The following is an excerpt from Violence of Action: The Untold Stories of the 75th Ranger Regiment in the War on Terror. I was fortunate to be able to read an advanced copy, and there is nothing else out there like this book. Aside from a few news stories and a couple self-published memoirs, there is almost nothing out there as far as boots-on-the-ground accounts from Rangers in the War on Terror. Violence of Action is a compilation of accounts from dozens of Rangers. This book will churn your guts and is an absolute must-read. — Jack

While his element was moving out, I remember looking down the hill and into the valley and being able to see the rest of the platoon. I remember telling the platoon sergeant that I was still on that hill and could see them and had over watch for them. A few minutes went by, and I remember thinking the gunshots were starting to move a little further away. Another five minutes went by and the gunshots were now even further away.

Once I realized the platoon had moved the wounded to CASEVAC without me, it hit me like a brick in the stomach. I immediately made my way down the hill I had climbed and didn’t see anyone! I realized I had been left! Completely alone now, the feeling that hit my gut was indescribable; it was so overwhelming that I dropped to a knee instantly. My anxiety was going through the roof and for some reason, I jumped up and turned around. I had a feeling that someone was watching me.

About 25 meters behind me was an enemy fighter dressed in red with his weapon at the low ready, sneaking up on me. I raised my SR-25 sniper rifle at him and shoulder fired a few times. I managed to hit him once in the stomach area and he went down. When we were making our way to Pape’s element, I asked the dog handler if all of the threat was eliminated and he responded with no, there are still 7-9 guys that made it out of the cave. So, thinking I had just been walked up on by a squad-sized element, I made my way down the hill I was on. While I was running I looked over to my nine o’clock and could see the same guy in red sitting against a tree with his gun.

Still running, I heard a loud explosion and my eardrums exploded and it felt like I had gotten sucker punched on the left side of my face. My neck burned and my jaw was hurting, then I could see the blood shooting out in front of me when I was running down the hill. As I was running, I pretty much ran off the side of a cliff and started falling head over heels down this hill. My rifle flew out of my hands as I was falling, and I just kept plummeting, hitting my head off rocks, trees, and earth. During my fall, I somehow timed it and landed on my feet and ran down the rest of the way, made a right, and dove into a bush. I started feeling the left side of my neck, checking to see if I had been hit in the jugular, and made my way across my neck to the right side where it was hurting and could feel a hole and my jawbone.

Sitting in that bush, I un-holstered my Beretta M-9 and remember thinking, damn, I’m fucked. I tried to make a radio call and all that came out was a gargled mess. Someone responded with “Break, break, break on the net. Who the fuck is that?” Again I tried to say something and muttered out, “This is Cox, I’m hit.” The next call that came over was give us a distance and direction. I didn’t have a Garmin on, as they were all out when I went to pick up mine. The only thing I had was the wrist compass on my watch that I bought at the PX for ten bucks. I replied I didn’t have a Garmin and asked what direction they had moved. They moved north. So I held my watch up and found north.

I began IMT’ing north, moving from tree to tree. After a few bounds I radioed the assault force to see if they could see me. They still didn’t have eyes on me because they were still taking fire. I began bounding north again and after a few minutes, I stopped and radioed the assault force. They still could not see me. At this point the adrenaline was wearing off and I was getting lightheaded and dizzy. I thought to myself, this is really it. I’m going to die. At the time this event happened, my wife was six months pregnant with our first son. I kept telling myself, I’m going to make it back for the birth of my son!

Book Review: Violence of Action by Marty Skovlund

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