Lone Survivor

A First-Hand Account of Sacrifice and Survival

Plot Synopses

On June 28th, 2005 Four Navy SEALs of Seal Team 10 began a top secret mission that was known as Operation Red Wing. This operation will forever be known as the greatest loss of life for the Navy SEALs throughout their existence, totaling 19 deaths. The story of Operation Redwing is told in the book The Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell, the one and only Navy SEAL who lived through the operation.


Operation Redwing took place in the rocky, mountainous region of Afghanistan, more specifically the Kandahar Providence of Afghanistan located near the varying climates of the Hindu Kush mountain range. This place is home to hundreds of Pashtunwali tribes which help provide housing and food to the Taliban fighters, however the Taliban do not control them; infact, they control the Taliban. Without the housing and food provided by the Pashtunwali the Taliban would not be a legitimate fighting force. The story works best in this climate because the soldiers are on foot, trying to use their surroundings to covertly spy on a taliban member who is suspected of being affiliated with Osama Bin Laden. Therefore, the operation would not be successful in any open field or oceanic landscape. In addition, the plot wouldn’t work in an urban area as the way the soldiers complete their mission would have to be completely different, thus altering the plot.

Matthew Gene Axelson (Axe) ( Protagonist) Flat, Static

Matt Axelson was younger than 30 years old and about 6’4’’. He has curly hair and blue eyes. He is intelligent but quiet, always evaluating both sides of an argument. Matt Axelson (aka Axe) uses a Mark 12 5.56mm marksman's rifle, a knife, and a Sig-Sauer 9mm pistol, fulfilling one of the two marksman roles on the squad of SEALs selected for the operation.

Author Biography

Marcus Luttrell was born 1975; he was raised in Texas. He is described as selfless, patriotic and thoughtful. With his brother, Morgan, they began military training at just age 14. Throughout the years until 2001 Luttrell moved through the ranks to eventually graduate to team medic. In 2005 Marcus was deployed, along with three other SEALs (Daniel Richard Healy, Michael Patrick Murphy, and Matthew Gene Axelson) on the Operation Redwing mission. This is the tragic event Marcus Luttrell survived and wrote about in his novel Lone Survivor. Although he has suffered many physical, mental, and emotional losses, Luttrell has mostly recovered and now holds many public speeches and seminars, and is the founder of the Lone Survivor foundation.

Key Passage

On page 238 Mikey ( Michael Patrick Murphy) walks out from a protected position and calls the American QRF (Quick Reaction Force) on his cell phone, compromising their position and notifying large amounts of Taliban of their position. Mikey walked into open ground at a steady pace, never taking cover from the thousands of bullets whizzing by him and continuously returning fire to deliver his message. His message to the American Command was “My guys are dying out here... we need help” and reported their position. Mikey was shot in the chest on his way back to the cover with his team but continued to battle until he was in complete agony screaming “Help me, Marcus! Please help me!” This shows that our military is ready and willing to die to help save their brothers in arms. It also shows that if the ROE were not in place none of the 19 SEALs would have died due to the type of mission.


The United States Armed Forces are ready and willing to give up their lives for their country and their Brothers in Arms. As seen numerous times in war our armed men, and women, have risked life and limb to protect their country and fellow servicemen. This is seen throughout the book where soldiers are risking their lives for their brothers in arms.