Remembering the SEALs of August 6
Yesterday, we celebrated American success in many ways, from the Olympic Games in London to landing an unmanned rover on Mars. But we also marked a more solemn occasion: the first anniversary of the death of 38 brave men and women in a military helicopter that was shot down in Afghanistan August 6, 2011. The troops were part of a quick reaction team heading to reinforce an engaged unit of Army Rangers.
The resulting crash killed 25 American special operations personnel, five U.S. Army National Guard and Army Reserve crewmen, seven Afghani commands and one Afghan interpreter, plus a U.S. military dog. Their deaths are the greatest single loss ever suffered by the U.S. special operations community in the 24-year history of the command, wiping out one entire unit out of the three that make up the elite SEAL Team Six’s premier squadron.
That SEAL team is still deployed in Afghanistan, including one Baltimore native who lost his best friend and many of his team members in that crash. His family recently visited their graves at Arlington National Cemetery and plan to go each year to honor the memories of these heroes. Unlike our Olympic heroes, these men and women are anonymous, with their most dangerous work conducted at night, in the middle of desert and never making the headlines unless tragedy strikes.
Let’s take time to remember those we have lost, and those we will lose in the future, who are fighting on the frontlines so that those of us at home have the luxury of enjoying our final weeks of summer in peace.