Marcus Luttrell is a retired United States Navy SEALs operative, social worker, author, and entrepreneur. He is known for being the only survivor of the team of Navy SEALs that took part in Operation Red Wings in Afghanistan in 2005. Marcus is the author of the book Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10 based on which the Hollywood film Lone Survivor was released in 2013.
- 1 Wiki/Biography
- 2 Physical Appearance
- 3 Family
- 4 Relationships/Affairs
- 5 Religion
- 6 Address
- 7 Signature/Autograph
- 8 Career
- 9 Controversies surrounding Operation Red Wings
- 10 Military Decorations
- 11 Tattoos
- 12 Facts/Trivia
Marcus Alan Luttrell was born on Friday, 7 November 1975 (age 47 years; as of 2022) in Houston, Texas, the United States of America. His zodiac sign is Scorpio. He completed his high school at Willis High School in Conroe, Texas. Later, he enrolled at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas; however, Luttrell dropped out of the university in 1998 to enlist in the United States Navy.
In an interview, Luttrell revealed that he and his twin brother began training to become a part of the US special forces when they were 14 years old. He further said that they were trained by a retired US Army special forces operative named Billy Shelton, who lived in their neighbourhood. He talked about his first meeting with Billy and said,
He was a bull of a man, with rippling muscles, fair skin, and not carrying one ounce of fat. To my eyes he looked like he could have choke slammed a rhino. I made my hesitant request. And he just looked me up and down and said, “Right here. Four, tomorrow afternoon.” Then he shut the door in my face.”
Height (approx.): 6′ 5″
Weight (approx.): 90 kg
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Dark Brown
Parents & Siblings
His father, David Luttrell, was a Vietnam War veteran and a businessman. He passed away due to cancer.
His mother’s name is Holly Luttrell. His twin brother, Morgan Luttrell, is a retired US Navy SEAL lieutenant and politician who served as the advisor to Energy Secretary Rick Perry during the Donald Trump administration. Morgan was elected to Congress on 8 November 2022 from Texas’s 8th congressional district.
Wife & Children
His wife, Melanie Juneau Luttrell, is an entrepreneur who runs a flower farm named Root & Roux in Texas. The couple got married on 27 November 2010 and has three children, Axe Luttrell (whom Marcus named after his best friend Matthew Axelson killed during Operation Red Wings in 2005), Addie Luttrell, and Hunter Juneau. Hunter is Marcus’ stepson, and he is a businessman.
Marcus met Melanie when he was serving in the US Navy SEALs. The couple dated each other for some time before marrying in 2010.
Marcus Luttrell follows Christianity.
He resides at House number 28712, Lakeside Grn, Magnolia, TX 77355, United States of America.
Marcus Luttrell joined the US Navy’s boot camp at Great Lakes Naval Training Center, Chicago, Illinois, in March 1999. Thereafter, he joined the Naval Hospital Corps School at Great Lakes, Illinois, where he underwent medical training as a Hospital Corpsman.
In 1999, Marcus attended the Class 226 of the Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) to become a US Navy SEAL. He finished the BUD/S training program on 21 April 2000 with Class 228 instead of Class 226, in which he initially enrolled, as he fractured his femur bone and had to undergo medical treatment.
Thereafter, he reported at the United States Army Airborne School, also known as Jump School, in Fort Moore, Georgia, where he underwent basic paratrooper (military parachutist) training. He later underwent SEAL Qualification Training (SQT) for 26 weeks. Following the successful completion of SQT on 2 February 2001, Luttrell received the Insignia of Naval Enlisted Classification (NEC) 5326 Combatant Swimmer (SEAL). In January 2002, he received the Insignia for Naval Special Warfare, also known as the SEAL team trident badge. Thereafter, he reported at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, where he underwent six months of advanced conventional and unconventional medical training.
Deployed in Iraq
Marcus Luttrell was sent on his first overseas deployment to Iraq on 14 April 2003 during the US-led NATO invasion of Iraq. There, he was a part of SEAL Team 5 and was tasked with searching and capturing the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) of the Iraqi armed forces. After the end of Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq, his team was tasked with eliminating the resistance put on by the leftover Iraqi forces and insurgents.
Deployed in Afghanistan
In 2005, Marcus was sent on his second overseas deployment to Afghanistan, where he joined SEAL Team 10 as a member of SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team One (SDVT-1). In June 2005, SEAL Team 10 was tasked with gathering intelligence and killing/capturing a high-ranking Taliban leader named Ahmad Shah who was reportedly hiding in the Kunar Province of Afghanistan.
On 28 June 2005, a four-man SEAL team, consisting of Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, Petty Officer Second Class Danny Dietz, Petty Officer Second Class Matthew Axelson, and Petty Officer Second Class Marcus Luttrell, was deployed on the mountains near the Pakistan-Aghanistan border. However, their mission was compromised when they were discovered by a group of local goat herders. According to Marcus, his team faced a critical decision whether to kill the herders and continue their mission or release them and abort.
Choosing the latter, they let the herders go, but soon after, they were ambushed by a large Taliban force after the herders informed the Taliban about the presence of the SEALs as soon as they were let go. By the time the firefight ended, Murphy, Dietz, and Axelson were killed in action. Marcus Luttrell survived, but he was severely injured.
He was eventually rescued by an Afghan man named Mohammad Gulab Khan, a resident of the Salar Ban village, Kunar Province, who took him to his house and sheltered him for some days. Gulab also managed to persuade other villagers to help him keep Luttrell safe from the Taliban forces who were searching for him. To avoid getting captured by Shah’s forces, Gulab kept on changing places. According to sources, Gulab chose to assist Luttrell because his village had a friendly relationship with the US forces, and the US forces had previously provided Gulab’s village with food, water, security, and education. Thereafter, Gulab went to the nearest US Army base to tell them about the entire ordeal following which the US Army prepared a team of Army Rangers and Afghan National Army (ANA) troops. On 2 July 2005, Gulab led the Army Rangers to the location where he was sheltering Marcus Luttrell; however, the evacuation was not swift as the Taliban forces once again tried to ambush the troops. After a gunfight, the Taliban forces withdrew and Marcus was rescued and taken to a military hospital, where he was treated for a broken back, shrapnel wounds, and multiple fractures by the doctors. In 2007, Marcus received the Navy Cross for participating in the operation.
Re-deployed in Iraq
In 2006, after recovering from the injuries that he sustained in Afghanistan, Luttrell was once again sent to Iraq as a member of the SEAL Team 5. There, he served in combat with the renowned Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle in Ramadi.
In the same year, Luttrell was injured during an operation in which his knees and spinal cord were grievously wounded as a result of which he was discharged from the service from the rank of petty officer first class in 2007. The Board for the Correction of Naval Records granted him a medical retirement in 2009.
In 2007, Marcus Luttrell published a book titled Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10. His second book, Service: A Navy SEAL at War, was published in 2012.
The Lone Survivor Foundation & Team Never Quit
In 2010, Marcus Luttrell founded the Lone Survivor Foundation in Houston, Texas. It is aimed at helping war veterans going through different types of physical as well as mental ailments such as PTSD. Thereafter, Luttrell’s foundation started a campaign to help war veterans with The Boot Campaign. He later established Team Never Quit under which he founded the TNQ Foundation aimed at providing support to retired personnel of the US Armed Forces. In addition, he manages an online store that offers a diverse range of products and hosts podcasts.
Luttrell, in an uncredited role, made several cameo appearances in the film Lone Survivor (2013), which is based on his book Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10.
In 2016, he appeared as himself in the zombie comedy film Range 15. Luttrell made a guest appearance on an episode of Season 9 of the series Duck Dynasty, which premiered on A&E Networks. He made an appearance in Season 9 episode 4 of the American automotive TV series Overhaulin’ in which a 1967 Mustang was custom-built in honour of his service as a Navy SEAL.
Controversies surrounding Operation Red Wings
The debate over the exact number of Taliban fighters
After the end of Operation Red Wings, Marcus submitted an “after-action” report in which he claimed that his team was ambushed by 35 to 40 Taliban fighters; however, in his book, Lone Survivor, he claimed that his team was ambushed by 80 to 200 Taliban fighters out of which they managed to neutralize more than a dozen of enemies. In January 2011, the Marine Corps Gazette claimed that as per the military intelligence, members of SEAL Team 10 were engaged in a firefight by roughly 10 to 20 Taliban fighters. As per the United States Navy’s Medal of Honour citation for Lt. Michael P. Murphy, the team was ambushed by 30 to 40 enemy fighters. Ed Darack also contradicted Luttrell and wrote in his book Victory Point: Operations Red Wings and Whalers that the Taliban group consisted of 8 to 10 members. The estimate provided by Darack was based on research conducted using intelligence reports, observations from the air and ground, accounts from the rescuers, and Afghan intelligence, gathered after the events took place. Andrew MacMannis, a retired US Marine Corps Colonel involved in the planning of Operation Red Wings, claimed that the troops conducting combing operations in the mountains after the ambush did not recover any deceased Taliban terrorists.
In his book Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10, Luttrell wrote that Lieutenant Murphy thought of shooting the Afghan herders who unexpectedly encountered the SEAL reconnaissance team in June 2005. However, his claim has faced severe criticism and has been widely rejected as a work of fiction. Lieutenant Steve Ruh, a spokesperson for the Navy Special Warfare Command, said that “the most senior person ultimately possesses the absolute authority” to make decisions in the field. He further expressed, “This is the first instance I’ve come across where a decision was subjected to a vote. Throughout my 14 years of experience in the Navy, such a practice has never been witnessed or heard of.” Lt Murphy’s father also criticised Luttrell and rejected his claims. In an interview, Murphy’s father talked about it and said,
That directly contradicts what he told Maureen, myself and Michael’s brother John in my kitchen. He said that Michael was adamant that the civilians were going to be released, that he wasn’t going to kill innocent people … Michael would not put that up for a committee. People who knew Michael know that he was decisive and that he makes decisions.”
In his book, Luttrell also claimed that during the ambush, he ran out of ammunition; however, Mohammad Gulab contradicted this claim, stating that when he discovered Marcus, he still possessed a lot of ammunition. He further contradicted Marcus’ claims of the goat herders informing the Taliban about the SEALs’ whereabouts and said,
The militants, like many others in the area, heard the helicopter drop the Americans on the mountain, Gulab claims. The next morning, they began searching for the SEAL’s distinctive footprints. When the militants finally found them, the Americans were deliberating about what to do with the goat herders. The insurgents held back. After Marcus Luttrell and the company freed the locals, the gunmen waited for the right moment to strike.”
Gulab further disclosed that during a TV interview, an interpreter instructed him not to share his perspective and urged him to support all of Marcus’ assertions.
- Navy Cross (2007)
- Bronze Star with “V” device
- Army Commendation Medal with 2 Oak leaf clusters
- Navy Achievement Medal with 4 5/16 inch stars
- Navy Presidential Unit Citation
- Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation
- Navy Good Conduct Medal with 1 Service star
- National Defense Service Medal
- Afghanistan Campaign Medal with 1 Campaign star
- Iraq Campaign Medal with 2 Campaign stars
He got several tattoos inked on both of his arms.
He got the words Never Forget and the date of Operation Red Wings 6-28-2005 inked on one of his biceps.
- He also goes by the names Southern Boy, The One, and The Lone Survivor.
- On 25 January 2008, Jeri Exner, owner of Jeri’s Springer Front End, built a customised Harley Davidson and named it Lone Survivor as a tribute to Marcus Luttrell.
- In his book Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10, Marcus wrote that he once wrestled an alligator while growing up in Texas.
- Marcus Luttrell is a supporter of Donald Trump. In 2016, he gave his speech in support of Trump at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. Marcus also campaigned for President Trump in 2020 during the US Presidential elections.
- He follows a non-vegetarian diet.
- Marcus Luttrell consumes alcoholic beverages occasionally.
- He is an avid dog lover and owns a pet Labrador named Mr. Rigby and a Pomeranian named Tina.