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June 28th, 2010 –5 year anniversary of Operation Red Wings. A day never to forget. If you don’t know what Operation Red Wings is nor its importance to all-pick up Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell or SEAL of Honor by Gary Williams. I am thankful Marcus returned to us & my heart goes out to the Families of Lt. Michael Murphy USN, Danny Dietz, Matthew Axelson & all of the 19 families who sacrificed the most for their country.
Today I have set aside to remember the Valiant Soldiers of Operation Red Wings. For those who don’t have a clue as to what Operation Red Wings is, I have decided to educate you on the basics so that you will not only know of these great men, but will remember the sacrifice they and their family gave to all Americans.
On June 28, 2005, Luttrell and SEAL Team 10 were assigned a mission to kill or capture Ahmad Shah who was a high-ranking Taliban leader responsible for killings in eastern Afghanistan and the Hindu-Kush mountains. The SEAL team was made up of Marcus Luttrell, Michael P. Murphy, Danny Dietz and Matthew Axelson. The Leader was Michael Murphy.
June 28 2005 should be remembered as one of our most tragic losses since the Naval Special Warfare suffered the most combat casualties in one mission since World War II. In addition, the Army also sacrificed 8 of their (Night Stalkers)who are the finest Special Operation Aviation Regiment soldiers during the rescue mission.
The rescue team had a rocket launch grenade put through an opening in the back causing the pilot to fly into the mountains resulting in everyone dying aboard. 19 people died on this day in that operation and attempted rescue. The detail of everyone involved shows their heroic effort and valor.
Lt Michael Murphy stepped out from the rocks in the line of fire to make a satellite call for rescue for his team – knowing he would be mortally wounded or instantly killed. He was shot in the abdomen, made his call and return to fight with men until his very last breath.
His men, Danny Dietz, Matthew Axelson and Marcus Luttrell fought an army of their enemies that far outnumbered their four. The number of enemies these four SEALs took out is an amazing accomplishment.
The call Michael made had US Navy SEALS and Army Night Stalkers scrambling to come to their rescue despite the fact a few would be going back home the next day. They boarded the Chinook without hesitation or fear to assist their brothers who were ambushed. Their determination, bravery and comradeship were foremost in their mind.
Marcus Luttrell was the Sole Survivor of this mission yet even though his life was spared his fight for life is nothing less than miraculous and inconceivable by most of us.
(Link to Wikipedia Information – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Red_Wing )
“ Driven by thirst, shot in the leg and with three cracked vertabrae, he traversed 7 miles over the remainder of the day. He remained unnoticed until, falling from a ledge; he was discovered by an Afghan shepherd named Gulab, who summoned his companions to help carry the wounded Luttrell to the village of Sabray-Minah. The villagers took care of Luttrell, providing food and medical attention, and protecting him from the Taliban that came to the village demanding that he be turned over to them. Meanwhile, nearly two days after the initial confrontation, the military had 300 men searching for the team,[15] and had located the downed helicopter and verified that all 16 aboard had been killed.[12] A spokesman for the Taliban, Mofti Latifollah Hakimi, confirmed that the helicopter had been shot down by insurgent fire, and promised to deliver the video made during the assault to media outlets.[16]

Despite multiple attempts, the search helicopters were unable to locate the wounded Navy SEAL. On July 2,[2] the village elder, armed with a note from Luttrell, went down to seek help from Camp Blessing, a Marine outpost several miles away, and approached First Lieutenant Matt Bartels with his information.[17]

With this news, the U.S. forces drew up extraction plans which according to Lt. Col. Steve Butow were “one of the largest combat search-and-rescue operations since Vietnam”.[11] As the rescue teams closed in upon the village they ran into Luttrell and some of the villagers who were moving him from one hiding place to another.

Six days after the operation, an American search team located Murphy’s body as well as the body of Dietz. For the next four days, they held out hopes that Axelson might be found alive But their hopes were crushed when his body was found later.”
LT Michael P. Murphy 29 Part of 4-Man Seal Team killed in an ambush Patchogue, New York
STG2 Matthew Axelson 29 Part of 4-Man Seal Team killed in an ambush Cupertino, CA [18]
GM2 Danny Dietz 26 Part of 4-Man Seal Team killed in an ambush Littleton, Colorado[18]
FCC Jacques J. Fontan 36 killed aboard the helicopter when it was shot down New Orleans, Louisiana
ITCS Daniel R. Healy 36 killed aboard the helicopter when it was shot down Exeter, New Hampshire
LCDR Erik S. Kristensen 33 killed aboard the helicopter when it was shot down San Diego, California
ET1 Jeffery A. Lucas 33 killed aboard the helicopter when it was shot down Corbett, Oregon
LT Michael M. McGreevy, Jr. 30 killed aboard the helicopter when it was shot down Portville, New York
QM2 James E. Suh 28 killed aboard the helicopter when it was shot down Deerfield Beach, Florida
HM1 Jeffrey S. Taylor 30 Killed aboard the helicopter when it was shot down Midway, West Virginia
MM2 Shane E. Patton 22 Killed aboard the helicopter when it was shot down Boulder City, Nevada
160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment [3]
Staff Sgt. Shamus O. Goare 29 Killed aboard the helicopter when it was shot down of Danville, Ohio
Chief Warrant Officer Corey J. Goodnature 35 Killed aboard the helicopter when it was shot down Clarks Grove, Minnesota.
Sgt. Kip A. Jacoby 21 Killed aboard the helicopter when it was shot down Pompano Beach, Florida
Sgt. 1st Class Marcus V. Muralles 33 Killed aboard helicopter when it was shot down Shelbyville, Indiana
Master Sgt. James W. Ponder III 36 Killed aboard helicopter when it was shot down Franklin, Tennessee
Maj. Stephen C. Reich 34 Killed aboard helicopter when it was shot down Washington Depot, Connecticut.
Sgt. 1st Class Michael L. Russell 31 Killed aboard helicopter when it was shot down Stafford, Virginia
Chief Warrant Officer Chris J. Scherkenbach 40 Killed aboard helicopter when it was shot down Jacksonville, Florida (Copied & pasted from Wikipedia)
This is a short blog compared to the real in-depth story. Very few are able to read the two amazing books that have been released without crying.
Marcus Luttrell wrote about what happened that day in his book – Lone Survivor. He came back from the mountains that claimed so many lives and recounts the details of that deadly day. His existence among us is nothing short of miraculous and a blessing to us all.
I suggest you visit google and enter his name into the search engine to net more details. Purchasing his book (online or in bookstores) will be one of the best investments you have made. His story touches your heart and yet I believe he is here to share the story so we can learn from the man who lived and the men who died upon this day.
Lt. Michael Murphy had been an exceptional soul through out his life. He had shown immeasurable compassion and integrity almost since his birth. His father, Dan,a purple heart recipient from the Vietnam War had been a shining example of integrity and bravery himself. His mother, Maureen, is one of the most compassionate & sweetest women you will ever meet. However, after reading Gary Williams book “SEAL of Honor” you will see that in the midst of that wonderful soul you will find true courage and bravery in Michaels mother as well. The combination of such shining spirits amidst mankind will show how such an amazing man came to be. I feel blessed to call them my friends.
Gary’s book is available in bookstores across America as well as online. He has donated a portion of his sales towards The Michael Murphy Scholarship Fund to further one of Michael passions- education.
Remember all of these men today, not just the ones I know of personally – but each name listed above. Remember their families who live each day without their presence so we could be a stronger and free Americans. June 28th, 2010 …. That is a day I will never forget … so help me GOD.