I probably shouldn’t have had this awful thought, because the loss of 31 soldiers is 31 individual tragedies that radiate throughout our countries, breaking the hearts of their families and friends, and all those who did or ever would depend upon them.
But the thought I had when I heard of the U.S. helicopter shot down in Afghanistan was, “I hope it wasn’t Special Ops people.” I said that because, having so recently read the account of the raid on Abbottabad, the initial details of the loss sounded like it was consistent with the kind of helicopter operation that SOC people perform all the time in that part of the world. And since our nation increasingly depends on that very small number of super-elite troops — the very same people being involved in taking out bin Laden, the Somali pirates and countless strategically important raids in Afghanistan and Pakistan — the loss of any significant number of them would be like losing a regiment in prior days. That’s the cold calculation that went on in my head along with the personal shock of losing so many fellow Americans, so many fellow humans.
But then my fears were realized:
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. officials tell The Associated Press that they believe that none of the Navy SEALs who died in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan had participated in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, although they were from the same unit that carried out the bin Laden mission.
Sources say that more than 20 Navy SEALs were among those lost in the crash in Afghanistan.The operators from SEAL Team Six were flown by a crew of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. That’s according to other AP sources, one current and one former U.S. official. All sources spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive military matters.One source says the team was thought to include 22 SEALs, three Air Force air controllers, seven Afghan Army troops, a dog and his handler, and a civilian interpreter, plus the helicopter crew…
God help their families. And the rest of us as well.