The Real Life
story of Marcus Luttrel, and the disaster known as Operation Red Wings.
Not to be confused with the 2012 video game
This work contains examples of:
- Badass: The SEALs are.
- Bedouin Rescue Service: Pashtun, in this case.
- Being Good Sucks: Luttrel directly attributes the everything-went-to-hell events of the novel to the team's decision to let some goatherders live.
- Blatant Lies: That's right, the seven-foot tall, mortally wounded Texan with the satanic-looking tattoo who fell into your village directly after that horrific gunfight, wearing a uniform with a Liefeldian number of pockets, carrying an M1A and enough computer technology to launch the space shuttle is from...wait for it...Doctors Without Borders. It's implied that the villagers knew Luttrel was full of shit but let it slide since they'd already decided to save him anyway.
- Blue and Orange Morality: Luttrel has no idea why the villagers are so hell-bent on defending him against the Taliban, and simply comes to accept that their motivations as different from his own, without really understanding. His explanations in the text are actually post-facto intelligence from cultural experts.
- Combat Pragmatist: Well, this is Real Life.
- Elites Are More Glamorous: Zigzagged, but ultimately played straight. Luttrel's account of the indignities of BUDS just makes it that much cooler in the end.
- Everything Is Big in Texas: Has Luttrel mentioned he's from Texas today? Because he's from Texas.
- Friendly Sniper: Well, they are friendly to each other, anyway.
- From Bad to Worse
- Heroic BSOD: Luttrel has one. Justified since he's just seen his three teammates die in a hail of gunfire, he's been shot, battered and blown up, and now he's stuffed in a hole while his enemies scour the countryside for him and he's slowly dying of thirst. Since the ordeal he's suffered from PTSD and insomnia.
- Heroic Sacrifice: LT Michael Murphy was awarded the Medal of Honor for the action described in the book. Posthumously.
- Honor Before Reason: It's kind of the Pashtun Hat. See The Other Wiki entry on Pashtunwali.
- I Gave My Word: Closely related to Sacred Hospitality. Once the village offered Luttrel asylum, they were honor-bound to defend him to the last man. As Luttrel points out, the members of the Taliban that sought to kill him were likely Pashtun themselves, possibly originally from that very village, and relatives of his protectors.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Four men held off AN ARMY. For a while.
- Mighty Whitey: Averted. The rural, and supposedly unsophisticated village, is already supplied with a full-fledged doctor and plenty capable of defending itself. Luttrel's considerable martial and medical skills are entirely redundant.
- More Dakka: The Taliban bring it, in the form of long lost Kalashnikovs and cold-war era artillery.
- Ninja: If the SEALs aren't, nobody is.
- Not So Different: Despite the rampant Values Dissonance, the Navy SEAL is impressed by the villager's honor, courage and commitment. That's a pretty big deal.
- No Woman's Land: The only women who appear in the story are Luttrel's mother and the widows of SEAL Team 10. If he ever saw a Pashtun woman, he doesn't mention it.
- Pet the Dog: Subverted, when the "dog" isn't interested. The SEALs try to offer an Afghan boy an MRE, but the boy just glares at them and ignores the offering.
- Sacred Hospitality: Most cultures of the Middle East take hospitality very seriously, but the Pashtun take it Up to Eleven.