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Former Navy SEAL & Navy Cross recipient Marcus Luttrell recounts the horror of losing his entire SEAL team in an ambush during a covert mission in Afghanistan to take out a Taliban terrorist leader.
His #1 best-selling book, Lone Survivor, that details the operation, is currently being made into a major motion picture by Universal Studios.
Luttrell's new book Service reveals new information about his incredible rescue in Afghanistan & continues with his return to the battlefield as part of SEAL team 5, where he engaged intense urban combat in Ramadi, Iraq in what is described as "the greatest victory in the history of U.S. Special Operations."
Luttrell reflects on what it means to put your life on the line & about the men he's seen die for our country.
This is Sarah Palin and you're listening to Sarah Palin Radio.
Welcome to Sarah Palin Radio with your host, LaDonna Hale Curzon.
Welcome back to Sarah Palin Radio, the internet voice for Governor Sarah Palin. The elite warriors known as Navy SEALs who do their jobs on sea, air, and land are considered the world's premiere special forces. Until recently, much of what the Navy SEALs did was highly secretive, but several high profile operations including the death of Osama bin Laden have put the Navy SEALs front and sooner in headlines, books and even movies. We were honored to have former Navy SEAL and Navy Cross recipient, Marcus Luttrell as a guest a few years ago and we are again honored to have him as a guest today. Welcome back to Sarah Palin Radio, Marcus and thank you for your remarkable service to our country.
Yes ma'am! It's good to be back on.
When you are our guest before, we talked about your book, Lone Survivor, which became a New York Times best seller and now a major motion picture by Universal Studios as being made based on that book. For those who have yet to read the book, can you summarize what it's about?
Ah Lone Survivor?
Sure. It's about an operation that went down in Afghanistan back in 2005. Basically, it was a four-man element, me and three of my teammates and we went in to catch or kill one of Bin Laden's tough guys. The mission went self on us and the reason that this mission, I guess, got a lot of limelight or got shoved out of the secret world into the public world is because it was the largest loss of life we've taken since our development. We lost 19 guys, so....
That's kind of just going out there and catch the guy. We got overran by Malaysia. I lost three of my teammates on the mountain and then for the next five days, I was on the run, kind of (inaudible) rescued by an Afghani village, who harbored me, gave me food and shelter, adopted me up and actually protected me from the Taliban who had encircled the village...
And then on that fifth night around, I think it was July 3rd, as a matter of fact. I hit the ground on American soil. Well, I guess an Afghanistan and American soil, 4th of July.
To me, you know, every time, it rolls around now but...
Yeah. Well, as far as the movie...
I can sum it up for you.
The movie that's being made on that book, do you know who's going to play you in the movie?
Yes ma'am. They got Mark Wahlberg to play me.
Great and do you know who the other actors are and who is going to be directing it?
Peter Berg is the director. Ben Foster is playing Matt Axelson. Taylor Kitsch is playing Mikey and I don't think they have a guy to play Danny yet.
Peter is still looking for that guy, but as of now, that's kind of a cast that they have locked down.
From what I understand, I've been down and out for a little while, so I haven't -- I don't really know what's going on with a lot of that.
Okay. Well, you know, you may be surprised to learn that there's an opt-out article in today's Washington Times. It talks about what you went through as you described it in the Lone Survivor and I will send it to your email too if you haven't seen it yet, but in essence, it states that our soldiers are being totally undermined by the threat of prosecution for doing their jobs. All our military members and their missions are being put on the line because of political correctness and liberal media bias. (Laughter).
Yeah. You know ma'am, I really don't make a point in getting involved with talking about politics in relation to the military. That's not my...
Not really something that I do. You know, a lot of times, I've seen guys would engage because they're afraid of the repercussions of what happened. I have seen that happened. I will say that out loud. That does happen.
American lives have been lost because of it but that's about as deep into it as I'll get.
No problem. You know, since the last time we spoke, a lot happened in your life. You were honored and introduced by Governor Sarah Palin at the Glenn Beck Rally on the mall in Washington D.C. I was there and saw that happened and you've got married and started a family and you've written this other book called Service which I am almost done reading. It's really hard to put down. It's just as good as the first book that you wrote and so congratulations on all those achievements.
I appreciate it.
And I wanted to know what motivated you to write this second book?
There were a lot of unanswered questions from the first one, you know, people who have read that story and everywhere I go, people will always come to me and ask, you know, "Hey what happened here? What happened here?" Because there's a lot of the stuff that I couldn't put in the first book whether it was classified or more because I just didn't know the information myself.
So, Service kind of reaches back and answers a lot of those questions and then it finishes obviously my tour of duty or when I got out of the hospital, I went back to war and into Iraq and then kind of complete the circle, complete the loop.
Right. You know, when I started reading Service, I was really surprised that you went to Ramadi in Iraq. After all that you endured in Afghanistan, how did your experiences in Iraq differ from those in Afghanistan?
Besides the fact that, you know, the obvious fact, there's a mountain warfare versus urban warfare, you know, two different animals.
You know, it was something that I had to do to -- you know personally, obviously, it was my job. I was still on active duty at Navy SEAL. You know, I had to go back and get back on the line because I gave my word, I do that. There wasn't any reason for me not to do it. There was a lot going on in my head obviously about what had happened to the election in Afghanistan. You know, the last time operation that I have ever been on, I lost. You know, I got my butt kicked and that really doesn't happen to us too much.
If we don't lose. So having that kind of weight on my shoulders and then going back into Ramadi, I had to get rid of it. You know, I had to clear my head and get back into the game and prove to myself that I could do it, that I was...
You know, I was a warfighter and I was able to carry a gun and work with my guys. So it was definitely -- there was a lot going on in there when I went back but it had to be done.
Ultimately, it costs me my career, my body wasn't ready physically.
There's a lot of damage that I've sustained in Afghanistan and I carried that into Ramadi. I just couldn't, you know, three or four months into it, I just -- my body just gave up.
Yeah. Because you suffered some very serious injuries including your back problems. What do you think is going to happen in Afghanistan?
You know, I have been out a while. People asked me this question a lot, you know.
What's going on with Afghanistan and to be truthful, our whole mission set when I was in -- and the war is so dynamic, it changes daily. So, whatever is going on right now, I don't know and I am not in the loop anymore. Even though -- I mean I have a brother who is active and he doesn't tell me anything because it's none of my business anymore.
But when I was in, our mission set was to disrupt and eliminate al-Qaeda and Taliban forces and Bin Laden and now we got that done, I think it should be over, you know. The main part of it should be over. That was our mission set. Obviously, it's changed now because terrorism is going to be around forever.
You can't root that out. It's a cancer and they go into remission but it will show back up.
Because our mind is the -- if we do not like the way we live our lives and if we are not willing to change it, then they're going to kill us. Anybody who thinks differently is wrong.
You know, they haven't stared in the face of these guys and seemed what they really want to do. That is just the way it is. You know, you're not going to __09:36__ out of it. It is what they believe and if somebody believes something then...
That's the way it's going to be done and they are going to -- and the way they go about, you know, changing people's lives as you either conform or you die.
How do you deal with that, right?
Yeah. I noticed in your new book that you accounted the death of Marc Lee, the first Navy SEAL that died in Iraq and I had the honor of meeting his mother, Debbie Lee and she has actually been a guest on this show. She is a very courageous woman committed to preserving her son's memory and you also wrote about Michael Monsoor who gave his life to save his fellow Navy SEALs by falling on an enemy grenade and I have recalled seeing that scene just recently in the movie Act of Valor. How do you feel about real Navy SEALs playing parts in that movie and using real ammo?
You know, I get that question a lot too and I don't know how that worked. I don't know how that got done. I do not know...
Especially the real ammo (Crosstalk).
It was -- you know, what you said was -- you saw in Act of Valor, there are some scenes in there where that's actually happened to us in real life.
You know, a lot of the battle scenes in there are actually scenarios that have transpired in our community and maybe just put it on the film. If the American public kind of wanted to see some of that and that's what Act of Valor will definitely show you.
I mean, it gets into it, you know. But of course, you know having active duties for all the men playing the part -- I do not know about how that went. Actually, I heard a rumor and this is a rumor, you know. They had actors playing the part and then they had (Crosstalk) that were consulting on the film and the actors just couldn't get it done so they just pulled the SEALs in and that was probably a rumor but that's what I heard.
Well, I won't be surprised. What was your first reaction when you heard that the Navy SEALs took out Bin Laden?
Just job well done, you know. I knew it was a matter of time before we got it done.
And I knew we were going to be the ones to get it done. It was just -- it was a pleasant feeling, you know, to get that mission accomplished.
It was incredible. I heard...
It's been a long road.
It's been years, it's a long time.
Certainly. It's surprised everybody, but you know, most Americans knew that it was going to get that was just matter of time when it was going to happen.
Yeah. You know, I think what opened up a lot of people's eyes too is the fact that where he was at when we got him and there's a lot of questions there like why was he there, I mean, next to the military instillation. You know, we're all supposed to be our allies, what's going on here, you know. So, there are some unanswered questions floating around out there that, I think, should be answered.
I agree. I heard that you've got a tattoo on your shoulder of half an eagle. What's the significance of that?
My twin brother and I -- you know, we are pretty much inseparable and we were raised together, came to the Philippines together and it was just our way of acknowledging our fallen comrades, you know. We had a lot of guys who started to die and everything I am, my brother and I we weren't really that kind of tattoo guys. We don't really go down that road, but once our buddy started dying, we are just going to sit around one day thinking of what we could do to honor them and to honor our commitment to the Philippines because without my brother, you know, I'm not really anything. You know, he is -- we were that close. So, it's the SEAL Trident and cut it in half and only half of it on my back and he wears half of it on his and the only time we ever put it together is after a funeral. We will sit down at the -- we will kneel down at the grave and put, you know, put the tribe together and say our prayers and that's it.
Wow. That is a great idea. That's a great tribute too. I just got one more question for you. I was surprised when reading this latest book of yours, Service to Lauren that Navy SEALs don't wear their rank. Why is that?
Well, I mean just go back on everything that you've ever heard and you know, shadow warriors never think like that. It's just part of the job. It's just one of the things that you are not wearing your nameplates, you're not wearing all your __14:31__, no tags, no nothing.
It's just one of those things that we do. There's no one individual that is better than the other. As an individual, you are nothing, as a team, you are everything. It has taught to us from day one, week one, minute one that no matter what you go through, you go through it as a team so that's why we may look like a bunch of rag-tag gypsy camp coming into we know we would drive up but we definitely know what we're doing and...
American public can definitely rely on us because we will get it done. You just need to get out of our way. So, if people will do that, everything will going to be...
Well that makes sense. Thank you for answering that.
That's been over a long time ago.
Well Marcus, we're at the end of the segment here. Thank you so much for being our guest today and good luck with the movie and with the release of your new book.
Yes ma'am. Thanks for having me.
Hey, to find out more about Marcus and his two books, you can go to lonesurvivorfoundation.org. Stay connected to Governor Sarah Palin at blogtalkradio.com/sarahpalinradio. Sarah Palin Radio is supporting Governor Sarah Palin in the ideals that she represents since 2008.
It's good to talk.