SIMI VALLEY, Calif. — 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 the spring of 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. “I didn’t have that father figure growing up like that, somebody who genuinely cared about me. . . . Gov. Perry taught me how to be a good man.”