, N.H.; quartermaster Petty Officer 2nd Class James Suh, of Deerfield Beach, Fla.; hospital corpsmen Petty Officer 2nd Class Marcus Luttrell; machinist’s mate Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric S. Patton, of Boulder City, Nev.; and Lt. Michael P. Murphy, of Patchogue, N.Y. With the exception of Luttrell, all were killed June 28, 2005, by enemy forces while supporting Operation Red Wing. – DVIDS