Helicopter Crash in Afghanistan Kills Members of SEAL Team 6
One source says the team was thought to include 22 SEALs, 3 Air Force air controllers, 7 Afghan Army troops, a dog and his handler, and a civilian interpreter, plus the helicopter crew.
The Taliban claimed they downed the helicopter with rocket fire while it was taking part in a raid on a house where insurgents were gathered in the province of Wardak late Friday. It said wreckage of the craft was strewn at the scene. A senior U.S. administration official in Washington said the craft was apparently shot down by insurgents. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the crash is still being investigated.
The sources thought this was the largest single loss of life ever for SEAL Team Six, known as the Naval Special Warfare Development Group.
The death toll would surpass the worst single day loss of life for the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan since the war began in 2001 — the June 28, 2005 downing of a military helicopter in eastern Kunar province. In that incident, 16 Navy SEALs and Army special operations troops were killed when their craft was shot down while on a mission to rescue 4 SEALs under attack by the Taliban. Three of the SEALs being rescued were also killed and the fourth wounded. It was the highest one-day death toll for the Navy Special Warfare personnel since World War II.
“Their courage was exemplary, as was their determination to make this a safer world for their countries and for their fellow citizens,” Panetta said in a statement. “We will stay the course to complete that mission, for which they and all who have served and lost their lives in Afghanistan have made the ultimate sacrifice. They and their families are in my thoughts, in my prayers and in my heart.”
Please say a prayer for these brave souls and their families. May God watch over them and all of our soldiers.