In the line of fire

Petty Officer 1st Class Marcus Luttrell stood there with his three teammates on the side of an Afghanistan mountain voting over the lives of three local goat herders. If they executed them, they would possibly face legal action in the United States. If they let them go, their position would be compromised to the Taliban. This decision would be one of the hardest decisions Luttrell would ever have to make.

“It was the stupidest, southern fried, lame brain decision I ever made in my life, to vote to let them go. I must have been out of my mind. I actually cast a vote that I knew would sign our death warrant. I turned into a [expletive] liberal, half assed, no logic nitwit. All heart, no brain. The judgment of a jack rabbit,” Luttrell said in Lone Survivor.

Luttrell was part of a four man team on a mission to gather intelligence on a Taliban leader with ties to Osama bin Laden. On the mountainous border of Afghanistan and Pakistan, the team encountered three goat herders who they questioned and let go.

Shortly after they released the herders, nearly 100 Taliban members attacked them from all angles.

When a 16 man Special Forces helicopter came to help the team, the Taliban shot it down killing all men on board.

After watching his three teammates die, he was blasted off the mountain by a rocket-propelled grenade. Luttrell, suffering from three cracked vertebrates and multiple other wounds, crawled seven miles through the mountains of Afghanistan until he arrived at the Afghan village of Sabray. The villagers, honoring their tribe’s customs, took him and gave him protection.

The Taliban circled the village for days, put a bounty on his head, and threatened to kill everyone inside.

As the threats intensified, the village elder sought help from the nearest Marine outpost. Five nights after the horrific experience began, Luttrell was rescued.

Luttrell survived the single largest loss of life in a day in the history of the Navy SEALS on June 28, 2005.

After recovering, Luttrell redeployed to Iraq for a second tour. He was awarded the Navy Cross for combat heroism in 2006 by President George W. Bush. In spring 2007 he retired.

Luttrell is a Sam Houston State University alumni, former Navy SEAL, and author of a 2007 number one New York Times best-selling book Lone Survivor.

He joined the U.S Navy in March 1999 and became a combat-trained SEAL in January 2002. After serving in Iraq for two years, he was deployed in the spring of 2005 to Afghanistan where he and three other SEALs participated in Operation Redwing.

Luttrell will share his story on Sept. 29 as Sam Houston State University’s 14th President’s Speaker. This lecture will be held at 11 a.m. in the Criminal Justice Center’s Killinger Auditorium. This event is free and open to the public. Following the discussion, Luttrell will sign copies of his book.

Sam Houston State alumni, Tyson Mire said, “I wouldn’t miss the opportunity to hear him speak. His story is breath taking. He doesn’t hold anything back, and he isn’t afraid to share his experiences.”

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