Fifteen years ago, a team of four Navy SEALs fought through what was identified at the moment as the most dangerous day because that U.S. Forces due to the fact that the begin of operation Enduring Freedom. 

Lt. Michael Murphy, Gunner"s Mate second Class Danny Dietz, Sonar Technician second Class Matthew Axelson, and Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Marcus Luttrell embarked on Operation Red wings on June 27, 2005, which later influenced the 2013 movie Lone Survivor, based ~ above Luttrell"s publication of the very same name.

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On June 28, the team was faced by one overwhelming adversary force, resulting in the fatality of all however Luttrell, and several various other special operators whose helicopter was shot under while they were en route to help the embattled team. At the time, it to be the greatest single loss the life because that Naval special Warfare due to the fact that World battle II. 

Two years after the mission, in October 2007, Lt. Murphy to be posthumously vested the Medal of Honor for his “selfless leadership, courageous actions, and extraordinary devotion to duty” that he presented during the gunfight. 


According to the Navy"s summary of action, the 4 SEALs were “deep behind foe lines,” in an overwhelming and rugged terrain in Afghanistan, top top a reconnaissance mission scouting Ahmad shah — a terrorist who was head the a guerrilla team aligned v the Taliban. During the mission, locals spotted the team and reported their position to Taliban fighters. 

Soon, the four-man team came under attack and was severely outnumbered, encountering over 50 combatants that “launched a well-organized, three-sided attack” top top the SEALs, wounding every of them. Lock were thrust further and further right into a ravine, forcing castle to effort to make their method down the next of the mountain.

With the case only getting worse, Dietz “sought open air to ar a distress call earlier to base,” but was shot in the hand. Therefore Murphy — who was “suffering grave gunshot wounds” — took it upon self to complete was Dietz had actually tried come do. The compensation citation says that Murphy “fought his way into open up terrain” to be able to make the call, demonstrating “extreme composure … in the confront of almost particular death.” 

“This deliberate, heroic plot deprived that of cover, exposing the to direct enemy fire,” his award quote says. 

He had the ability to request help from the rapid reaction pressure at Bagram air Base, but while he to be on the call, Murphy to be shot in the earlier and to reduce the transmitter. 

“Murphy picked it earlier up, perfect the call, and continued firing at the adversary who was closing in,” the activity summary says. “Severely wounded, Lt. Murphy went back to his cover position with his men and also continued the battle.” 


Because that Murphy"s transmission, an MH-47 Chinook helicopter, transporting eight other SEALs together with eight army Night Stalkers, comment to extract the four-man team alongside military attack helicopters. But, the action summary explains, the “heavy weight” the the attack helicopters led the MH-47 come outrun them, definition they would be progressing “into an energetic enemy area in daylight, without their attack support, and also without the covering of night.” 

They did that anyway, discovering time was of the essence if they to be to save the embattled SEAL team. Yet on its method in, the MH-47 was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade. All 16 men on plank were killed. 

By the end of the battle, Dietz, Murphy, and also Axelson had likewise been killed, and also Luttrell had been “blasted over a ridge” and also knocked unconscious. A if later, when he regained consciousness, Luttrell discovered he had no other option but to crawl down the next of the cliff he to be on — in spite of having three cracked vertebrae, a bullet wound in one leg and also shrapnel in both, and also suffering from dehydration. 

He to be “too weak and also injured” come make call with the rescue helicopters that concerned find him. That walked nearly seven miles, maintaining out of the enemy"s understand for virtually a day prior to he to be taken in by locals and also given sanctuary in a village nearby. 

Despite repeated demands by the Taliban, the villagers refuse to hand end Luttrell. One of the villagers eventually ceded a note from Luttrell to a naval outpost, resulting in “a enormous operation” to rescue the SEAL ~ above July 2nd. 

The Navy"s activity summary credits Murphy"s heroic plot as important in Luttrell"s rescue.

“By his undaunted courage, intrepid fighting spirit and inspirational devotion come his men in the face of specific death, Lt. Murphy had the ability to relay the position of his unit, an plot that at some point led come the rescue the Luttrell and the restore of the stays of the three who were killed in the battle,” the activity summary says.

“The Naval special Warfare (NSW) neighborhood will forever mental June 28, 2005, and also the heroic efforts and also sacrifices the our unique operators. We hold with reverence the ultimate sacrifice the they make while involved in that fierce firefight ~ above the prior lines of the an international war on terrorism (GWOT).”


Haley Britzky

Haley Britzky is the army reporter for job & Purpose, extending the day-to-day happenings in the Army and also how they affect soldiers and also their families, also as more comprehensive national protection issues. Initially from Texas, Haley previously worked at Axios prior to joining task & purpose in January 2019. Call the writer here.

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