Friday, June 22, 2007

Lone Survivor

In June of 2005, an MH-47 Chinook helicopter was shot down by the Taliban, and all 16 personnel on board were killed. The helicopter had been going in to help out four U.S. Navy SEALs who had been ambushed by an estimated 140 members of the Taliban. Only one of the SEALs survived the attack, and he is now telling his story.

Marcus Luttrell, who at the time was a petty officer second class, wrote Lone Survivor, telling the story of his survival and rescue from Afghanistan, along with the heroism of his three fallen comrades. His story is an amazing story, one that I don't even want to try to summarize. I just want to get my hands on a copy of this book and read the whole account for myself.

Here are some links to various accounts & interviews regarding the book and Luttrell's story:
I cannot imagine what these guys go through on a day to day basis. The sacrifices they make for our freedom our unbelievable. A couple of Bible verses come to mind:
  • Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends. - John 15:13 (ESV)
  • For one will scarcely die for a righteous person--though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die--but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. - Romans 5:7-8 (ESV)
Please pray for the men & women who are serving our country in the various branches of the military. At the very least, pray for their safety. And pray that God would be glorified in their lives and in their missions.

1 comment:

Bubblehead said...

Lone Survivor has got to be one of the poorest reads I have managed to make it through in quite a while, totally full of jingoistic dogma which I find offensive and way off mark – really, really distracts.

As with the other reviews one will find on this book I do not wish to denigrate the lost souls of Seal Team 10 - these guys put up a helluva fight and I have the utmost respect for them – truly highlights the superior training, however, having said that the book boils down to maybe seventy pages - from the insertion to full contact compromised, and the loss of the Team, the rest of the book is wasted pulp – blather!!.

Those seventy pages left me filled with questions relating to the Team’s SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) such as why a four man team was used when the intel was telling them there were up to a couple hundred hostiles in the area. The six man team has repeatedly been shown to be more effective – two more guns may have made the difference, especially if a SAW and a grenade launcher had been included (google Squad Automatic Weapon & M 203 grenade launcher), a few white phosphorous rounds definitely would have bought some breathing room.

Marcus describes the reconnaissance point as a promontory which is the last place where someone hiding wants to be, they were on a ridge with at least one high speed trail, there was at least one hut in the area, the way it is written when they turned the goatherds loose they nonchalantly followed them up the mountain to another hide in full view of any observer. This whole section made me think fubar. SOP dictates the Team leader to do a fly over rather than just a photo and map study – this may have been out of the question for one reason or another, regardless there was no mention of an E&E plan (escape and evasion) and why did comms fail? Blah blah blah – one thing after another that may or may not have been done properly but the book definitely reads like it wasn’t. Why is there no mention of Mako-30 and the death of Neil Roberts? the skeptic in me wonders if the media is scrambling for another Jessica Lynch story coming into an election year.

One thing that the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts have in common is the difficulty in remaining undetected during reconnaissance missions (Bravo Two Zero for instance 1st gulf), patrol technique has got to be highly modified, one would think this may have been addressed in detail or at least hypothetically somewhere in the book, maybe this is possibly classified - one would do well to study the movements of the snow leopard native to the mountains of Afghanistan, camouflage is critical - not a mention? The pattern exists for alpine rock –google roggenwolf.

I don’t know, the way the book reads is smelly to me –not killing the goatherds was the proper choice - it appears that SOP was not adhered to. We have many experiences to learn from – Soviet in particular but the British experience in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as well – both were losers, we in turn will more than likely be a loser - they and we do not understand and appreciate the tribal mentality - we are the bull in the china shop. Please read the Seven Pillars of Wisdom and Gertrude Bell -Queen of the Desert, also many accounts from climbing expeditions to this area have good insight into the Pashtun mentality.

Prosit absent Companions,

RH