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United States Navy file photo of Navy SEALs operating in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. From left to right, Sonar Technician (Surface) 2nd Class Matthew G. Axelson, of Cupertino, Calif; Senior Chief Information Systems Technician Daniel R. Healy, of Exeter, N.H.; Quartermaster 2nd Class James Suh, of Deerfield Beach, Fla.; Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Marcus Luttrell; Machinist�s Mate 2nd Class Eric S. Patton, of Boulder City, Nev.; and Lt. Michael P. Murphy, of Patchogue, N.Y. With the exception of Luttrell, all were killed June 28, 2005, by enemy forces while supporting Operation Redwing. photo : US Navy (released)
Navy SEALs -
On June 28, 2005, a 4-man SEAL patrol was on a mission in the Kunar Province, Afghanistan to kill or capture a high ranking Taliban leader, thought to be close to Osama Bin Landen. The SEAL's quarry was believed to be holed up in a village near Asadabad, close to the border with Pakistan, protected by over a hundred fanatical Taliban fighters. The SEALs planned to establish a observation post (OP) high up on the slopes of a mountain that overlooked the village. They would confirm the presence of their target, gather intelligence on the Taliban forces in and around the village. If they had the opportunity they would take out their target with a sniper shot. Kunar Province, Afghanistan (google earth kmz file) Under the cover of night, the 4-man SEAL was inserted high up in the mountains by a MH-47 flown by the Army's elite 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. The team consisted of 3 petty officers, Matthew Axelson, Danny Dietz and Marcus Luttrell and was led by Lt. Michael P. Murphy. This recon team were from Alfa platoon, SDV Team 1, seconded to SEAL Team 10, who were operating out of Bagram airbase. The SEALs had been on a number of previous operations in the Hindu Kush mountains. Taliban and Al Qaeda forces regularly sought refuge in these almost impassible mountain ranges and the SEALs had been sent in to hunt them down. Bagram Airbase (google earth kmz file) | Hindu Kush Mountains (google earth kmz file) On this mission the SEALs carried spotting scopes and cameras with telephoto lenses, secure communications gear, claymores, at least one cell phone and a couple of days worth of food and water. 2 of the SEALs carried the MK12 Sniper Rifle. They all carried plenty of ammunition. Moving slowly over the difficult, barren terrain, the SEALs eventually found a spot that would give them a good view down onto the village. There was very little cover on the side of the mountain but the SEALs hid the best they could. Sometime after sun up, the SEALs were discovered by a small group of goat herders who had walked right into the OP. The SEALs were now faced with a dilemma: do they execute the goat herders or let them go? In decision that would haunt the mission's sole survivor, the SEALs decided to let the goat herders go, knowing full well there was a good chance they would alert local Taliban forces to the SEAL's presence on the mountain. In an attempt to stay ahead of the Taliban, the SEALs switched to an alternate OP and resumed their mission. A few hours later, they were approached by a large force of Taliban fighters. Surrounded left, right and forward, with a sheer drop down the mountainside behind them, the SEALs had no option but to try and fight their way out and so they opened fire. A fierce and prolonged firefight ensued. The SEALs were unable to raise their HQ on their radio so were unable to call for backup. With more Taliban coming at them, the SEALs made a series of fighting withdrawals, moving down the dangerously steep mountain walls, pursued all the while by the relentless Taliban fighters. All but one SEAL was unwounded by Taliban gunfire. Their situation was getting desperate. They still had no comms with their base and the Taliban kept on coming, no matter how many the SEALs felled. In a selfless act, the team leader, Lt. Michael P. Murphy, took out his cell phone and moved out into the open in order to get a connection to the HQ. Exposed, Murphy was gunned down by the Taliban but not before he was able to send out a brief distress call. Forced to retreat further still, disaster again hit the SEALs as petty officers Matthew Axelson and Danny Dietz were both killed in action. The sole surviving SEAL, petty officer Marcus Luttrell fended off his pursuers while trying to get to safety. Meanwhile, a rescue force of SEALs had loaded into a MH-47 Chinook helicopter at a QRF base established at Asadabad and were now flying into the area in a bid to rescue their brothers. Unfortunately the Taliban were ready for them and as the huge helicopter came into a hover over the SEAL's planned insertion point, a RPG was fired straight through the Chinook's open rear ramp. The rocket struck the internal fuel tanks and the helicopter exploded and crashed in a ball of flame. 8 SEALs and 8 Night Stalkers were killed. The only upside of this tragedy was that it had diverted many of the Taliban pursuing the original SEAL team away to engage it. As both other US helicopters and the Taliban searched for him, Luttrell, himself now wounded, moved slowly down the mountain. Having lost his backpack, which included his water, in the initial contact, Luttrell was dangerously dehydrated. He eventually eluded his hunters after taking out a Taliban sniper and spotter team. Luttrell had traveled over 7 miles away from the site of the initial contact when he was discovered by locals from a nearby Pashtun village. After some deliberation, the village elders decided to give Luttrell shelter, hiding him from the Taliban, a move that put everyone in the village at great risk of reprisal. Over the coming days, Luttrell was given food and medical aid by the villagers. He was eventually able to make contact with a force of Green Berets and Rangers who had been looking for him, who called in choppers to take them all home. The bodies of Luttrell's team mates were also recovered. Luttrell was eventually awarded the Navy Cross for his courageous actions during Operation Redwing. His fallen brothers in arms were also honored. Matthew Axelson and Danny Dietz were posthumously awarded the Navy Cross whilst Lt. Michael P. Murphy was awarded the Medal of Honor, the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government, for his selfless act on that mountainside.
Greg Marra – Chris Kyle Sculpture
Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, the two heroes from the Benghazi attack to whom many owe their lives, will be honored in a monument created by their fellow US military combat veterans. Doherty and Woods selflessly gave their lives on September 11, 2012 knowing that there would be no reinforcements. They sacrificed their lives in service to their nation. Honoring them is both fitting and proper.
Artist’s rendering of the Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods Memorial Statue courtesy of VeteransArt.org. For a larger view click on the image.
This idea of combat veterans honoring their fallen brothers in arms via the fine arts is something new and unique. It helps honor the fallen while providing meaningful and creative jobs for former combat veterans.
Veterans from VeteranArt.org under the guidance of renowned sculptor Greg Marra, who made and donated the Chris Kyle statue, are doing just that, honoring these two men in everlasting bronze; these two warriors immortalized the warrior spirit and military ethos—it is only fitting these two brothers in arms, close in life and death, be immortalized together in bronze for eternity, by their fellow combat veterans.
Mr. Woods said “Thank you for honoring my son in a bronze statue.” Kate Doherty Glenns sister stated, “ she wishes us success and luck in the process, that she is so pleased the statue will help veterans.
VeteranArt.Org received the final graces they needed to start a statue of Tyrone Woods and Glenn Doherty.
Greg Marra, founder of VeteranArt.org, has enlisted the help of local Sarasota veterans, like Jason Collins, Army Military Intelligence and Michael Scelia former US Army forward observer, for the project. Mr. Marra has a pool of veteran talent, and he can hire more veterans as he is commissioned to do other projects. Marra is training US military veterans to represent themselves in the memorial process. Marra stated “Warriors honoring warriors in bronze for eternity is my life long mission.”
Marra, who sculpted the Chris Kyle Memorial Statue, has started the sculpting process and hired veterans to help sculpt this fitting tribute of these two warriors. “I’ve run into more vets daily that wanted to pursue art and that understood the power of art than I would ever fathom; empowering them with fine arts training, and encouraging themselves as gallant warriors instead of victims is god’s work.” What a better tribute then to have brothers in arms, immortalize two of their own who made the ultimate sacrifice protecting life.
Jason Collins and Mike Scelia veteran artists have a pet name for the statue “Dueling machine guns, which they feel fits the statue because of its heavy guns and all the casings which lay at Tyrone’s and Glenn’s feet. They added that, “Veteran art is an amazing concept and gratitude is an understatement toward how we feel about Mr. Marra, his actions show that people actually care about us, and our service to this nation.”
Veteran Art/Sculpting Our Heroes is in need of donations to make this fitting tribute a reality. The cost of this memorial, fair market value, would be $85,000 total for two life-size statues to the bronze stage. More funding might be required to get these statues bronzed. These statues will employ up to four veterans, full time—Mr. Marra is donating his time and expertise as a thank you gesture to all veterans.
This is a groundbreaking organization. No other veteran organization has a renowned artist opening his studio-for free, donating his time and services, and paying veterans to come and learn how to sculpt without taking any money for himself-only for supplies; while simultaneously—those veterans are making memorials to other veterans who have died heroically serving or helping their own countrymen and women.
Donations can be made at: SculptingOurHeroes.com or by calling the Veteran Art studio at (941) 993-1772 or cell (267) 885-9203 or via email: email@example.com. NOTE: Donations are not tax deductible.