Former Senior Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Douglas “Mike” Day has died. Day was shot 27 times during a 2007 deployment to Iraq and was awarded the Silver Star.
In a message to Navy Times, a Naval Special Warfare spokeswoman is reported as saying,
“We mourn the loss of an outstanding Naval Special Warfare teammate, former Senior Chief Mike Day. His courage and grit formed the standard we uphold in the community today, and we will always remember his service to the special operations community.”
Gone Too Soon
Day left us on March 27, 2023. His career in the Navy spanned 21 years. In addition to the Silver Star, he was awarded two Bronze Stars (one with valor), a Purple Heart, and several other accommodations.
Following his service, Day became a well-known author and advocate for wounded veterans. He also continued to train special operations forces and law enforcement personnel as a tactical training instructor. In addition, day was the founder of Warrior Tribe, a non-profit organization offering resiliency training resources for veterans and trauma survivors.
In 2020 he penned his memoir, “Perfectly Wounded,” where he recounts being the first man to enter a 12 by 12 room during the hunt for a high-level al Qaeda operative. Four terrorists were waiting in that room, ready to ambush the first person through the door. That happened to be Day. An intense gunfight ensued, and when the smoke cleared, the four terrorists were dead. Their deaths were at a high cost. Day had been shot an incredible 27 times and had sustained multiple shrapnel wounds and a traumatic brain injury.
Amazingly, despite his injuries, he managed to clear the rest of the structure and rescued the six women and children inside before walking away under his own power to a waiting MEDEVAC helicopter, where he began the fight of his life. He was evacuated first to Baghdad, then to Landsthul in Germany, and finally to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
In the hospital, he lost over 50 pounds in two weeks. It took the former Senior Chief nearly two years to recover from the physical wounds of that Day, but the pain never entirely went away. It rarely does. Day’s invisible wounds, PTSD, and a Traumatic Brain injury stayed with him for the rest of his life.
In an interview with CBN, Day describes the miracle of making it home alive.
Video Courtesy of YouTube and CBN News
In His Own Words
In an interview with Coffee or Die, he said,
“Over my life, I’ve had a lot of trauma, and I have acquired the mindset that I don’t care what happens. When it happens, I’ll just figure it out.”
On the Team Never Quit podcast, he described his ordeal to fellow SEAL Marcus Luttrell. You can listen to that interview here. He told Marcus that after he breached the door that fateful Day in 2007, “I took a left-hand turn, and they just started shooting at me.” The two Iraqi Scouts accompanying Day were behind him.
“After I realized that I actually was getting shot, my second thought was, ‘God get me home to my girls,’ and then extreme anger. Then I just went to work. It was muscle memory. I just did what I was trained to do.”
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Day’s rifle was knocked from his hands shortly after he began taking rounds. He immediately switched to his secondary weapon, his pistol, and used it to kill the terrorists. When it was time to leave the structure, he waived off help from his Iraqi Scouts. He describes why,
“I wasn’t being macho, but I was afraid if they picked me up, it would just hurt more.”
An excellent, in-depth interview with Day on the Jocko Podcast from about two years ago. Video courtesy of YouTube and Jocko Willink.
Day was a warrior’s warrior and is gone too soon.
Rest in peace, brother.
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