Cheat-Seeking Missles

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

When Heroes Break Down

For those of you who weren't listening to Laura Ingraham at about 8:30 this morning, here's what you missed: One of the most powerful moments ever in radio.

Ingraham was interviewing Marcus Luttrell, the author of Lone Survivor, a Navy Seal who is the sole survivor of an Afghanistan gun battle when 150 Taliban attacked his team of four scouts.

At first, there were some questions about the mission, which was to scout a senior al-Qaeda operative with ties to bin Laden, find out about his movements and take him out if possible. Luttrell sounded solid, rock solid. His answers were like a briefing, loaded with military terminology, his words snapped off as if he were answering while standing at attention.

Then Ingraham said (all paraphrasing here):
I can imagine ... I can't imagine, really ... but I can try to think of what it's like. You train with the guys in your unit for years, you become close like brothers. How do you deal with them all gone, and you surviving?
There was just silence. Dead air. It went on for several seconds.

Then a slow, shaky sucking in of breath.

I .... Ma'am ....
I'm so sorry. I'm just trying to understand, help my listeners understand ... the sacrifice, so we can continue to stand behind our military. I know it must be so hard ...
I'm sorry Ma'am. I don't know what you want me to say. I don't cope. I bang my head into the wall. I cry every day. I lock myself in my room. Not 30 seconds of one minute goes by without me thinking about them.

They give me medicine, but I don't like that stuff. The only thing that helps is talking to the guys in my company, but now that I'm out of the Service, that's harder ...
His voice faded.

When they talk about being a Marine or a soldier or a sailor or a Ranger or a Seal for life, this is what they're talking about. Luttrell's team's lives ended up being short, but for the sole survivor, the fact that he was a Navy Seal in Afghanistan will never leave him.

And he's OK with that; OK with the suffering that is going to be with him a long, long time.
We're ready to give our lives, Ma'am. You can't give more than that.
I think Marcus Luttrell is giving more than his life. He's living the life of three others, wondering why he still has a life to live. Yet in his voice you know ... he'd go and do it all again, if called.

Keep him in your prayers.

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