Since August 2011, the one question is particularly active within U.S. Special Operations community; what really happened to Navy SEAL Team 6? So far, there were numerous theories what happened on that day, which is the worst battlefield calamity in U.S. Navy SEALs history.
On August 6, 2011, Taliban fighter shot down from the sky a Chinook helicopter with 38 persons on board, including 22 members of elite U.S. Navy SEAL Team 6. They were deployed to action in the Tangi River Valley of Afghanistan when a chopper (call sign Extortion 17) suddenly was shot down. 22 U.S. Navy SEALs, 9 U.S. military personnel and seven Afghan soldiers were killed on that day.
A year ago, before they were killed, members of U.S. Navy SEAL Team 6 had attained international prominence for one particular reason: They were responsible for the Operation Neptune Spear which resulted with the death of world’s most wanted terrorist, Al-Qaida founder, Osama bin Laden. Since then, there are claims that American heroes were betrayed by their own government. According to online reports, only a few days after the bin Laden operation, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. — in a pathetic attempt to spike the football and gloat — publicly revealed their central role in the raid.
For ordinary people, that was seen as praise for what they did, but for professionals, it meant that his revelations put a giant target on the backs of every Navy SEAL Team 6 member. A top secret unit for cover operations, whose mission is to operate in the murky shadows, was exposed as the group that eliminated al Qaeda’s chief mastermind. Mr. Biden’s reckless actions — followed by President Obama’s own words acknowledging the secret unit’s operation — jeopardized their safety. All kind of scum bags bent on revenge and began an intense manhunt. It’s the situation when situation changes and the hunters became hunted.
Upon hearing of Biden’s disclosure, Navy SEAL members were shocked. Many of them immediately contacted family members, warning them to eradicate all personal information from social-media sites. Aaron Vaughn, one of the SEALs eventually killed in the ambush, told his mother, Karen Vaughn, to delete every reference to SEAL Team 6 from her Facebook and Twitter accounts.
“I never heard Aaron this concerned and worried in his entire life,” Mrs. Vaughn said in an interview. “He called me and said, ‘Mom, you and Dad have to take everything down. Biden has just put a huge target on everybody.’”
Tragically, it looks like Aaron Vaughn was right. He probably was aware that this could become a serious security threat to team members. The cheap political points were taken on their occasion, and a highly sensitive covert operation was compromised and at the end, it cost dozens on U.S. lives.
A radio commentator on WRKO AM-680 in Boston, Jeffrey T. Kuhner, wrote for Washington times about potentially bigger scandal than Benghazi, Libya, claiming that the administration — along with the top military brass — are desperately trying to cover up what took place on August 6, 2011 when Navy SEALs were on its way to that fateful raid.
Further, he wrote about the possibility that Taliban were waiting for the Chinook helicopter as it approached its landing site. That means that there was possibility that someone tipped off that the SEALs were coming; the helicopter was attacked from three sides in a coordinated ambush. The U.S. military claimed that the helicopter was blown to pieces by a shoulder-fired missile, in which everyone on board was burned beyond recognition. Hence, senior military officials ordered the American bodies cremated without the prior approval of their family members.
Many open questions are still present that need to be answered:
- Why was the Chinook’s black box never found?
- Why was the Chinook not given aerial backup, which is standard military procedure when special forces are deployed?
- Why were the seven Afghan soldiers who boarded the Chinook at the last minute different from those on the flight manifest?
- Why were U.S. troops deployed into battle in a Chinook jalopy made in the 1960s and ordered not to fire back at Taliban snipers?
Many things were strange, from these open questions to the strict rules of engagement, but however, families still demanding answers what happened to their beloved ones. Brave warriors honorably served their country and they deserve to rest in peace. Justice demands it.
Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of author and do not necessarily reflect those of Spec Ops Magazine.