Wednesday, November 12, 2008

More on Marcus Luttrell

Watching, for a second time, video of Marcus Luttrell speaking to the NRA in May of this year, I remembered something which struck me as I read "Lone Survivor", Luttrell's account of an Afghanistan mission gone wrong.

Luttrell was multiply injured and sprained and broken, was shot, hit with shrapnel, was only partially mobile, was being held by good tribal guys who were negotiating to possibly give him up to bad Afghan tribal guys who would've either murdered him or ransomed him - but either way it wasn't going to be good (Luttrell actually was bargained to bad guys who tortured him for 24 hours). He was lying in a bed in a tiny hut in a remote mountain village. It was nighttime, and Luttrell had just come awake to find half a dozen bad tribal guys in the hut and staring at him and discussing amongst themselves. Luttrell searched his surroundings, espied a bar or a plank in the rafters above him, and formed a plan to use the bar to shove all 6 bad guys against the wall of the hut, from which position he was confident he could dispose of all six with his bare hands.

Now, Marcus Luttrell is 6'5", and the bad guys were comparatively small and slight in stature. If Marcus Luttrell believed he could shove all six against the wall and kill them with his bare hands, I trust him enough to believe he could do it. He is a trained killer, and had many times more hand to hand combat training and experience than all six of the bad guys combined.

What cracks me up is how confident Luttrell was that he would kill the six guys. He wrote in his book how he lay in the bed and assessed the situation, and it's clear he never doubted for a moment that his injured and somewhat incapacitated self could and would overcome six guys. That part was a given. He decided against the attack b/c he was too weak to outrun the rest of the tribal guys who would've tracked him down as he tried to escape out of the mountains. But overcoming six guys was not going to be a problem.

This reminds of another Navy Seal story, from the very beginning of Desert Storm in 1991. Hours before the invasion, a Navy Seal crept up the side of an Iraqi ship, burst through a window and into the pilot house, and came face to face with three startled Iraqis. Disabling this ship was important for the protection of American forces which were about to invade, so the Seal's mission was important. The Seal had a knife he could use to slash and kill the three guys. But he looked at them and said: Nah, I don't want to kill these guys. I can take em. So he began hand to hand combat and subdued them, b/c he felt there was zero risk they would overcome him and interfere with his mission. Which, to me, is a funny story.

Extended audio of Marcus Luttrell telling the story of the mission. It's long, and it's good.

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