Marcus Luttrell of ‘Lone Survivor’ Talks About The Patriot Tour and Boston

On June 28, 2005, Marcus Luttrell and SEAL Team 10 were assigned a mission to kill or capture Ahmad Shah, a high-ranking Taliban leader responsible for killings in eastern Afghanistan and the Hindu-Kush mountains. On the mission, the SEAL team of Luttrell, Michael Murphy, Danny Dietz and Matthew Axelson, encountered a group of goat herders. After some discussion, the SEALs made the difficult decision to release them. Luttrell believed they immediately betrayed the team’s location to local Taliban forces and within an hour, the SEALs were engaged in an intense gun battle. In the ensuing battle, all of the SEAL team members were killed but Luttrell. Despite being shot and falling down the mountain several times, he somehow found the inner strength to walk and crawl seven miles to evade capture where he was given shelter by an Afghan tribe, who alerted the Americans of his presence. American forces finally rescued him six days after the gun battle.

Following his physical recovery from Operation Redwing, Luttrell returned to active duty and completed one more tour before being medically retired. He then wrote the book, Lone Survivor, which was turned into a movie last year starring Mark Wahlberg as Luttrell. We recently caught up with Luttrell to discuss Lone Survivor, Mark Wahlberg being cast to portray him and his upcoming Patriot Tour, which comes to Boston this weekend.

Marcus Luttrell
Marcus Luttrell

Photo Credit: Patriot Tour

“When they were working on the movie Lone Survivor, all I cared about was that it was done right to honor all of the guys,” Luttrell said. “It was difficult to tell the whole experience in just a couple of hours in a movie, but they did the best they could with the limited time they had. In real life, the rescue was more intense as it took place at night. It was really tough to get me out of there.”

Aside from the height irregularity (Wahlberg is 5’8 and Luttrell is 6’5), how accurately did Wahlberg portray him? “I have gained a whole new respect for what they do in Hollywood on a regular basis,” Luttrell said. “To be able to sit down and watch all of it go down on the controlled madness of a Hollywood set was incredible. I was both proud and apprehensive of having our story portrayed. I just wanted to be sure it was done right. When Mark came on the set, we hung out and he watched my mannerisms. Mark’s personality is bigger than life. Most SEALs are the size of Mark. The only thing I said to him was [laughing] do not try to do a southern accent.” [Luttrell is from Texas and Wahlberg is from Boston].

This weekend, Boston is welcoming Luttrell, Taya Kyle (American Sniper Chris Kyle’s widow) and several Navy SEALs to town for The Patriot Tour. Luttrell revealed a few things he enjoys most about Boston and why he is looking forward to coming back this weekend. “I love Boston,” he said. “I’m a big tradition guy. If you love this country and study history then you will love Boston. I went to Fenway Park when I was here one time and it was raining hard, but it was awesome. Texas is generally 82 degrees year round. I always tell people you don’t know cold until you have been to Boston.”

How did the tour come to be? “It started out as something Chris (Kyle) and I wanted to do before he was killed,” Luttrell said. “After he died, I revisited the concept with his wife, Taya, and she wanted to do it. The reception we have had has been great. We all get on stage and talk about what we went through. These guys motivate me every day. It’s raw and people really respond to that well. The tour is really an example of people being knocked down but getting back up.”