U.S. Navy SEAL Douglas “Mike” Day, who was shot 27 times while deployed in Iraq and survived, passed away on March 27.
According to Task & Purpose, Day became an author and wounded-veterans advocate after serving in the U.S. Navy for over two decades.
About three years before his death, Day told the Team Never Quit podcast about his 2007 deployment in the Anbar province of Iraq. On April 6, Day lead his SEAL platoon on a raid in Fallujah.
During the raid, four al Qaeda forces opened fire, striking Day multiple times.
“I took a left-hand turn and they just started shooting at me,” Day said.
From the ground, Day drew his pistol and shot one of the terrorists before taking out another terrorist who was charging at him with a grenade. Day was wounded by the grenade and was knocked unconscious for a moment.
When he woke up, the fight continued and he was hit with several more bullets fired from an AK-47 less than 10 feet away.
“After I realized that I actually was getting shot, my second thought was, ‘God get me home to my girls,’ and then extreme anger,” Day previously said. “Then I just went to work. It was muscle memory. I just did what I was trained to do.”
Miraculously, Day survived after sixteen bullets penetrated his abdomen, arms, legs, groin and buttocks. Eleven other bullets were stopped by his armor.
“I didn’t even know how bad I was hurting until [the other SEALs] came in and I saw the looks on their faces,” Day told Coffee or Die Magazine. “We all know that look.”
Day was evacuated from Fallujah and transported to Baghdad, then Germany, and finally Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
After being shot 27 times, Day walked to the MEDEVAC helicopter unassisted.
“I wasn’t being macho, but I was afraid if they picked me up, it would just hurt more,” Day recalled.
Day was later awarded the Navy Cross, two Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart.
“When you go through something together, or similar, it’s a bond, even if you didn’t do it together,” Day told Coffee or Die Magazine. “The resiliency that’s built into people after they go through trauma is incredible.”