I first met Brandon Webb when I was a student in the Naval Special Warfare Sniper Course.
Sniper school was one of the toughest things I’ve ever done, in some ways even more difficult than the infamous ordeal known as BUD/S, or Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training, that every SEAL undergoes. The sniper course starts with a stalking phase, which is all about stealth and concealment, training us to crawl painstaking inches and yards undetected across enemy-held territory. I have to be honest: this was not easy for me. The shooting part came naturally. The stalking part did not. I’m a pretty big guy, and trying to make myself look like an ice plant or manzanita bush instead of a six-foot Texan… it just wasn’t happening. I don’t know how I would have gotten through it if it weren’t for Brandon being my instructor.
Brandon and his cadre were incredibly tough on us. They were intent on making us some of the best special forces operators in the field, and I have to admit: In that they succeeded. As I say in my book, Brandon’s standards were so high they would have made an Apache scout gasp. But it wasn’t just a matter of making our lives hard. Brandon went beyond the call. He set aside time after course hours to answer questions and work with all the students. He mentored me, and did whatever it took to make sure I knew my stuff.
Graduating sniper school was one of the proudest achievements of my life.
I went from sniper school almost directly to Afghanistan. Not too many months after being under Brandon’s care, I found myself in the soaring Hindu Kush mountains, a sub-range of the Himalayas, not far from the Afghanistan–Pakistan border. June 29, 2005. Everyone else in my recon team was gone, including my brother Morgan’s best friend Matt “Axe” Axelson—all killed by the same couple hundred Taliban forces who were now doing their level best to kill me too. If it had not been for Brandon’s patience, care, and skill with me in the sniper course not long before, I can promise you this: I would have left these Texan bones bleaching on the Afghan hillside.
My story, the story of Operation Redwing and the brave men who gave their lives in the battle for Murphy’s Ridge, is chronicled in the pages of the book Lone Survivor. Brandon’s story is chronicled here in the pages you hold in your hands. And it’s about time. His training saved my life then, just as it would again several years later in a very different environment, fighting house to house on the hot, muggy streets of Iraq.
And I know I’m not the only one. There are a lot of people out there, people whose names you’ll never hear, who are alive today because of the efforts, skill, and dedication of Brandon and others like him. What you’re about to read is not just the making of a Navy SEAL sniper, but the story of one guy who went on to help shape the lives of hundreds of elite special forces warriors.
It was a great honor to serve on and off the battlefield with the men of the U.S. Navy SEAL teams and U.S. SOCOM (Special Operations Command). Brandon and I have both lost many great friends over the years, and it’s comforting to know that the memories of these great warriors will live on in the stories we share with you. My hope is that you will come to know them as intimately as we did, and that you continue to pass on their stories of heroism so that we may never forget the ultimate sacrifice they paid for the freedom we enjoy today.
Brandon has a great story to tell, and it is living proof that you can achieve anything you put your mind to. It’s an honor to introduce his memoir.
Marcus Luttrell (USN Ret.), former Navy SEAL and #1 national bestselling author of Lone Survivor
Let me know what you think of the book! Thanks for checking it out. -Brandon