Just three months after the raid by Navy SEAL Team VI that killed Osama bin Laden, those same SEALs were in the news yet again–but for an entirely different reason.
On August 6, 2011, while on their way to assist an ongoing mission in Wardak Province, Afghanistan, the CH-47D Chinook helicopter that they were riding in was shot down by an RPG fired by a Taliban fire team approaching their landing zone in Tangi Valley. All 38 American and Afghan service members who were aboard perished, including 17 Navy SEALS, 5 Navy Special Operations support personnel, 3 Air Force Special Tactics Airmen and the five-man Chinook crew, marking the largest loss of life in America’s 11 years of military operations in Afghanistan. Twenty of the twenty-two SEALs and SEAL support were from SEAL Team VI (DEVGRU).
The parents of one of the SEALs killed in the Chinook attack, Special Operations Chief Aaron Vaughn, are raising questions about how the Obama administration has pushed the limits of the military’s Special Operations Forces as part of its war policy (e.g. the Feb. 20th Newsweek story, “Obama’s Secret Army”), and how constrictive “rules of engagement” intended to win the “hearts and minds” of the Afghan people directly contributed to the deaths of all those aboard the helicopter.