We apologize for our poor sound quality and are working to correct it.-Ed

On August 6 2011, sometime between 0230 and 0300 hours, a US Army Chinook named with the call sign Extortion 17 (one-seven) crashed in the Tangi Valley of Wardak Province in Afghanistan.  Taking part in a multi-faceted mission, all of the occupants, consisting of US Army aircrew, US Navy Special Operations, EOD and Intelligence personnel, and US Air Force CCT’s and Special Operations airmen, along with a US military working dog and Afghan commandos, were killed.  30 US and 8 Afghan servicemen KIA.

The incident is an undisputed fact of heroic loss of life of those who answered their nation calling without question.  Unfortunately what also is an undisputed fact, is that the investigation into the crash produced very few answers thought by families of the fallen, and was evidenced by misleading priorities of political correctness, lack of leadership, and bureaucratic process over honorable transparency and professionalism at the time when our military and our country so desperately required them.  Much like the Benghazi outcomes, the allegations of cover-up have not been disproven.

While discussions on details of the incident continue in circles of professionals and patriots, earlier this year a retired US Air Force Captain Joni Marquez came forward with information she held onto for years.  Her experience is that of a fire control officer of a C130 gunship, orbiting the combat area at the time.  While people may ask questions about Captain Marquez’ perspective, we wanted to go straight to the source.  There is no question that to her, the only present mission is to honor the lives lost and provide an honest overview of what she saw that morning.

The Department of Defense released the names of the individuals killed shortly after the incident.

Here are the names of the following sailors assigned to an East Coast-based Naval Special Warfare unit that fell:

Lt. Cmdr. (SEAL) Jonas B. Kelsall, 32, of Shreveport, La.,

Special Warfare Operator Master Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Louis J. Langlais, 44, of Santa Barbara, Calif.,

Special Warfare Operator Senior Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Thomas A. Ratzlaff, 34, of Green Forest, Ark.,

Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician Senior Chief Petty Officer (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist/Freefall Parachutist) Kraig M. Vickers 36, of Kokomo, Hawaii,

Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Brian R. Bill, 31, of Stamford, Conn.,

Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) John W. Faas, 31, of Minneapolis, Minn.,

Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Kevin A. Houston, 35, of West Hyannisport, Mass.,

Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Matthew D. Mason, 37, of Kansas City, Mo.,

Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Stephen M. Mills, 35, of Fort Worth, Texas,

Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician Chief Petty Officer (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist/Freefall Parachutist/Diver) Nicholas H. Null, 30, of Washington, W.Va.,

Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Robert J. Reeves, 32, of Shreveport, La.,

Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Heath M. Robinson, 34, of Detroit, Mich.,

Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Darrik C. Benson, 28, of Angwin, Calif.,

Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL/Parachutist) Christopher G. Campbell, 36, of Jacksonville, N.C.,

Information Systems Technician Petty Officer 1st Class (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist/Freefall Parachutist) Jared W. Day, 28, of Taylorsville, Utah,

Master-at-Arms Petty Officer 1st Class (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist) John Douangdara, 26, of South Sioux City, Neb.,

Cryptologist Technician (Collection) Petty Officer 1st Class (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist) Michael J. Strange, 25, of Philadelphia, Pa.,

Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL/Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist) Jon T. Tumilson, 35, of Rockford, Iowa,

Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Aaron C. Vaughn, 30, of Stuart, Fla., and

Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Jason R. Workman, 32, of Blanding, Utah.

The following sailors assigned to a West Coast-based Naval Special Warfare unit were killed:

Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Jesse D. Pittman, 27, of Ukiah, Calif., and

Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 2nd Class (SEAL) Nicholas P. Spehar, 24, of Saint Paul, Minn.

The soldiers killed were:

Chief Warrant Officer David R. Carter, 47, of Centennial, Colo. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 135th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), Aurora, Colo.;

Chief Warrant Officer Bryan J. Nichols, 31, of Hays, Kan. He was assigned to the 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), New Century, Kan.;

Sgt. Patrick D. Hamburger, 30, of Lincoln, Neb. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 135th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), Grand Island, Neb.;

Sgt. Alexander J. Bennett, 24, of Tacoma, Wash. He was assigned to the 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), New Century, Kan.; and

Spc. Spencer C. Duncan, 21, of Olathe, Kan. He was assigned to the 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), New Century, Kan.

The airmen killed were:

Tech. Sgt. John W. Brown, 33, of Tallahassee, Fla.;

Staff Sgt. Andrew W. Harvell, 26, of Long Beach, Calif.; and

Tech. Sgt. Daniel L. Zerbe, 28, of York, Pa.

All three airmen were assigned to the 24th Special Tactics Squadron, Pope Field, N.C

*The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Spotter Up Magazine, the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

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About The Author

Rob has been in public service for some 17 years, holding several specialized assignments, and becoming a law enforcement and emergency services instructor. He has 10 years in the military and currently serving as a reservist, fire team leader and medic. He enjoys learning, writing, doing grunt work, and helping other vets in need. To further that goal, they started Grunt’s BBQ and Easy Company. A future mobile chow hall, coming to an AO near you.

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