Axe defended Luttrell to his last breath. I was disappointed in the movie on several levels, not the least was it implied the SEALS in this TEAM were startled by the force of the enemy. He calmly provided his units location and the enemy forces size while requesting immediate support for his team. W. Stanley Proctor sculpted a work for the Veteran's Memorial Park in Cupertino, California, called The Guardians, which commemorates the SEALS killed in the operation. The Naval Special Warfare (NSW) community will forever remember June 28, 2005, and our special operators heroic efforts and sacrifices. They also had terrain advantage. I couldnt put it down. Kip A. Jacoby, 21, of Pompano Beach, Fla. Sgt. The attendees were given a standing ovation by the more than 25,000 there to watch the game.  Westerfield and his staff determined that Shah and his men had been responsible for approximately 11 incidents against American, Coalition, and Afghan government entities, including IED strikes and small arms ambushes. And I don't care how pious these guys were, a reinforced company-sized element that was mauled the way Luttrell claims (at least 50% casualties) does not bury 40 bodies in a few hours (graves no one ever finds) and then vanishes with all their wounded. Operation Red Wings should never have gotten approved. Bronze Star. The reference to Larry Wilson shows how little his so called research is. The operation then became known as Red Wings II and lasted approximately three more weeks, during which time the bodies of the killed SEALs and Army Special Operations aviators were recovered and the only surviving member of the initial SEAL team, Marcus Luttrell, was rescued. Members of SEAL Team 10, U.S. Marines, and aviators of the 160th SOAR were prepared to dispatch a quick reaction force, but approval for launch from higher special operations headquarters was delayed for several hours.  When Shina reached the base in Nangalam in the middle of the night, he met with the commander and related the story about a wounded American soldier in their village. Luttrell wrote about realizing there was no possible way to help his best friend because the enemy would surely kill him long before he reached Murphy.  Spurs utilized Navy SEALs for the opening two phases of the five-phase operation. His overall intelligence picture of Shah took a substantial leap when 2nd Lieutenant Regan Turner, a platoon commander with 2/3's "Whiskey Company" a weapons company augmented to function like an infantry line company, gathered a wealth of human intelligence about Shah during a patrol including his full name: Ahmad Shah Dara-I-nur (Ahmad Shah of the Valley of the Enlightened ones); his birthplace, the Kuz Kunar District of Nangarhar Province; his primary alias: Ismael; his chief allegiance: Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who was based out of the Shamshato Refugee Camp near Peshawar, Pakistan; his group's size: fifty to one hundred fighters; and his goals: to impede the upcoming elections and attempt to aid a resurgent Taliban in the region. 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 reports from Afghan intelligence.  A team of four Navy SEALs, tasked with surveillance and reconnaissance of a group of structures known to be used by Shah and his men, were ambushed by Shah and his group just hours after inserting into the area by fast-roping from an MH-47 Chinook helicopter. While one of the aircraft performed a number of "decoy drops" to mislead any enemy observers, the other inserted a four-man Navy SEAL reconnaissance and surveillance team via fast rope in a saddle between Sawtalo Sar and Gatigal Sar, a peak just to the south of Sawtalo Sar. Get proficient on YOUR time. By Lt Murphy not eliminating the two young Afghanis by tying them up and gagging them or killing them, I feel that he brought down the hell on his teams head. Lieutenant Colonel Andrew MacMannis, 2/3's battalion commander, and his staff wanted to maintain the operational tempo set by 3/3. Severely wounded, Lt. Michael Murphy returned to his cover position with his men and continued the battle. You could ask Luttrell what he learned from Operation Red Wings, what he would change, and whether he is happy with the choices he made that day but it all comes down to this: never quit. Korengal was and is crawling with hezbi e islami. Thats some serious badassery; thats a level of practically inhuman strength. There was practically zero chance that such a poorly-planned operation could have succeeded. Operation Red Wings On June 28, 2005, deep behind enemy lines east of Asadabad in the Hindu Kush of Afghanistan, a very committed four-man Navy SEAL team was conducting a reconnaissance mission at the unforgiving altitude of approximately 10,000 feet. And I would advise you to reconsider ever writing the words. During the opening phases, the Marines of 2/3 would act in a supporting role. More like 8-12 fighters according to multiple sources, including video shot by those Talis during the fight, Gulab and the other villagers who rescued Luttrell, and the Marine rescue team who were there a day later. I finally got feeling back in my legs. Pre-mission planning put the hostiles number at 20, tops. This would pose a threat to their activities, some of which included attempting to aid a resurgent neo-Taliban and lumber smuggling. Who are way more effective fighters than Taliban but the media and books and stuff say taliban because its easier for peoples heads back home. Operation Red Wings was a pyrrhic victory U.S. victory. Through intimidation, Shah was able to ascertain which house sheltered the wounded man and demanded that he be turned over. To rid themselves of Taliban forces in the area, led by a warlord named Ahmed Shah, the Marines put together Operation Red Wings, then called on the Navy SEALs based near Kabul. Medical services had been provided and a girls' school was built at Nangalam. You gotta give some, you gotta take some. You see the 8 Taliban fighters that ambushed him were yelling over gun fire in Pashto and English for Murphy and his team to surrender and drop their guns. R A Serna USAF. From running him off the road to planting a grenade outside his daughters bedroom, wounding his daughter, the Taliban didnt quit. Shah could not risk a fight at that stage as he was outnumbered. The description notes that this is seen through the eyes of a Special Operations soldier and a first hand account that documents the brutality of combat, and the raw nature of killing and death. Some survivors from the rescue mission, Operation Red Wings II, have reported suffering from PTSD. Extortion 17. No AARs from missions before and after Red Wings, no HUMINT, SIGINT, or any other kind of INT corroborates the number of hostiles in Luttrell's story. There were so many acts of valor and mind-blowing courage that day its impossible to list them all here. Operation Red Wings . Because it makes a hell if a lot of difference. Using imagery intelligence taken from an unmanned aerial vehicle on June 17, 2005, Westerfield identified likely structures used for housing his team, IED making, and overwatch of the area below for IED strikes. 3rd Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), Hunter Army Air Field, Ga. On 22 October 2007, President George W. Bush presented the parents of Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy the Medal of Honor for his actions on 28 June 2005. Axe: A Brother's Search for an American Warrior is a beautifully crafted, action-filled biography of an elite commando's inspiring life and tragic deatha final chapter in the story of the Operation Red Wings mission, made famous in Marcus Luttrell's #1 New York Times bestseller Lone Survivor. The Army swore up and done that he was killed in combat. 1st Class Marcus V. Muralles, 33, of Shelbyville, Ind. I suppose that is true of most film adaptations of books. The battalion began planning a new operation, tentatively called Operation Stars, which was named after the Dallas Stars professional hockey team (3/3's battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel Norman Cooling, hailed from Texas, hence most operations were named after Texas sports teams) Stars, like the other operations before it, focused on disrupting ACM activity, although Najmudeen's surrender caused activity to drop, and specific groups proved difficult to pinpoint.  Operations that 3/3 conducted based on this model proved successful in disrupting ACM activity. Being struck by the bullet caused him to drop both the phone and his rifle. I'm sure areas of the Korengal are teeming with bad guys, but Sawtalo Sar? 1st Class Michael L. Russell, 31, of Stafford, Va. Chief Warrant Officer Chris J. Scherkenbach, 40, of Jacksonville, Fla. HQ Company, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), Fort Campbell, Ky. Master Sgt. , Not long before Operation Red Wings, relations with the Americans had improved in the Shuryek Valley and the greater Pech River region because of humanitarian work that had taken place. Who invented chill?  Each operation lasted between three and four weeks. In reply to Mike Washburne I think you are too harsh on LT Murphy, according to Mohammed Gulab the local tribesman who saved Lutrell the Taliban were already aware of the SEALs insertion and had heard the Helicopters and were close to being in a position to attack at the time the SEALs were debating what to do with goatherders. Add in all the other ridiculous bits in the book, like out of four SEALs on a mountain recce, not *one* of them carried anything to tie up the goatherds, and you gotta wonder what kind of people just swallow this self-serving fable whole. Only two U.S. soldiers or Marines died in Kunar province in 2005 before Operation Red Wings. Today is the 15th anniversary of Operation Red Wings, which claimed the life of 19 U.S. service members in Afghanistan. Ed's a photographer and the author of "Victory Point: Operation Red Wings and Whalers - The Marine Corps' Battle for Freedom in Afghanistan," as well as his latest, "The Final Mission . This deliberate and heroic act deprived him of cover and made him a target for the enemy. -- When Ed and Suzanne Kristensen first heard about a Chinook helicopter being shot down in eastern Afghanistan on June 28, 2005, at first they feared for their Navy SEAL son Erik, who was deployed there at the time, but were reassured by a Navy friend that he likely wouldn't have been aboard. . Murphy, intent on making contact with headquarters but realizing this would be impossible in the extreme terrain where they were fighting, unhesitatingly and with complete disregard for his own life, moved into the open, where he could gain a better position to transmit a call to get help for his men. It is likely Luttrell would have been turned over to the Taliban had he descended into the Korangal instead of Shuryek. By June 2005, 2/3 had relieved-in-place 3/3 and, using the Stars concept, had developed a comprehensive operation which they called Operation Red Wings. I, like many other people who saw the movie and heard the story, had a LOT more support for not just the SEALs but the military in general. And we're to believe Murphy was so flabbergasted by what happens, never having considered the possibility of running into goatherds in a country where f@cking goats is the national pass time, that he just breaks down and has to take a vote on how to proceed. In the end it doesnt really matter, Marcus knows the truth and he is the only one who has to live with himself and what he did or didnt do. Within an hour, the SEAL Reconnaissance and Surveillance team was attacked by Shah and his men who were armed with RPK machine guns, AK-47s, RPG-7 rocket-propelled grenades, and an 82mm mortar. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. In a country full of nothing but goats and goat-herds?  Similar operations that followed included Operation Mavericks (named after the Dallas Mavericks basketball team) in April 2005, and Operation Celtics (named after the Boston Celtics basketball team) in May 2005. We reverence the ultimate sacrifice they made while engaged in that fierce firefight on the global wars front lines on terrorism (GWOT). To the west of the Sawtalo Sar ridgeline is the Korangal Valley. There was no signal at all where the men were positioned; Murph needed to find an open, high point, and so he went. It was even a movie starring Sean Bean, aka Ned Stark. Because persons like you, never will understand! Phase 2 - Action on the Objective: A SEAL, Phase 3 - Outer Cordon: Marines, along with, Phase 4 - Security and Stabilization: In the days after the first three phases, U.S. Marines, Afghan National Army soldiers, and U.S. Navy. Matt Axelson invented chill. Operation Red Wings was a counter-insurgency operation carried out by the United States Armed Forces in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, in 2005. Ahmad Shah was known to be the HVT behind numerous attacks on American forces, although there were other HVTs with more blood on their hands and considered to be bigger fish. It stands as a cautionary tale of how extreme arrogance and ineptitude can lead to disaster. It would be several days before a team of U.S. Army Rangers would arrive to extract Luttrell. Despite the intensity of the firefight and suffering grave gunshot wounds himself, Team Leader Michael Murphy is credited with risking his own life to save the lives of his teammates. The film covers only a fraction of what was written and only part of Operation Red Wings. Yet it seems they fought on and all died except Luttrell. All the obvious bs in his book, makes me wonder just how Luttrell managed to be the only one to make it off that mountain. It was a very bad situation that Im sure the after action report will help that something like that wont happen again. The Joint Combat Assessment Team report identified, through detailed metallurgical analysis, the type of projectile. Pat Tillman, on the other hand, was also a safety for the football Cardinals and it was he, not Larry Wilson who was killed in action. 2nd Lieutenant Turner also gathered a number of photographs of Shah. All of these soldiers, are far better than me. , Significant international media attention was focused on the ambush and the MH-47 shootdown. Throughout my career Ive been fortunate to have the opportunity to get to know quite a few American heroes and Luttrell is one of them. Weve got a dedicated section for the AR-15 here.