Today is Veterans Day, and Megyn paid tribute to all those in the United States military who served, fought, and sacrificed for the freedoms we enjoy today. “Over the last two years on this show, we have had the privilege of profiling some of our nation’s most heroic veterans,” Megyn shared. “When people ask me, ‘What’s your favorite interview?’ Those are the ones that come to mind.”
Megyn saw no better way to commemorate the day than by revisiting the “incredible in-depth discussions about the battles they fought” both abroad and at home. On Friday’s program, she highlighted some of the most touching and memorable parts of her interviews with veterans including retired Navy SEALs Rob O’Neill, Jocko Willink, and brothers Marcus and Morgan Luttrell and retired Marine Dakota Meyer.
Retired Navy SEAL Rob O’Neill
Back in May 2021 when The Megyn Kelly Show was an audio-only podcast, Megyn interviewed Rob O’Neill, the U.S. Navy SEAL who shot Osama bin Laden. In episode 109, he shared a chilling story about the conversation he and his teammates had before embarking on that historic mission.
As they prepared to leave, O’Neill said someone raised a question. “One of my guys said – because we accepted death, we’re gonna die – he said, ‘Don’t take this the wrong way because I’m 100 percent going… I just need to say it out loud: If we know we’re going to die, why are we going,’” he recalled.
That led to a powerful conversation amongst the group:
“We said, ‘Okay, well, we’re not going after bin Laden for the fame or the reward or the bravado. We are going after Osama bin Laden for the single mom who dropped her kids off at elementary school on a Tuesday, and 45 minutes later she jumped to her death out of a skyscraper because that was a better alternative than whatever the hell was going on inside at 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit. And her last gesture of human decency was holding her skirt as she jumped out of a building and murdered herself. She was never supposed to be in the fight. We’re supposed to be in the fight. That’s why we’re going.’”– Retired Navy SEAL Rob O’Neill
A year and a half after first hearing it, Megyn said she still can’t listen to that story without getting chills. “Robert O’Neill, we salute you and your many sacrifices for our country,” she added.
Retired Marine Dakota Meyer
This past Memorial Day (episode 331), Megyn welcomed Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer on the program. While serving in Afghanistan in 2009, Meyer and his team were ambushed by more than 50 Taliban fighters. Over the course of the six hour battle, he defied military orders and repeatedly re-entered the battleground to rescue those who were trapped and wounded.
Meyer is credited with saving the lives of 36 U.S. and Afghan troops that day, but many more didn’t make it. The late Gunnery Sergeant Edwin (“Gunny J”) Johnson was one of the men Meyer went back for. “Gunny was the biggest one, and I picked him up, threw him over my shoulders, and I started to carry him out,” Meyer recalled. “It was like every bit of energy I had left, and I fell flat on my face.”
He got back up with tears in his eyes and saw Afghan allies around him. “They’re going to grab the guys, and I was kind of upset,” he said. “I kind of got mad at them and said, ‘Hey, don’t don’t touch my guys… I’ll take them home.’” It was Meyer’s interpreter, Fazel, who helped him understand the gravity of the situation for all of those involved. “He said, ‘The Afghans want to help you get your guys out because they just watched you help get their guys out,’” he recalled. “For me, it was like a monumental moment in my life – it’s not us against them; it’s just good against bad.”
After listening to the interview once again, Megyn’s had but one thought. “We thank you so much, Dakota, for your service,” she said. “The world is better because of men like that.”
Retired Navy SEAL Jocko Willink
In March 2021 (episode 77), Megyn was joined by retired Navy SEAL Jocko Willink, who led the most highly decorated Special Operations unit of the Iraq War. As Willink told Megyn, his leadership and resolve were tested on occasion, and he shared the tragic story of a mission that went wrong that led to a hard-earned lesson in accountability.
Willink explained an “absolute nightmare” situation in which his soldiers ended up in a firefight with friendly Iraqi forces. One of the Iraqi troops was killed and others were injured – including his own men. “It was only by the grace of God that none of my guys were killed,” he said.
In the aftermath of the incident, Willink recalled not “feeling comfortable” assigning blame. “I just was trying to figure out… should I blame this guy? Should I blame this other guy,” he said. “And as I’m sitting there, I realized – like a bolt of lightning hit me – that the reason I couldn’t figure out who to blame was because there was only one person to blame.” That person was himself. “I’m the overall guy in charge, and I’m responsible for what happens,” he shared. “So, I went in there and took ownership of the entire incident.”
While this was not the first time Willink had encountered the notion of “extreme ownership,” it was the moment that really crystalized what it meant. “This is not the first time that I ever had this idea… this is how I was brought up in the SEAL teams and really this is how I was brought up as a human,” he said. “When something goes wrong, you don’t blame other people; you take ownership.”
Stories like this make you realize that these servicemen are “cut from a different cloth,” Megyn said. “Thank you for your service, Jocko Willink.”
Retired Navy SEALs Marcus and Morgan Luttrell
Finally, Megyn revisited her August 2021 (episode 149) conversation with twin brothers and retired Navy SEALs Marcus and Morgan Luttrell. On a mission to kill or capture a high-ranking Taliban terrorist in 2005, there was an ambush. Marcus was the only survivor of the attack, and it took six days for the military to find and rescue him. While Marcus wrote about his experience in the bestselling book Lone Survivor, his family back home also went through a roller coaster of emotions during that six-day span. Morgan opened up about what it was like for him when he found out that Marcus had been rescued.
As Morgan explained, there were some 40 SEALs out looking for Marcus and his team when he was found. Morgan and his family piled “shoulder to shoulder” into his father’s “little bitty” bedroom when the phone rang. At first, they feared the worst because his dad answered “yes, sir,” “roger that,” and “understood” as he hung his head on the phone. “Everybody was crying around,” he recalled. “I’m sitting there staring at him.” But then the literal thumbs up came that Marcus was okay.
Soon after, someone went outside to alert the crowd that had gathered that Marcus was found. “I mean, it sounded like the Super Bowl,” Morgan said. But even amidst the joy there was still pain. “All my friends and family were celebrating the fact that they found my brother,” he shared. “But all the SEALs, Marines, Army, and everybody that started to come out and spend time with us, we were still very stoic because we’re down men.” Marcus was, after all, the lone survivor.
In the end, the three other SEALs Marcus was on the mission with were killed. “So, in addition to honoring Marcus and Morgan Latrell today,” Megyn concluded, “we also salute Lieutenant Michael Murphy and Petty Officers Danny Dietz and Matt Axelson.”
You can check out the full show by tuning in to episode 433 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.