Murph, The Lone Survivor Foundation, and Me by Josh Appel
“Carl and Jen have asked me to share my involvement with Lt. Michael Murphy and The Lone Survivor Foundation.”
I knew Michael Murphy, I knew more about him than most of his friends. I knew his social security number, names of family members, his pets, and even his favorite superhero. I knew him, but I never met him. I was tasked with the rescue and recovery of the men of Operation Redwing.
It was June 28, 2005 and I was packing my gear to return home from Afghanistan when my team got the call. I was a pararescueman with the United States Air Force Combat Search and Rescue Squadron. We were informed that an Army Chinook helicopter had just been shot down during a rescue attempt of a four man SEAL team, killing the crew and the eight man SEAL team onboard. With our smaller, faster helicopters it was felt we would have a better chance at rescue. That’s when I first learned about Lt. Michael Murphy and the men of Operation Redwing.
Operation Redwing was a small team operation intended to capture or kill a high ranking Taliban official. Shortly after insertion the team was compromised by a goat herder and his son. Facing a difficult decision, the team decided to release the father and son knowing it could jeopardize their mission. Shortly thereafter they were surrounded by Taliban and involved in a fierce firefight. With his team badly outnumbered and injured Lt. Michael Murphy knew he needed help but could not get a clear radio signal. He knew that getting a clear radio signal would expose him to the enemy but he had to think of his team first. Already wounded, Murph climbed a hill and called in a rescue helicopter. Shortly after making the call he was overtaken and killed.
The remaining team members continued to evade and return fire in hopes of holding out until the rescue forces arrived. They watched as the Army helicopter arrived, held a hover, and deployed a fast rope out of the back for the rescue SEAL team. As the SEAL team prepared to deploy from the helicopter a rocket-propelled grenade struck the rear of the helicopter causing it to collide with the mountainside instantly killing all onboard.
The remaining men of Operation Redwing were subsequently killed in action except for one, Petty Officer First Class Marcus Luttrell. Severely injured, Luttrell continued to evade until found by an Afghani shepherd who offered him aide. The shepherd delivered a hand-written note from Luttrell to a Marine base telling of his location and the fate of Operation Redwing. Word came to us of the lone survivor and we mounted a rescue mission. With the Taliban close on his heels, the shepherd continued to hide Luttrell but he knew it was only a matter of time before he was captured.
That evening, July 2, 2005, under the cover of darkness and with the escort of a C-130 gunship we flew through enemy fire to the small village. After nearly crashing into the mountain, we landed on a dangerously small outcrop of the mountainside. As soon as the wheels touched down, my teammate and I exited the helicopter in search of Luttrell. Through the darkness and wind of the rotor wash, we saw men in Afghani clothing approaching the aircraft. Knowing Taliban were in the area we raised our weapons. After authenticating them, we realized this was Luttrell and his escort and we quickly brought them onboard and signaled the pilot to take off. After Luttrell was returned to safety he informed us as to the location of his teammates. Next would be a recovery mission.
On the night of July 4th, with the help of allied ground forces, we flew back into the valley and recovered two of the members of Operation Redwing, including Lt. Michael Murphy.
After returning stateside, Marcus Luttrell went on to tell the story of Operation Redwing in a book titled The Lone Survivor. For his heroic acts Lt. Michael Murphy was awarded the Medal of Honor. Since that time Marcus Luttrell has continued to inform the public about Operation Redwing and has recently started a foundation called the Lone Survivor Foundation. This foundation helps wounded soldiers and their families cope with the difficulties of returning from war.
So now you know the story behind the workout, Murph. Something to think about when you feel like you can’t possibly do another pull-up…….
(Borrowed from CrossFitWorks http://www.crossfitworks.com/archives/1681)
- Run , 1 mile
- 100 Pullups
- 200 Pushups
- 300 Air Squats
- Run , 1 mile