Looking back, during our long journey in the C-130 to Afghanistan, I was more acutely aware of a growing problem which faces U.S. forces on active duty in theaters of war all over the world. As I tended to my wounds and took refuge from the enemy, who was scouring the hills in search of us, a Chinook helicopter, unbeknownst to me, was inbound to our rescue. Visiting dignitaries often wanted to meet the “lone survivor” of Operation Redwing and have me tell them the story personally. He was a terrific combat leader, and his troop chief, Senior Chief Petty Officer Warren Steffen, was in my view one of the hardest, most experienced, and capable operators in the community, the consummate quiet professional. des Iraks. We already had the big picture of how U.S. forces were taking on that city. His call sign was Underwater Brother, and he’s one bad mofo. It's one of the noisiest aircraft in the stratosphere, a big, echoing, steel cave speci?cally designed to carry heavy-duty freight - not sensitive, delicate, poetic conversationalists such as ourselves. I was one of 146,000 American and coalition troops in there, under the command of General Tommy Franks. In his many deployments in the teams, he’s done almost everything there is to do, several times nearly losing his life. Marcus Luttrellâs #1 New York Times best-selling book, Lone Survivor, tells the harrowing story of four Navy SEALs who journeyed into the mountainous border of Afghanistan and Pakistan on Operation Redwing.The book is a moving tribute to the friends and teammates who did not make it off the mountain. We’d take an M4 carbine and replace its barrel with one designed to shoot “sim rounds,” plastic bullets that contain a load of paint to mark hits. At which point, urged on by an outraged American media, the military would probably incarcerate me under the jail, never mind in it. This phase is all about the tactical basics. But still unusually warm for a group of Americans in springtime, even for a Texan like me. Morgan doesn’t take painkillers unless the pain prevents him from sleeping or otherwise gets in the way of his healing, so we did our best to keep him diverted. That's frogmen, by the way, which we all were. U.S. pilot. They decided I should write a book about the mission. I also saw the al Qaeda training camp north of Baghdad. However, the whole movement received a severe blow to its morale on July 22, when Saddam's sons, Uday and Qusay, who were at least as evil as their dad, were ?nally nailed at a house in Mosul. That was all the information we had. There were no other passengers on board, just the ?ight crew and, in the rear, us, headed out to do God's work on behalf of the U.S. government and our commander in chief, President George W. Bush. Marcus Luttrell became a combat-trained Navy SEAL in 2002 and served in many dangerous Special Operations assignments around the world. Which was more or less why the brass had sent for us. I had been in Baghdad just one day when President Bush declared Saddam Hussein and his Ba'ath Party had fallen, and my colleagues swiftly captured, that same day, Abu Abbas, leader of the Palestinian Liberation Front, which attacked the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro in the Mediterranean in 1985. Knowing my heart and soul, he asked, “Does a firefighter quit after going into a burning house? Lips tight, eyes on the walls, they no longer allowed me to be privy to what made their world go round. We'd advance, city block by city block, moving carefully through the dark, ready for someone to open ?re on us from a window, a building, somewhere on the opposite side of the street, even a tower. One of their best, Chris Kyle, was racking up a confirmed-kill record that surpassed that of every sniper the United States had ever sent to war. This was where bin Laden's ?ghters found a home training base. Shane was as good on a computer as anyone at the base. We brought in a DVD player and reading material and tried to keep things lively and upbeat. The smell of the mighty Pacific—freezing in December and merely cold as hell every other month—boosted my spirit and filled me with motivation to get back what I had lost. He is also known by the nicknames "Southern Boy,â "The One,â "The Lone Survivor." You're dealing with a race car here.". He once gave me a stop sign for my birthday. The EOD maestro was standing right next to me. A SEAL team has three troops, or task units, each of which has two platoons. It's a SEAL thing, our unspoken invincibility, the silent code of the elite warriors of the U.S. Armed Forces. It’s state of the art, informed by the experiences of the battle-wise SEAL operators who were most recently in harm’s way. He joined me at a state-of-the-art facility, Athletes’ Performance, that has a special rehab program for getting guys like us back to speed. I was still learning to keep those memories in a box. I learned at one point that some higher-ups wanted to leave me behind in a “beach detachment” when the team finally went overseas. We knew what we were coming for. Medic!” Though I had been elevated to LPO, I am still a medic. The explosions, heavy gunfire, and terrible human casualties never seemed to let up. But we’re both stronger, more whole, in each other’s company. It was his intelligence, clarity of mind, and smooth but direct way with people, both senior and subordinate, that put him in a class by himself, at least in my eyes. The six of us, dressed in our light combat gear - ?at desert khakis with Oakley assault boots - stepped outside into a light, warm breeze. In any team environment, and especially in a group of highly driven people dedicated to a difficult mission, you’ll always find smaller crews that stick together tightly and lean on each other, no matter how hard things may get. But climbing up on that horse again—that was going to be tough. I just needed to focus on work—but that wasn’t always easy. Because it’s true: the more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war. I felt bad for the crew that had to live there. We figured the day would come when we’d need to whip out those pictures just to keep him humble.