Written by Thanh Duong
Marcus Luttrell served as a Navy SEAL for 14 years. He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2005 along with three other men in his unit. Their inspirational journey became the foundation for his best-selling book Lone Survivor.
Luttrell told of his trek through Afghanistan at the McLane Lecture March 31. He began to tell the gruesome story of the fight to freedom and the attempt to save the lives of his platoon members.
Although years have gone by since his active duty in the military, the visions of what happened in the six days he was lost are still vivid in his mind.
He describes the heavy firearms and the rounds of RPG’s blowing them off the mountainsides. He remembers the triangle formation of the men as they discreetly waited for their opportunity to fight back.
Senior international business and marketing major Kevin Ramirez, who attended the lecture said, “I’ve never heard any story like this before. It’s mind blowing and seems unreal.”
Luttrell told what he had witnessed of his best friend’s terrifying death.
“Mikey was out on a big perch and had a satellite phone. I forgot he had it. He took two rounds sideways on each side of the belly. It really threw me into a tantrum because he was my best friend. You know, I loved him.” Luttrell said. “I tried to scream to him ‘Come down here, come to me, I’ll carry you down the mountain.Get to me.’ He didn’t see me; he went left and disappeared behind a rock embankment.”
Luttrell can still recall the dialogue between him and his friend.
“I could hear his gun go off, and I could hear him start to take heavy fire. I could hear him screaming for help. He started screaming my name ‘Marcus I need help, man. I need help,’ and the way he was screaming my name was so terrifying that I actually put my gun down and covered my ears because I couldn’t handle the way he was screaming my name,” Luttrell said. “I don’t know if that makes me a coward or not, but I did that. And they killed him. I never saw him again.”
There was no embellishment in the descriptions of how every member of his unit lost their lives.
Junior social work major Cara Scott said, “It amazed me how he went into detail to tell about all of their wounds. It made me cringe at times, and it made me feel like I was really there watching it all happen in front of me.”
As the uneasy feelings began to surface and tears started to fall, Luttrell spoke of his liberation.
“I saw an Afghani man standing there that had a baseball cap on that said ‘Bush for President’ and I said, ‘I want to go with him.’”
He was taken to a hospital in Germany where he spent several days recuperating after his rescue. After a year of recovery, with no doubt in his mind, he made the decision to be redeployed to Afghanistan . He finally retired in 2007.
“They took something from me out there. They broke my spirit. I had to go back,” Luttrell said. “Something wasn’t right in my stomach.”
Sophomore pre-physical therapy major Justin Mullinnix tells of the motivation and encouragement given in the speech.
“It was an honor to be sitting in front of Mr. Luttrell and listening to him speak about his experience in the Navy,” Mullinnix said. “It was intense and really made me think a little differently about life.”
Luttrell tells his story in hopes that each individual will leave with a greater knowledge of what it means never to give up.
“Always believe in yourself. Don’t listen to what other people say because the minute you start listening to someone telling you that you can’t do something, you’ve already lost.”