A Soldier Can Never Die in Vain

*Note: This essay was published at War on the Rocks on October 12, 2015. It can also be found online here (or PDF). 

Navy Lieutenant Mike Murphy.

Petty Officer Second Class Matt Axelson.

Petty Officer Second Class Danny Dietz.

These Navy SEALs died in 2005 as part of Operation Red Wings in Afghanistan. Their sacrifices were meaningful, same as those of any soldier, sailor, airman, or Marine that dies on the fields of unfriendly strife.

These three hallowed men mattered to the battle’s lone survivor, Navy Hospital Corpsman Second Class Marcus Luttrell — mattered so much that an interviewer’s suggestion the SEALs deaths were “senseless” prompted Luttrell’s seething response: “[Are you] telling me because we were over there doing what we were told by our country that it was senseless and my guys died for nothing?” Shortly thereafter, Army veteran Jim Gourley penned a provocative essay answering Luttrell’s rhetorical question: “Yes Marcus. Your friends died in vain.”

Read the rest at War on the Rocks.

Author: ML Cavanaugh

Unequal parts strategist, assistant professor, wordsmith, runner, wine-o, reader, philosopher of firepower, and hopeless lover of three ladies named Rachel, Grace, and Georgie.

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