SEAL Team Six warrior found ‘10,000 Reasons’ to overcome PTSD


By Benjamin Lahood –

After he saw his comrade killed when a concrete slab fell from the detonation of 50 lbs. of high explosives, Eddie Penney went on a killing rampage in Iraq. While he satiated his lust for revenge, nothing could bring relief to the horrors in his brain.

“I never thought I could be forgiven,” Eddie says on a YouTube video. “I’ve done things that most people don’t even dream of from booze to women to pills to killing with knives, guns, grenades, explosives – anything and everything, all of it. There was no way God could forgive me.”

A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, the high school athlete joined the military to seek adventure. When the Marines didn’t provide him with as much action as he wanted, Eddie Penney switched to the Navy and trained for the fabled SEALs.

During the six months of grueling BUD/S training, terrorists hijacked commercial airliners and flew them into New York City’s iconic Twin Towers, killing 2,606 civilians in an unprovoked and unannounced act of war.

Suddenly, the beatdown of intense training took on heightened importance with the sobering realization they would be sent into harm’s way immediately after graduation.

In all, Eddie spent 20 years in the military. But the worst scenes came as a SEAL in Iraq. After two deployments with Team 2, he applied for the elite Team 6. Because his greatest fear was missing the fight, he volunteered for breacher, the first guy in. He relished danger and close-range combat, completing five more deployments including Africa and Afghanistan.

But the loss of his friend came earlier, in 2008. Then a Marine, Eddie ordered a buddy into a position as they closed in on a target house. Suddenly, a voice told him to “get out.” Instinctively, he backed up moments before a massive explosion demolished the building. The insurgents lurking inside had committed suicide rather than be taken captive.

The second story collapsed. Tragically, his buddy died, crushed by a ton of concrete.

Eddie felt an unbearable weight of guilt. He vowed revenge. He got in the SEALs.

He became a killing machine. He tattooed on his leg 87 skulls, the number of kills in his unit. But as he killed insurgents, more and more of his buddies also died.

The problem of dealing with fanatical Muslim terrorists is their ruthless brutality, their gleeful savagery can wear off on you if you have not moral framework to resist. Like Kurtz in the Heart of Darkness, you become like the evil enveloping you. The SEALS have been  criticized for relishing “bleed outs” and splitting jihadists’ skulls with hatchets.

The PTSD made him reserved and unavailable for his wife and children. For every skull on his leg, there were many more scars on his heart.

After years of constant combat, Eddie unexpectedly became a single dad. His wife was gone. He had to be flown back to America and deal singlehandedly with an 8-month-old, a 4-year-old and a 9-year-old. He had never changed a diaper in his life.

Used to zealously fighting insurgents, Eddie now found himself zealously fighting runny noses, homework assignments and getting the kids to school on time. The family court judge had awarded him custody. His military career went on hold.

After some time, he stabilized his family situation and returned to the military.

During his last deployment, this time in Afghanistan, Eddie again saw tragedy. A Chinook helicopter was shot down by an RPG, killing all 38 on board. It was the worst disaster of special operations history. Among the dead: 15 SEALs from Eddie’s squadron, friends, husbands, fathers.

“The emotional toll was immeasurable,” Eddie says.

His thirst for revenge could never be satiated. There would never be an end to the killing. There would never be an end to the nightmares.

Eddie’s very existence became dark.

If previously he looked to killing to compensate for the emotional pain of seeing comrades die, now he turned to drinking, taking drugs, womanizing and porn to anesthetize his heart.

As was to be expected, these “solutions” only worsened the problems.

Wounded by stress and grief, Eddie got invited to a church camp. He was profoundly skeptical. He was also profoundly desperate.

He attended on a whim. He had nothing to lose. He was a bad husband and father already.

The church camp changed his life. With all the men sitting around a campfire that night, the pastor passed out post-it sticky notes. He asked the men to write down anything and everything they wanted out of their lives.

I need a whole legal pad, thought a distraught Eddie.

His eyes were watering. But was also skeptical. How could burning a post-it note in a campfire change his life?

“I wanted my drinking to go away,” he says. “I wanted my anger to go away. I wanted direction on how to be a good father. I didn’t want to be a slave to watching porn on the frickin’ internet. I wanted to be there for my family. I wanted peace in my brain from the stuff we went through overseas. I wanted clarity on my future.”

As the meeting was ending, a young man half his size came up to him and asked to pray for him. Eddie was impressed that the youngster wasn’t intimidated by his tattoos, his fearsome appearance and threatening physique.

“I’ve seen many a man intimidated,” he says.

He let him pray.

“I lost it,” Eddie remembers. “It was starting to make sense. I talked to him for two hours.”

The next morning was Sunday, and the men held service. Matt Redman’s “10,000 Reasons” was played during worship.

“For some reason, that beat, the words of that song, rocked my body,” Eddie recalls. “It was different. Something changed. I felt different. I started to smile. That weekend changed my life.”

Today, Eddie has founded Unafraid, a group to help support and encourage men in their struggles, and gives “warrior mindset” speeches to inspire them in their journey.

If you want to know more about a personal relationship with God, go here

About the writer of this article: Benjamin Lahood studies at Lighthouse Christian Academy near Mar Vista neighborhood of Los Angeles. You can find his gym content on YouTube, TikTok and Instagram at Graham.Lahood.

Other articles about Navy SEALs: Remi Adeleke, David Goggins, Jason Redman, Chad Williams and Army Rangers: Dave Eubank, Jeff Streucker and Tim Moynihan.


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