Exclusive Interview with Marcus Luttrell and Peter Berg

Justin Holcomb
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Posted: Jan 16, 2016 5:40 PM
Exclusive Interview with Marcus Luttrell and Peter Berg

In the new docu-series, "Live to Tell", Peter Berg gives the viewer a chance to listen to these special forces members as the recount their past experiences.  This Sunday's episode relives Operation Red Wing, which is the story of how special operations rescued Marcus Luttrell, the Navy SEAL who was the only to survive a violent gun battle that took place in Afghanistan.  I was able to speak with both Marcus and Peter this week.

One of the things I found most intriguing is Berg's relationship with the special forces.  They seem to open up to him about their experiences and trust him in doing so.  I asked him how that bond was forged.  

"I think it started with my relationship with Marcus and it took quite a while for him to become comfortable with me.  Once Marcus and I became more than just friends, almost like brothers in a weird way, I started meeting a lot of his colleagues and I felt like there was so many great stories you could tell.  That's kind of where "Live to Tell" came from," Berg said.  

I asked Marcus how Peter gained his trust and he said, "his attention to detail is what caught my eye.  Just the little stuff,  and that's the most important thing to us."

"He earned that, alright, we beat the dog piss out of him and treated him as if he was trying to be a 'team' guy," Marcus reiterated.  

In 2010, Peter spent an entire month embedded with a SEAL team near the Syrian border.  I asked him about his memories from that experience.

"I got to spend time and see how they operate and what they do which is very intense and dynamic.  That was all very memorable," Berg said.

"But the reality is that I don't think Iv'e ever laughed harder.  I don't think I've ever had more fun once I kind of developed real friendships.  To be around a group of guys doing what they really love is just a really pleasurable experience.  Playing dodgeball at 3 o'clock in the morning with a bunch of Navy SEALs against a bunch of Marines, and everybody is just laughing and having a great time was more memorable at the end of the day than some of the more violent and intense things that I saw."

I asked Marcus about how special forces can go from having fun and being loose to becoming violent and aggressive in a matter of seconds.  I asked him if that was something you are born with or if that was something training instilled in them.   

"I guess you are kind of born with it.  What the SEAL teams do, what our training does, is it chips away the outer that layer and shows you what you're capable of and not capable of," he said.  

I asked Peter about 'never out of the fight', which was one of the key quotes in their movie "Lone Survivor."

"You literally don't quit and action is always better than inaction.  I never give up and constant effort is something I really took from Marcus," Berg said.  

I asked Marcus about this Sunday's episode of "Live to Tell" and how it will differ from his account of what happened during Operation Red Wing.  

"Sunday is about the rescue.  Not too much has been put in about that," he said.

"The rescue was insane.  I don't know why it's taken this long.  I never say anything about it because I was the one getting rescued.  It's not my place.  I've always said thank you and I talk about the guys, what they had to go through from what I saw, from my perspective.  But hell, they made it in the village by the time I saw them.  They earned their stripes that's for sure."

I asked Marcus about his twin brother Morgan, who is also a Navy SEAL, and Marcus said that he was doing well.

"He's great man, he's in med school," Marcus told me.  "He broke his back in Afghanistan and that cost him his career.  He's in med school, married, got a kid...he's domesticated," he said with laughter.  

To end the interview, I asked Marcus who I would want in a dark alley with me if I needed help.

"You obviously haven't heard about my brother," he said.

"He has a real short fuse, and once you light it, he explodes and he's really good at what he does.  If you were in a dark alley and needed some help, you might want to have him right beside you."

Watch the second episode of "Live to Tell" on the History Channel this Sunday at 10/9c.