Marcus Luttrell was born on November 7, 1975, in Houston, Texas. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on September 15, 1998, and attended basic training at NTC Great Lakes, Illinois, from March 8 to May 17, 1999. Luttrell next completed Corpsman A School in November 1999, and then Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL Training in April 2000. Further training followed with his completion of Airborne School in June 2000, Special Operations Combat Medic Training in April 2001, SEAL Qualification Training in August 2001, and Naval Special Warfare Advanced Communications Training in December 2001. Petty Officer Luttrell served with SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team One at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, from December 2001 until he deployed with SEAL Team 10 to Afghanistan in March 2005, having previously deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in April 2003. He was badly injured in a firefight during Operation Red Wings in Afghanistan on June 28, 2005, and was missing in action for several days until being found by American forces on July 3, 2005. During this time a local Afghani tribesman had given him medical care, shelter, and protected him from Taliban forces. After recovering from his injuries, Petty Officer Luttrell served with SEAL Team Five at NAB Coronado, California, from December 2005 until he left active duty on June 6, 2007, having served another tour in Iraq from August 2006 to April 2007. After leaving the Navy, Marcus wrote the book Lone Survivor, detailing his participation in Operation Red Wings, which was later made into a movie by the same name.
His Navy Cross Citation reads:
For extraordinary heroism in actions against the enemy while serving in a four-man Special Reconnaissance element with SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team ONE, Naval Special Warfare Task unit, Afghanistan from 27 to 28 June 2005, in the vicinity of Asadabad, Konar Province, Afghanistan. Operating in the middle of an enemy-controlled area, in extremely rugged terrain, his Special Reconnaissance element was tasked with locating a high-level Anti-Coalition Militia leader, in support of a follow-on direct action mission to disrupt enemy activity. On 28 June 2005, the element was spotted by Anti-Coalition Militia sympathizers, who immediately revealed their position to the militia fighters. As a result, the element directly encountered the enemy. Demonstrating exceptional resolve and fully understanding the gravity of the situation and his responsibility to his teammates, the unidentified SEAL fought valiantly against the numerically superior and positionally advantaged enemy force.