Just an hour after releasing three goat herders who stumbled upon their hideout in the Afghan mountains, Marcus Luttrell and his three fellow Navy Seals were battling Taliban fighters in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, in June 2005. Luttrell was convinced its was the herders who revealed their position to the Taliban.
The seals came under heavy RPG fire and Seal Danny Dietz was shot. Team leader Michael Murphy was running out of options.
So begins chapter 7 of "Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and The Lost Heroes of Seal Team 10," by Marcus Luttrell with Patrick Robinson, published by Little, Brown & Company and excerpted below.
Chapter 7: An Avalanche of Gunfire
Mike Murphy called it.
"They'll kill us all if we stay here! Jump, guys, for [----]'s sake, jump!"
And once more all four of us clutched our rifles, stood up, braved the flying bullets, and headed for the precipice. We leaped into the void, Mikey first, me next, then Axe, then Danny. The drop must have been about 30 or 40 feet, down into a thicket of shrubs alongside a little stream.
We were by no means at the base of this little escarpment, but at least we were once more on a flat bit and not clinging to some cliff face. I landed directly on top of Mikey, then Axe and Danny landed on both of us. There wasn't even time to let rip with a few curses.
We spread out and took up firing position again, preparing once more to blast the enemy away from our flanks, where they would be sure to begin their advance in the next stage of the battle. They were clambering down the rocks to our right, and I was trying to make sure none of them made it to the bottom. My rifle felt red-hot, and I just kept loading and shooting, aiming and firing, wishing to hell I still had my Texas helmet.
We were trying to move into a decent position, jumping between the rocks, working our way out into open ground. But we were picking up fire now. The Taliban had seen us and were raining bullets down, firing from a prime overhead spot. We moved back against the rocks, and Danny was shot again.
They hit him in his lower back, and the bullet blew out of his stomach. He was still firing, Christ knows how, but he was. Danny's mouth was open, and there was blood trickling out. There was blood absolutely everywhere. It was hot, and the stench of it was unmistakable, the cordite was heavy in the air, and the noise, which had not abated since they first opened fire, was deafening. Our ears were ringing from the blasts like we were wearing headphones.
And then they opened up with the grenades again. We saw the white smoke streaking through the air. We saw them coming, winging down that canyon right onto us. And when they blew, the blast was overpowering, echoing from the granite rocks that surrounded us on three sides.
It was like the world was blowing up around us, with the flying rock splinters, some of them pretty large, clattering off the cliff walls; the ricocheting bullets; the swirling dust cloud enveloping the shrapnel and covering us, choking us, obscuring everything.
Murph was trying to reassess the situation, desperately trying to make the right decision despite our limited options. And let's face it, the options had not changed very much since I first slammed a bullet between that guy's eyes from behind the tree. Right now we were not hemmed in on our flanks; our enemy was dead ahead. That, and straight up. Overhead. And that's bad.
Copyright © 2007 by Marcus Luttrell