“On June 28, 2005, three of four SEALS on the ground (Murphy, Dietz, Axelson) were killed during combat operations in support of Operation Red Wing. On the same day, a QRF of eight Navy SEALs and eight Army Night Stalkers were also killed when the MH-47 helicopter that they were aboard was shot down by enemy fire in the vicinity of Asadabad, Afghanistan in Kumar Province,” (“Michael P. Murphy”). The movie, “Lone Survivor,” gives its audience an incredibly legitimate depiction of Operation Red Wing. Through Lone Survivor, viewers apprehend what really happened that day 10,000 ft. p in the Afghanistan terrain and discover what a true Lone Survivor Marcus Luttrell really was.Order now
As the title of, “Lone Survivor,” lucidly reveals, only one SEAL survived Operation Red Wing. Marcus Luttrell was that Lone Survivor. As depicted in the movie, Luttrell was part of the four man SEAL team consisting of Sonar Technician 2nd Class Matthew Axelson, Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Danny Dietz, and Lt. Michael Murphy who were all killed in battle, (“19 Americans Killed”). Luttrell, Hospital Corpsman 2nd class, was extremely wounded.
In Lone Survivor, Luttrell’s wounds are accurate, though some of his wounds were left out of the film. Luttrell suffered multiple shrapnel and gunshot wounds (Alexander). Not shown in the movie, Luttrell suffered a broken nose, broken back, and mental and emotional trauma (Alexander). Navy. mil explains Luttrell’s injuries as such: “Dehydrated, with a bullet wound to one leg, shrapnel embedded in both legs, three vertebrae cracked; the situation for Luttrell was grim. Rescue helicopters were sent in, but he was too weak and injured to make contact,” (“Michael P. Murphy”). It is a miracle Luttrell made it out alive. Marcus Luttrell says part of himself died on the Afghanistan mountain where his three Navy SEAL comrades perished in the ill-fated 2005 mission Operation Red Wings” (Alexander).
In total, nineteen Americans lost their lives during the attack. The largest loss of life, acted out nearly accurately in the film Lone Survivor, was the loss of 16 men in just seconds. Eight SEALS and eight Army Night Stalkers from the Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment boarded an MH-47 Helicopter and rushed to the battle scene to save the four Taliban-surrounded Navy SEALs (“19 Americans Killed”).
As the MH-47 neared the grounded SEALs, an RPG hit it and its 16 fighters on board, (“19 Americans Killed”). The pilot struggled to land the helicopter, and with that, the helicopter fell off of the mountain, tumbled down, and exploded in the valley below, (“19 Americans Killed”). In Lone Survivor the scene takes place mid-afternoon. Marcus Luttrell and the others witness the plane being hit with an RPG and explode in mid-air. The honorable death of the 16 men in Lone Survivor contrasts the historical attack, which took place in the evening, was not witnessed by the SEALs on foot, and did not take place mid-air.
Other portions of Lone Survivor that contrast the way Operation Red Wing really occurred, are the deaths of the three SEALs that fought on foot: Matthew Axelson, Danny Dietz, and Lt. Michael Murphy (LS). The men’s deaths were not only incomparably honorable but extremely gruesome, both realistically and when portrayed in Lone Survivor. In the film, viewers witness Murphy’s final act of courage. As he watched his brothers slowly suffer, Murphy felt as though the only way to salvage hope was to make contact with headquarters.
To transmit the call, he needed a better position. Murphy left the security of the mountain and its rocks, and made his way out into open enemy territory. Though he was already suffering major wounds, Murphy completely exposed himself to gunfire. He made the call successfully and was connected with headquarters. He was then shot twice in the middle of his back at point blank range. The scene closes as Murphy falls to his knees and dies. Historically, the sequence of events surrounding Murphy’s death unfolded differently than depicted in the film Lone Survivor.
According to Navy. mil, “Murphy made contact with the SOF Quick Reaction Force at Bagram Air Base and requested assistance. He calmly provided his unit’s location and the size of the enemy force while requesting immediate support for his team. At one point he was shot in the back causing him to drop the transmitter. Murphy picked it back up, completed the call and continued firing at the enemy who was closing in. ” After Murphy was shot in the back, he continued his fight as long as he was able to, (“Michael P. Murphy”).
Due to this incredible act of valor, Michael Murphy was awarded a Medal of Honor for the Global War on Terrorism in October of 2007, (“Michael P. Murphy”). Another comparison worth discussing is the situation surrounding Luttrell’s rescue. In Lone Survivor, Luttrell spends the night hiding from the Taliban. The next day he travels to find water and is taken to a safe village by an Afghan man. There, the man and his son provide Luttrell food and water, shelter, and tend to his wounds. Later, the Taliban find out that the village is harboring Luttrell.
Upon threatening to behead Luttrell, the Afghan man and a few other villagers surround the Taliban with guns and force them out of the village (LS). Historically, while there are many similarities between what is presented in the film and what truly happened, there are also many notable discrepancies. Eliana Dockterman states, “Lutrell limped to a pool of water, wounded and with shrapnel in his leg. He licked the sweat off his body to survive. A man named Mohammed Gulab found him, took him back to his village and gave him food and shelter.
The village protected him because of an ancient moral code to which they ascribe that dictates you must not only shelter and feed a wounded loner but also protect him against his enemies. Gulab, a doctor, even pulled the shrapnel out of his leg. ” “Lone Survivor,” exaggerates Luttrell’s meeting with the Taliban while he is in the village. When the Taliban discovered Luttrell was in the village, they beat him and interrogated him. However, contrary to the film, the Taliban does not attempt to decapitate Luttrell.
Then, the Taliban left when a village elder told them they could not take Luttrell (Dockterman). “They shuttled Luttrell from house to house and even into a cave to hide him from the Taliban after that incident,” (Dockterman). Films representing historical events have an enormously difficult task to accomplish. Throughout “Lone Survivor,” the actual events of Operation Red Wing are consistently and accurately depicted. Most importantly, Lone Survivor conveys the notion that the SEALs will do what is right for their country. “Lone Survivor,” also illustrates what a fighter Marcus Luttrell truly had to be.
“19 Americans Killed In War’s Deadliest US. Engagement.” Vfw 99.1 (2011): 20. Supplemental Index. Web. 8 Feb. 2015.
Alexander, Bryan. “Real ‘Lone Survivor’ Luttrell battles wounds.” USA Today (2013): Biography in Context. Web. 8 Feb. 2015.
Dockterman, Eliana. “Lone Survivor: The True Story.” Time (2014): 1. Buisiness Source Premier. Web. 8 Feb. 2015.
Lone Survivor. Dir. Peter Berg. 2013. Amazon Prime. Amazon. Web. 20 Jan. 2015.
“Michael P. Murphy.” Navy.mil. Medal of Honor, USN Recipients. Web. 10 Feb. 2015.