Operation Redwing Analyisis

Topics: Michael P. Murphy, United States Navy SEALs, Operation Red Wing Pages: 6 (2501 words) Published: March 21, 2012
Operation Red Wing
On June 28, 2005 The SEAL team, led by LT Michael P. Murphy and consisting of petty officers Matthew Axelson, Danny Dietz and Marcus Luttrell, were on a mission to kill or capture Ahmad Shah, a Taliban leader who commanded a group of insurgents known as the "Mountain Tigers," west of Asadabad. The initial counter-insurgent mission in Kunar Province, Afghanistan seemed to be running accordingly with a successful infiltration into enemy territories until local Goat herders stumbled upon the teams hiding spot. While very concerned with their own well being the Seal team was unable to verify Hostile intent from the herders. LT Murphy put the final decision of the goat herder’s fate up to vote by the team. Axelson voted to kill the Afghans, stating, "The military decision is obvious," in reference to the near-certainty that the herders would alert the Taliban. Dietz on the other hand simply abstained. It was up to Luttrell to make the deciding vote, a vote which would later be found to be the most crucial decision of the entire mission. In fear of almost indefinite murder charges and the harassment of the US liberal Media Luttrell voted for the release of the herders. Luttrell to this day has been quoted saying "It was the stupidest, most southern-fried, lame brained decision I ever made in my life. I must have been out of my mind. I had actually cast a vote which I knew could sign our death warrant. I’d turned into a f--ing liberal, a half-assed, no-logic nitwit, all heart, no brain, and the judgment of a jackrabbit." This extreme passion and hatred against his decision is justified, for only a short while after the goat herders disappearance the SEAL team was confronted by incredible force of Afghan fighters which has been recorded to be in the numbers of somewhere between 150-200 strong. One terrible event led to another and before long Luttrell remained the only surviving SEAL lying unconscious behind a ridge. The four members had faced a well organized three sided attack by the Taliban force and finding themselves greatly outnumbered they soon resorted to pretty much running down a Cliffside to escape the incoming fire. After noting the team's radio transmitters weren't functioning properly in the mountains LT Murphy moved into the open and placed the emergency call for support from his cell phone. During the conversation he was shot in the abdomen and returned to cover to fight for only a short time till his death. After 2 hours of fighting and relentless attacks by RPGs (Rocket Propelled Grenades). Luttrell luckily fell into cover but was knocked out cold. Just as the Army Values states I will never leave a fallen comrade, the naval force also acted accordingly. One MH-47D helicopter, four UH-60 Blackhawks and two AH-64D Longbows attempted to come to the rescue of the team to provide extraction in the mountains of Kunar. In their heroic efforts for their fallen comrades the MH-47 helicopter, carrying eight Navy SEALs and eight 160th Night Stalkers, was shot down by a rocket propelled grenade shot through the open rear ramp, causing the pilot to lose control of his aircraft. Upon hitting the side of a mountain ledge the aircraft fell to the bottom of a ravine killing all sixteen members inside. With the casualty count now at 19 soldiers this particular operation failure was the largest single loss of the Naval Special Warfare since World War II. While lying there watching his comrade’s attempts at rescue and even their own fate Luttrell tried to hide him as best as he could so not to bring on any more attacks from the Taliban forces. Driven by intense thirst, while still suffering from a gunshot to the leg and three cracked vertebrae from the fall Luttrell traveled 7 miles over the remainder of the day at an attempt for survival. After an accidental fall from a ledge Luttrell was discovered by a Sheppard named Gulab despite his successful attempt to remain unnoticed up to that point. Gulab summoned...
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