Retired Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, of the book and film "Lone Survivor," has good memories of the Afghan people.
"Lone Survivor" speaker
What: "Lone Survivor" ex-Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell and the Patriot Tour 2014
When: March 15; 7:30 p.m.
Where: North Charleston Performing Arts Center
Show: The Patriot Tour is billed as the live sequel to the movie/book. The evening includes stories told by Luttrell and other members of the military.
Tickets: Through Ticketmaster. Prices range from $73 and up, depending on section.
But he doesn't see the country becoming a peaceful place for American service people to visit any time soon.
"I don't know about Afghanistan, bro," he said in a phone interview Wednesday. "Things don't change there, they just don't. It's not like one day there are going to be Americans there skiing down a mountain."
He added, "It hasn't changed in 1,000 years. I don't think it's going to change in my lifetime. They are pretty content the way things are."
Luttrell, 38, still wants Americans to know what he went through there, and of the sacrifices made by the other members of his SEAL team.
Luttrell, of Texas, is conducting national media interviews this week as part of his "Patriot Tour 2014." He and other members of the military are scheduled to speak about their experiences March 15 at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center. Their appearance will focus on their real-life adversities and how hurdles were overcome.
Luttrell's story already has been widely told by way of his 2007 book and most recently in a film by the same name staring Mark Wahlberg. In June 2005, Luttrell and three other SEALs were sent to kill or capture a ranking Taliban leader in the Hindu Kush mountains. Soon the mission went awry, and his three companions were killed.
Luttrell survived, but had to endure multiple gunshot wounds, a steep mountain fall and a desperate combination walk-and-crawl of seven miles. He survived after gaining the protection of an Afghan villager who followed the strict cultural norm of defending a visitor.
"Overall, the Afghan people are great," Luttrell said Wednesday. "They are wonderful people. They are peaceful, humble people. They love their families and love life, just like Americans."
The idea for the tour surfaced after Luttrell and his buddies were talking about their experiences. The idea of sharing those tales with the civilian world soon followed. "I talk about quite of bit of stuff that wasn't in the book or the movie," Luttrell said.
Part of his message in the tour details the sacrifice made by the military. He currently serves as chairman of the board of the Lone Survivor Foundation, which provides educational, rehabilitation, recovery and wellness opportunities to Armed Forces members and their families.
Luttrell said his message is to treat those vets "like regular people; they aren't any different."
He added, "They did pay the ultimate sacrifice. They did earn the right to have a hand up."
Locally around Charleston, Luttrell said he has loosely followed the story of the Pentagon's investigation of 30 or more senior sailors in connection with an alleged cheating scandal. The probe covers tests meant to qualify them as instructors at the Navy Nuclear Power Training Command in Goose Creek. The school trains younger sailors to operate naval nuclear power reactors of the type that are used in propulsion systems for submarines and aircraft carriers.
Luttrell said he was a little stunned when he saw the story of the investigation flash across his TV.
"When you're dealing with 'nukes,'" he said, there isn't room for cutting corners. "That one got my attention."
Luttrell has been to South Carolina before, he said, including to the NASCAR racetrack at Darlington.
Reach Schuyler Kropf at 937-5551