It wasn’t that long ago that I watched Lone Survivor, and I had no idea about the relationship that former Texas Governor Rick Perry forged with Marcus Luttrell. Luttrell was the lone survivor of a U.S. Navy SEAL reconnaissance team that was ambushed during their mission that was part of Operation Red Wings in June, 2005 in Afghanistan.
The Washington Post recounts the story:
Before he became immortalized as the “Lone Survivor,” a Navy SEAL who escaped a 2005 Taliban ambush on a mountain slope in Afghanistan, Marcus Luttrell was a broken man in search of a haven.
He found it one day in spring 2007 when, struggling to recover his body and mind and with the horrors of war still raw, he showed up unannounced at the Texas governor’s mansion and asked to see Rick Perry.
Over the ensuing months, a virtual father-son relationship blossomed, the two men said. The governor and his wife, Anita, helped bring Luttrell back to health. Perry used the power of his office to find Luttrell a spine surgeon to fix his back. The Perrys gave him a spare bedroom — “I was the creepy guy in the attic,” Luttrell recalled. The governor took him bass fishing, the first lady counseled him about his love life, and as Luttrell became famous — first with a best-selling memoir, “Lone Survivor,” and later in the movie adaptation — they were his rock.
“When I came into the Perry family, it was one of those deals where it was the only family I had,” said Luttrell, who was born in Houston and grew up in Texas near the Oklahoma border. “I didn’t have that father figure growing up like that, somebody who genuinely cared about me. . . .Governor Perry taught me how to be a good man.”
RickPAC released a video yesterday that highlights their relationship:
Perry is only one of two prospective candidates who have served in the military. Perry was an Air Force pilot. U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who still serves with the U.S. Air Force Reserves after being on active duty for six years.
Obviously, the case both men will make is that their military service better equips them to be Commander-in-Chief. Perry, as governor of Texas, was also Commander-in-Chief of the Texas National Guard.
This story, which has become public in a wider sense this week, does elevate the respect I have for Governor Perry. This reminds me of the care and concern Perry’s predecessor in Austin, President George W. Bush, showed the troops when he was in the White House. That was something I always admired about the former President, even when he implemented policies and signed some bills I disagreed with. That same respect for the troops is something that has been missing for the last six years.