Profiles of Valor: Mike Day
He survived being shot 27 times but lost his battle with PTSD…
Senior Chief Petty Officer Douglas “Mike” Day, a 21-year Navy veteran, has an epic record among SEALs, for which he was awarded, among other medals, a Silver Star “for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy.” The part of his epic record that is public involved kinetic action with enemy combatants on April 6, 2007, in Anbar Province as he was nearing the end of his deployment in Iraq.
With two Iraqi scouts behind him, Day breached the door of a room and was immediately struck with multiple bullets, knocking his rifle out of his hands. “I took a left-hand turn and they just started shooting at me,” Day recounted. Falling to the ground, Day transitioned to his pistol and shot one of the four terrorists in the room. As a second man pulled the pin on a grenade and began running towards the hallway, Day killed him as well. The grenade fell to the ground and detonated, wounding Day with the shrapnel. He briefly lost consciousness, but when he awoke he continued engaging the other men in the room, shooting them with his pistol even as he was struck yet again multiple times from less than 10 feet away with AK-47 fire. “After I realized that I actually was getting shot, my second thought was, ‘God get me home to my girls,’ and then extreme anger. Then I just went to work. It was muscle memory. I just did what I was trained to do.”
Though improbable, Day was still alive, directing several Iraqi scouts to guard a group of women and children who had been found in the building, and using the radio of fellow SEAL Joseph “Clark” Schwedler — who was killed during the raid — to make contact with the rest of his team. It was only then that Day realized the extent of his injuries. Sixteen bullets had torn through his abdomen, arms, legs, groin, and buttocks. Another 11 had been stopped by his body armor. “I didn’t even know how bad I was hurting until they came in and I saw the looks on their faces.”
Day was soon evacuated from the battlefield, first to Baghdad, then to Landstuhl, Germany, and eventually to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, walking to the MEDEVAC helicopter without assistance. “I wasn’t being macho, but I was afraid if they picked me up, it would just hurt more.”
After his retirement, Mike suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and received ongoing treatment at Carrick Brain Centers in Dallas. He devoted a lot of time to his fellow warriors, spending seven years as a wounded warrior advocate with U.S. Special Operations Command, which he details in his 2020 book, Perfectly Wounded. He said: “When you go through something together, or similar, it’s a bond, even if you didn’t do it together.”
In the end, Mike survived being shot 27 times but lost his battle with PTSD.
Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Pro Deo et Libertate — 1776
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- Profiles of Valor
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