Military Wiki
Marcus Luttrell
Nickname "Southern Boy"
"The One"
Born November 7, 1975(1975-11-07) (age 47)
Place of birth Houston, Texas, United States[1]
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1999 – 2007
Rank PO1 Collar Silver USN.png Hospital Corpsman First Class

US Navy SEALs insignia.png United States Navy SEALs


Iraq War
War in Afghanistan


Navy Cross ribbon.svg Navy Cross[2][3]

Purple Heart BAR.svg Purple Heart

Marcus Luttrell (born November 7, 1975) is a former United States Navy SEAL, who received the Navy Cross for his actions in June 2005 facing Taliban fighters during Operation Red Wings. During his eight-year career in the United States Navy, Luttrell reached the rank of Petty Officer First Class.[4]

Early life

Luttrell was born in Houston, Texas on November 7, 1975. He began training for the U.S. Navy SEALs at the age of fifteen, with former United States Army soldier Billy Shelton, who lived near Luttrell's home. He trained every day with his twin brother, Morgan, and others who aspired to join the Navy. Shelton trained them using various weight and endurance exercises. After high school, Luttrell attended Sam Houston State University, where he joined the Delta Tau Delta fraternity.[5]

Military career

Luttrell enlisted in the United States Navy in March 1999. After graduating bootcamp and Hospital Corpman A-school, he tranferred to Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) Class 226; however, due to a fractured femur he suffered on the O-course, he graduated with Class 228 on April 21, 2000. After completing BUD/S, he attended Army jump school and SEAL Qualification Training. He was then sent to Fort Bragg in North Carolina, for an additional six months of advanced training in conventional and unconventional medical skills, ranging from diagnosis and treatment of many conditions to advanced emergency medicine and battlefield life support.[5][6] He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2005 with SEAL Team Ten.[5] Prior to Afghanistan, Luttrell had been part of SDV-1. After Operation Red Wings he transferred to SEAL Team Five and deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom doing various operations there.

Operation Red Wings

Late in the night of June 27, 2005, two MH-47 Special Operations Aircraft of the Army Special Operations Command's 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) (SOAR(A)) approached Sawtalo Sar. As one of the aircraft performed a number of "decoy drops" to confuse any possible enemy on the ground as to the specific purpose of helicopters, the other inserted, via fastrope, a four-man Navy SEAL reconnaissance and surveillance team in a saddle between Sawtalo Sar and Gatigal Sar, a peak just to the south of Sawtalo Sar. The insert point was roughly one and one half miles from the nearest Named Area of Interest. The team members were team leader Navy Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy of SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team 1 (SDVT-1), based out of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; Gunner's Mate Second Class Class Danny P. Dietz from SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team 2 (SDVT-2), based out of Virginia Beach, Virginia; Sonar Technician Second Class Matthew G. Axelson from SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team 1 (SDVT-1); and Hospital Corpman First Class Marcus Luttrell, of SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team 1 (SDVT-1). After moving to a pre-determined, covered overwatch position, from which the SEALs could observe the Named Areas of Interest, the team was discovered by local goatherders. After determining that they were civilians, and not combatants, Lieutenant Murphy had them released, as was protocol in the area of operations at the time, according to rules of engagement. Within two hours of letting the goatherders go, the SEAL Reconnaissance and Surveillance team was ambushed by Shah's men, a group estimated to number 20-35 enemy.

The ambush was intense, came from three sides, and included fire from PK machine guns, AK-47s, RPG-7s, and 82mm mortars. The ambush team forced the SEAL team into the northeast gulch of Sawtalo Sar, on the Shuryek Valley side of Sawtalo Sar. The SEALs made a number of attempts to contact their combat operations center with a PRC-148 MBITR (Multi Band Inter/Intra Team Radio) and then with an Iridium Satellite Phone. The team could not establish consistent communication, however, other than for a period long enough to indicate that they were under attack. Three of the four team members were killed, and the only survivor, Marcus Luttrell, was left unconscious with a number of fractures, a broken back, numerous shrapnel wounds, and later a gunshot. He would soon regain consciousness and evade the pursuing enemy, with the help of local Pashtun villagers, who would eventually send an emissary to the nearest U.S. base to secure his safe release, and ultimately save his life.

Muhammad Ismail

The target of Operation Redwings,[1] Mohammad Ismail alias Ahmad Shah, survived the American operation but was killed during a firefight with Pakistani police commandos in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in April 2008.[7]

Returning home

Luttrell returned to the U.S. the following year, and co-authored the New York Times bestseller Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10.[8] He separated from the Navy in 2007, and was subsequently granted a temporary medical retirement through the Board for the Correction of Naval Records in 2009 .

In 2008, Marcus spoke at the Celebration of American Values Leadership Forum at the National Rifle Association's annual meeting.

His new book, co-authored with James D. Hornfischer, Service: A Navy SEAL at War was released in May, 2012, by Little, Brown and Company.[9][10]


As part of Luttrell's recuperation he was given a yellow Labrador puppy. He named the dog DASY. Each letter of the name "DASY" represents one of the members of his team—Danny Dietz, Matthew "Axe" Axelson, Southern boy (Marcus), and Michael "Yankee" Murphy. She was given to him in recovery to help him through rehabilitation.[11]

On April 1, 2009, four males approached Luttrell's property and killed DASY with a .357 Magnum revolver at approximately 1 A.M.[11][12] Luttrell proceeded to chase the individuals through four counties in his truck armed with two 9 mm Berettas—until Onalaska Police apprehended the individuals.[13] Upon arrest, the suspects verbally threatened Luttrell's life and taunted him.[12] Alfonso Hernandez was arrested on-scene for driving without a valid drivers license and later charged with animal cruelty.[14] Michael Edmonds turned himself in on April 7, was booked, and posted bond on the same charge. The other two individuals were not indicted. The males are also suspects in the killings of other neighborhood dogs.[11] On Nov. 29, 2011, Marcus posted on his Facebook Page that "Court date on Thursday for DASY's killer's I'll keep y'all posted on what happens. It's only been almost 3 years glad it's finally here" and again on Dec. 1, saying they were found guilty.[15]

On March 7, 2012, Alfonso Hernandez was given the maximum sentence of two years in a state jail for the felony charge of animal cruelty and fined $1,000. After his guilty plea and testimony against Hernandez, Michael John Edmonds was sentenced to five years probation and fined $1,000 for the same offense. At the sentencing, Luttrell testified that he was “still pretty upset” about the killing of DASY and that he felt both defendants should have gotten the maximum sentence.[16]

Lone Survivor Foundation

In 2010, Luttrell established the Lone Survivor Foundation. Headquartered in Houston, Texas the foundation's mission is to "...restore, empower, and renew hope for our wounded warriors and their families through health, wellness, and therapeutic support." The vision is to "...provide exceptional therapeutic, outdoor, and unique opportunities that optimize recovery and healing of affected American wounded service members and their families.[17]

Marcus Luttrell and The Lone Survivor Foundation has partnered with The Boot Campaign[18] to help show tangible appreciation of America’s active duty military, raise awareness of the challenges they face upon return, and support the transition home.[19]

Personal life

Luttrell married Melanie Juneau on November 27, 2010 in Texas. She gave birth to their first child, a boy named Axe, on May 8, 2011. On January 14, 2012, at an event for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, he announced that he and his wife were expecting their second child. Their daughter Addie was born on August 26, 2012.

Victory Point and criticism

There exists some conflict over the exact numbers of Taliban forces involved in the engagement, among other mistakes by some sources. In Luttrell's own official after-action report filed with his superiors after his rescue, he estimated the size of the Taliban force to be around 20–35. Initial intel estimated approximately 10 to 20.[20] Official media reports from the military estimated the size of the Taliban force to be around 20 as well, while in the Medal of Honor citation for LT Michael P. Murphy, the Navy cited 30–40 enemies.[21] In the Summary of Action related to the same MOH, the Navy cites an "enemy force of more than 50 anti-coalition militia".[22] In his book, Victory Point: Operations Red Wings and Whalers – the Marine Corps' Battle for Freedom in Afghanistan, military journalist Ed Darack cites a military intelligence report stating the strength of the Taliban force to be 8–10, compared to the more than 200 claimed by Patrick Robinson in Lone Survivor. The military intelligence estimate cited by Darack is based on research sourced from intelligence reports,including aerial and eye-witness studies of the battlefield after the fact, including the men sent in to rescue Luttrell, as well as HUMINT from Afghan intelligence.

The mis-statement of the name of the operation has also been noted by many sources, most notably referencing it "Operation Redwing" by Patrick Robinson in the book Lone Survivor.[23]

The claim in Lone Survivor by Patrick Robinson that Lieutenant Murphy even considered and then put to vote the possible execution of the unarmed civilians who stumbled upon the SEAL reconnaissance and surveillance team has been roundly criticized and dismissed by many as fiction. In an article by Sean Naylor, Army Times senior correspondent, Naval Special Warfare Command spokesman Lieutenant Steve Ruh stated that with respect to making command decisions in the field:

“but whether they’re officer or enlisted, the senior guy ultimately has the ultimate authority.”

With regards to voting whether or not to execute unarmed civilians:

“This is the first time I’ve ever heard of anything put to a vote like that. In my 14 years of Navy experience, I’ve never seen or heard of anything like that.”[24]

In a June 12, 2007 article in the New York newspaper, Newsday, reporter Michael Rothfeld published an article entitled "Survivor's book dishonors son's memory" and quotes Dan Murphy (father of Michael P. Murphy), in reference to the purported vote of execution of unarmed locals, as stating that Lieutenant Murphy would never consider executing unarmed civilians, much less would he ever put such a decision to vote. Military protocol, United States and international military doctrine, and rules of engagement strictly forbid harming unarmed non-combatant civilians, with one of the specific rules of engagement in effect at the time stating "Civilians are not targets!"[25][26][27]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Marcus Luttrell; Patrick Robinson (12 June 2007). Lone survivor: the eyewitness account of Operation Redwing and the lost heroes of SEAL Team 10. Hachette Digital, Inc.. pp. 27–. ISBN 978-0-316-06759-1. Retrieved 18 November 2011. 
  2. "Marcus Luttrell". Navy Seals. 2007. Retrieved 2008-12-10. "In 2006, Petty Officer Luttrell was awarded the Navy Cross for combat heroism." 
  3. "LIEUTENANT MICHAEL P. MURPHY – United States Navy". United States Navy. 2007. Retrieved 2008-12-10. 
  4. "Marcus Luttrell | – Experience the SEAL Edge". Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Luttrell, Marcus; Patrick Robinson (March 2006). Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10. Back Bay Books. ISBN 0-316-06759-8. 
  6. SEAL of Honor: Operation Red Wings and the Life of Lt. Michael P. Murphy, USN by Gary Williams (pg. 135)
  7. Matt Dupee (April 17, 2008<!- – 12:43 PM-->). "Bara bin Malek Front commander killed in Pakistani shootout". long war journal. Retrieved 2008-12-10. 
  8. "The Lone Survivor". The New York Times. 2007-07-01. Retrieved 2010-04-11. 
  9. Luttrell, Marcus. "Service". Little Brown & Company. 
  10. Luttrell, Marcus; Hornfischer, James D. (2012). Service: A Navy SEAL at War. ISBN 978-0-316-18536-3. Retrieved 2012-03-10 
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Glenn Beck (April 6, 2009). "Glenn Beck: Teen punks murder American hero's dog". Glenn Retrieved 2009-04-07. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 Schiller, Dane (April 9, 2009). "Survivor of war loses dog to random violence". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved September 12, 2010. 
  13. Associated Press (April 9, 2009). "War hero helps nab suspects in dog killing". MSNBC. Retrieved September 12, 2010. 
  14. Brown, Joe (April 8, 2009). "Alleged Dog Shooters Chased Down by War Hero". KBTX-TV. Retrieved September 12, 2010. 
  15. Stark, Cody (December 2, 2011). "Man convicted in death of war hero's dog". The Huntsville Item. 
  16. Stark, Cody (March 7, 2012). "New Waverly man gets max for shooting war hero’s dog". The Huntsville Item. Retrieved 2012-03-10 
  17. "Lone Survivor Foundation". Lone Survivor Foundation. Retrieved 2012-11-07. 
  18. "Help the Boot Girls support American soldiers by purchasing combat boots!". Boot Campaign. Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  19. "The Boot Campaign Mission: Support returning US Soldiers through proceeds raised from Boot sales". Boot Campaign. Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  20. Darack, Ed (December 14, 2010). "Operation Red Wings: What Really Happened?". pp. 62–65. Retrieved 2011-06-13. 
  21. "Official Citation". June 28, 2005. Retrieved 2011-06-13. 
  22. "Summary of Action". June 28, 2005. Retrieved 2011-06-13. 
  23. C, Eric. "On Violence: He Got the Title Wrong? And 6 More Mistakes from Luttrell's "Lone Survivor."". Retrieved 2012-02-06. 
  24. Naylor, Sean D. (June 18, 2007). "Surviving SEAL tells story of deadly mission". Army Times. Retrieved 2008-07-21. 
  25. "Scan of the CJTF-76 (Combined Joint Task Force 76) ROE (Rules of Engagement) Card, With Majority of Rules Blanked Out, And Relevant Rule on Civilians Left for Viewing". Retrieved 2012-02-06. 
  26. Rothfeld, Michael (June 12, 2007). "Survivor's book dishonors son's memory - NOTE: Original not available, but cached at the site "Shadowspear"". Newsday. Retrieved 2008-07-21. 
  27. Darack, Ed (May, 2010). "Operation Red Wings Misinformation". Retrieved 2012-02-07. 

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