Book Review – Lone Survivor
I just got through reading Lone Survivor, by Marcus Luttrell…and it blew my mind. Marcus is a Navy Seal and the story is about him and 3 three troop mates going into the mountains of Afghanistan, and ending up in a brutal firefight with around 150 Afghan fighters (that’s 150-4 if you’re keeping count). The other three members of Marcus’ team are killed at various points during the attack and ultimately Marcus is able to elude the fighters.
The first four chapters of the book not only set the theme for the book; they also describe, in great detail, the training that one must go through in order to become a SEAL. I must say, these guys are the closest thing we have in this world to a walking erection. I can’t tell you the number of times I actually had to stop reading just to process the living hell that these boys go through. I am not a fan of war, I doubt many are, but I seriously favor our chances anytime SEALs are involved in the fight (see Bin Laden’s last day on Earth as a reference).
The next few chapters give us a gruesome account of the Battle of Murphy’s Ridge. The mere fact that he lived to tell the story after being involved in a fire fight that had a ratio of 150-4 should tell you something. As I got towards the end of the book, I actually had to bring it home because I couldn’t stand to have a weekend go by without knowing the end of the story.
After Marcus eludes the fighters, he is taken in by a local tribe, “nursed” (read the book and you’ll know what I mean by “nursed”) back to walking condition, and ultimately reunited with American troops. He leaves you with a feeling that he left something up on that ridge, both literally and figuratively.
The fact that he survived is nothing short of miraculous. He basically falls off a mountain, several times, goes upwards of 9 hours without water, gets shot, beat up, and contracts some mystery virus from that Pepsi bottle…and still manages to survive.
I took away two things from this book, the first is that during SEAL training, there are a lot of excellent soldiers that are forced to ring the bell for one reason or another, and without exception they are always given a second chance to go out and rejoin their classmates to finish their training. What is great is that if they actually take that second chance to go back out and finish their training, no matter what they are never allowed to make it through the training to become SEALs. Once the thought of quitting enters their mind, they aren’t SEALs. And the second is what’s known in SEAL terms as an ‘evolution.’ Everything SEALs do is known as an evolution. It is never known what will happen from one minute to the next, so they don’t get caught up in looking too far into the future, they focus 100% on the task in front of them, then once that is complete, they move on to the next task, or evolution. In life, we could all learn a little from that. We are all guilty of looking into the future, some of us more than others. If we would focus a little more on the current evolution, we would undoubtedly make things better down the road.