August 12th, 2011
07:55 AM ET

The stories of those who lost their lives in Chinook crash

Editor's note: For more details of those who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan please visit our Home & Away interactive feature. You can also click on the names of those who died in the Chinook crash below to leave a message or memorial. You can also click here to learn more about each of those who died and what their family members had to say about them.

[Updated Friday at 7:53 a.m. ET] The U.S. Defense Department released the names of U.S. military personnel killed in Saturday's downing of a helicopter in Afghanistan.

Thirty-eight people were killed in that attack, eight of them Afghan military personnel. It was the single largest loss of life for U.S. troops since the Afghan war began in late 2001.

Of the 30 Americans, 17 were Navy SEALs.  Twenty-two of the dead were U.S. Navy personnel, the Pentagon said.  Fifteen were SEALs belonging to the top-secret unit that conducted the raid that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden at a compound in Pakistan.  Two others were SEALs assigned to a regular naval special operations unit.

Five were so-called conventional forces with particular specialties who regularly worked with the SEALs. The other eight U.S. troops killed were three Air Force forward air controllers and five Army helicopter crew members.

NATO said it killed the militants responsible for the attack.  Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid rejected that, saying a NATO airstrike killed a separate group of insurgents.

The following list was provided by the Defense Department:

The following sailors assigned to an East Coast-based Naval Special Warfare unit were killed:

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

The Shreveport native was in charge of Saturday’s mission in Wardak province near Kabul. His father, John Kelsall, who heads Lakewood, California’s, Chamber of Commerce, told CNN affiliate KTLA in a statement, “The country will never understand the level of service those guys gave us.” KABC reported that Kelsall, 33, was trained in San Diego, and he met his wife of three years while attending the University of Texas.

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

Langlais enlisted in the Navy in June 1986 and began training to be a part of the SEAL team three years later. After joining the Navy Parachute team for three years, he moved on to serve in several East Coast-based SEAL teams for 10 years, according to the Navy.

During his service, Langlais received four Bronze Stars with distinction for valor, two Joint Service Commendation Medals, medals for his work in the war on terror and for his marksmanship, among many other medals and ribbons.

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

The 34-year-old Green Forest, Arkansas, native had a motto, according to CNN affiliate KYTV: “There’s two ways to do things: Do them right or do them again.”

Ratzlaff enlisted in 1995 and served in two Special Warfare Units during his time, according to the Navy. During that time, he received several awards, including the Bronze Star Medal with Combat for valor. Ratzlaff leaves behind two sons – 6 and 11 years old – and a wife who is expecting the couple’s third child in November. KYTV spoke to his high school teachers. He played middle linebacker for the football team. Science teacher Bruce Culver joked that he was the best at dissecting frogs, and his friend Kevin Disheroon told the station that Ratzlaff always wanted to be a SEAL. He went to boot camp just weeks after his 1995 graduation from high school.

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

More than 200 surfers paddled off Sandbridge – one of Vickers’ favorite spots for stand-up paddling – and locked hands in honor of the 36-year-old Navy SEAL who rode the waves of Virginia Beach, The Virginian-Pilot reported.

Vickers was stationed in Virginia Beach and lived there with his pregnant wife and three children - 4, 7 and 18 years old. Back in his hometown of Maui, Hawaii, friends and family also fondly remembered the brawny former high school wrestler and football player. Mary Jane Vickers told CNN affiliate KITV that her son was a good Christian and family man, not to mention a “devoted father, son and serviceman.” Following Tuesday’s “paddle out” in Virginia Beach, those attending whooped, splashed and cast hundreds of flowers into the ocean.

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

The Stamford, Connecticut, native was a man of ambition. The chief petty officer and SEAL was a mountaineer who wanted to complete the seven summits – the highest peak on each continent – and he wanted to one day be an astronaut, CNN affiliate WFSB reported. He also was a skier, a pilot and a triathlete, his stepfather, Michael Parry, said, further describing Bill as thoughtful, compassionate and “remarkably gifted.” A graduate of Norwich University in Vermont, Bill played tennis, soccer and hockey in high school, and coaches said there was a quiet toughness about him.

"We're mourning, if anything else, his unfulfilled dreams,” Parry said during a news conference.

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

Faas enlisted in the Navy in 1999 and became a SEAL in 2001.

Among many awards, he earned three Bronze Stars with valor distinctions and a National Defense Service medal, according to the Navy.

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

The Cape Cod native lived in Chesapeake, Virginia, with his wife and three children, according to CNN affiliate WVEC. In 1994, he graduated from high school (where he captained his football team) in a wheelchair after having a nasty motorcycle accident. He became a SEAL a few years later.

“He was born to do this job." his mother told the station. "He’d do it all over again.”

Just weeks ago, according to CNN affiliate WTKR, Houston gave an American flag - which he’d worn under his armor during his last three Afghanistan tours – to veteran Chris Kelly, a man who inspired him. Kelly told the station he was too heartbroken to be interviewed.

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

The Navy SEAL's former high school peer Eric Marshall, now the vice principal of their Kearny, Missouri, alma mater, said he remembers Mason as “a tough kid.”

“It didn't surprise anybody that he was able to have that type of success, and achieve Navy SEAL status," Marshall told CNN affiliate KSHB-TV.

John Ball, one of Mason’s former teachers and football coaches, told KSHB-TV that someone approached him asking if he remembered Mason, who graduated in 1992 before moving on to Northwest Missouri State University, where he played baseball. Ball said he immediately remembered his former student and his occupation. “I looked at him and said ‘Don’t tell me, don’t tell me, don’t tell me,’ ” Ball told KSHB-TV. Mason lived in Virginia Beach, Virginia, with his two sons and his wife, who is expecting a third child in November, KSHB-TV reported.

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

The father of three children – 1, 13 and 18 years old - had a tremendous sense of humor, friends and family told CNN affiliate WTKR, and the 14-year Navy veteran loved being a SEAL. A sister of the 36-year-old chief petty officer told CNN affiliate KVUE that he never bragged about being a SEAL, despite a decade in the elite force.

“He loved his teammates as brothers. He'll always be remembered as a loving person,” Ashley Mills told the station.

His cousin, J.B. Abbott, told KVUE that the central Texas native was “very proud and very brave.”

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

Null, 30, enlisted in the navy in 2000 and had been a SEAL since 2009, according to a bio from the United States Navy.

Originally from West Virginia, Null's many ribbons, medals and awards included two Bronze Stars, two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation medals, and three Navy and Marine Corps Achievement medals.

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

The 32-year-old chief petty officer grew up in Shreveport, Louisiana, with Lt. Cmdr. Jonas Kelsall, who was in charge of the Afghanistan mission that ended with Saturday’s helicopter crash. They went to school, played soccer and became Navy SEALs together. On a Facebook page set up in Reeves’ memory, one poster said, “You could always make the boys laugh, dude.”

Another described him as “sweet, funny and kind-hearted … More than anything, though, Rob was most passionate about the Navy and his role as a SEAL.”

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

Robinson enlisted in the Navy in 1996 and completed SEAL training in Coronado, California, in 2000. He moved from the West Coast in 2004 to serve on four East Coast special warfare units, according to the Navy.

Robinson earned four Bronze Stars, three of which had special distinctions for valor, in addition to many other medals and awards.

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

He was born and raised in Angwin, a small town in Napa County, California, so it was natural that people wanted to know about his SEAL training. Those who knew him, however, say he was low-key and not one to talk about himself, CNN affiliate KGO-TV reported. He went to a private high school, where he was a good student and athlete.

Benson joined the Navy in September 2001, and he became a SEAL in 2003, according to the Navy. Benson has earned a Bronze Star and a Presidential Unit Citation, as well as many other medals, awards and ribbons.

His grandfather, Carlyle Benson, told affiliate KTVU that he recently earned his commercial pilot’s license and wanted to be a pilot after he left the military. Darrik Benson served in the Navy for 12 years, and Carlyle Benson said he was “a fine boy” and “one of the top men in his group.” He met his wife, Kara, in San Diego, and she moved to Virginia with their 3-year-old son to be closer to him.

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

The Navy SEAL, 36, from Jacksonville, North Carolina, told his family that if he were killed in the line of duty, he would want a donation made to the Wounded Warrior Project, according to CNN affiliate WNCT. His high school friend, Joe Baile, told CNN affiliate WCTI that years would go by between their visits, but “then we'd be at somebody's house and they'd stop by when everyone was home for Christmas or something like that and play basketball together.”

Joe’s dad, Jack, coached Campbell’s high school football team. He recalled that Campbell was small for football when he joined the team his junior year, but “he didn’t have a whole lot of fear of anything.”

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

Day enlisted in 2002, according to his Navy bio. He served at the Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station Atlantic Detachment in Keflavik, Iceland, until July 2004, then began SEAL training.

He had been part of the East Coast SEAL team since 2007. He earned a Joint Combat Commendation Medal with a distinction for valor, an Army Commendation Medal, a Joint Service Achievement Medal, and several other medals, ribbons and awards.

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

Douangara, a native of Sioux City, Nebraska, enlisted in the Navy in 2003 and joined his East Coast SEAL team in 2008.

He earned a Bronze Star with a distinction for valor, a Presidential Unit Citation and many other awards.

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

Charles Strange told CNN affiliate WPVI that three SEALs delivered news of his son’s death to his Mayfair, Pennsylvania, home Saturday. Michael Strange, a 25-year-old petty officer, was on his third tour in Afghanistan, and his brother said Michael – a member of SEAL Team 6 - always wanted to be in the military. Sources told the station that in addition to his parents and two siblings, Michael Strange also left behind a fiancée. He had just purchased a home in Virginia.

"Michael loved this country, he loved Philadelphia, he loved North Catholic [High School, where he graduated], he loved Mayfair, he loved his friends." his father said.

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

The town of Rockford, Iowa, is proud to call Tumilson one of its sons. The 35-year-old Navy SEAL graduated from high school in 1995, but neighbors recall his holiday visits as he was often seen jogging through town, CNN affiliate KCCI reported. Tom Dow, who has known Tumilson’s family for years, told another affiliate, KIMT, that Tumilson was “young, full of life, good-looking kid, big and strong, real nice boy.”  Neighbor Leann Ginther said he was a hero.

“Just the fact that he sacrificed his life for all of us back here … I guess that’s what freedom is, is them doing that for us, but way too young of a guy to be losing his life,” she said.

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

Kimberly Vaughn met Aaron Vaughn in Guam when she traveled there with the Washington Redskins cheerleaders to entertain the troops. She said she last spoke with her husband the day before the fatal crash and, Kimberly Vaughan said, “We got to tell each other we loved each other, so it was a great conversation to have.” Kimberly Vaughn said she still plans to build their home in Virginia Beach, where she will raise their two children. His wife described her husband as a “warrior for Christ, and he was a warrior for our country, and he wouldn’t want to leave this Earth any other way than how he did.”

"Even if you could tell him that this would have happened, he would have done it anyway," she said.

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

The Navy SEAL was one of four brothers, the oldest a West Point graduate, according to CNN affiliate KTVX. Workman grew up in Blanding, Utah, and gained a reputation as a compassionate guy who worked hard and loved sports. Family friend Rick Eldredge said of the 32-year-old petty officer first class, “He would do anything to help the guy across the table from him. … He was just willing to do anything for anybody, and he's proven by giving his life to this country," affiliate KSL-TV reported.

Late last year, Workman, who has served in the Navy for eight years, returned home to train police officers, the station reported. He was planning to do so again in December. His family released a statement saying he loved his job and was “the best of the best.” He left behind a 21-month-old son.

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.

Pittman enlisted in the Navy in March 2005 and completed SEAL training in March 2006, according to the Navy.

Pittman reported to the the Naval Special Warfare Training Center Detachment in Kodiak, Alaska. He returned to the West Coast SEAL team in 2007.

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

Spehar enlisted in the Navy in 2007.

He became a SEAL in 2008 and was a member of the West Coast SEAL team, according to the Navy. Among his many awards, Spehar earned an Army Commendation Medal and two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals.

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.

The National Guardsman had dreamed of being a pilot since his high school days in Kansas, CNN affiliate KDVR reported. He was a chief warrant officer at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora, Colo. “He was flying our nation’s elite forces into combat and, as an aviator, for him that is what he wanted to do,” Col. Chris Petty, a fellow pilot and Carter’s friend, told KDVR.

Carter’s family friend Yolanda Levesque spoke at a news conference in Centennial, Colorado, on a hilltop selected because its view of the surrounding hills was one of Carter’s favorites, according to KDVR. “He was an outstanding husband and father, son, brother and soldier,” Levesque said. “He was a friend to all who met him ... quick with a smile and always with a twinkle in his beautiful blue eyes.”

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.

Bryan Nichols always wanted to be a solider. His father was in the Army and fought in Vietnam, his ex-wife Jessica Nichols said. Bryan and Jessica met in sixth grade, and she said he enlisted in the military before they had graduated high school. Nichols worked his way up through the ranks, and eventually piloted a helicopter with which he’d had a boyhood fascination. “He came across the Chinook …” she recalled. “His father flew Chinooks.” During the years Bryan and Jessica were married, he did three deployments. She had their son, Braydon, who is now 10. Bryan and Jessica’s marriage ended amicably, and he remarried.

Together with Bryan’s new wife, the three helped raised Braydon. The little boy dreamed also of flying one day, alongside his father, Jessica Nichols said. The boy, instead, posted an iReport on Saturday about his fallen father, in the hopes that the world would never forget him.

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.

Chris Hamburger said his brother Patrick knew he was about to embark on an important and secret mission when he spoke to his family for the last time.  A helicopter flight engineer, he arrived in Afghanistan for his first tour of duty just days before the crash. Patrick Hamburger had a 2-year-old daughter with Candie Reagan, whom he was planning to marry when he returned to Nebraska next May, his brother said.  He was also helping raise Reagan's 13-year-old daughter. Hamburger sent an e-mail to Reagan the day before his death.

"Please don't worry about me," Hamburger wrote.  He added, "this place isn't going to change me, I'm going to change this place."

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.

After his 2009 deployment to Iraq, the Army specialist moved from Tacoma, Washington, to Overland Park, Kansas, to learn how to be a Chinook mechanic. Sgt. 1st Class Kirk Kuykendall, who was at home in Overland Park recuperating from a helicopter crash himself, told CNN affiliate KCTV that he served with Bennett in Iraq and considered him like a son.

“You wouldn't find a better flight engineer or soldier. … Wherever Alex goes, I will go so I can pay my final respects,” Kuykendall said. Bennett loved cars and the military, and pal Edward Tuck fondly recalled in a KOMO interview the time they spent under the hood of a Honda talking about life.

Another friend, Jessica Hall, told the station that Bennett was always smiling and joking. "He died doing exactly what he loved, she said. “Alex was a hero.”

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.

Duncan left his hometown in Kansas because he wanted to serve his country, The Olathe News reported.

"He wrote how much he loved his job as a door gunner on a Chinook helicopter," the local paper said. "But he also told his friends that in the quiet amid the stark landscape of Afghanistan, he missed the Kansas sunsets, lying in a truck bed listening to the radio and cuddling with his sweetie."

The airmen, who were assigned to the 24th Special Tactics Squadron, Pope Field, N.C. that were killed were:

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

The technical sergeant from Siloam Springs, Arkansas, studied pre-med before joining the U.S. Air Force to become a pararescueman, his mother, Elizabeth Newlun told CNN affiliate KFSM. His friend, Jon Woods, told the station that Brown was popular, athletic and loved a challenge. “He was just an all-American G.I. Joe, just a great guy who loved his country,” Woods said.

Newlun read KFSM a letter that Brown’s uncle had written, describing the airman as “Rambo without the attitude” and “brave but never arrogant, powerful but always gentle.” He was married and had no children.

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

The combat controller with the 24th Special Tactics Squadron was not only a "bad-ass warrior" but also, a loving husband to wife Krista and caring father to sons Hunter and Ethan, his wife said in a statement.

"We will miss him forever but we take solace knowing he gave his life serving his country and fighting for what he believed was right."

Harvell was stationed at Pope Air Force Base, which this year was merged with Fort Bragg, before heading to Afghanistan, according to the Air Force.

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

The 28-year-old Air Force medic joined the military right after graduating from high school in 2001, according to CNN affiliate WGAL-TV. A native of Red Lion, Pennsylvania, who wrestled and played football, Zerbe was a team player who could always be counted on, his former football coach told the station. His friend, Mike Vogel, who joined the Marines after high school, called Zerbe an “absolute hero,” and Red Lion schools superintendent released a statement, saying, “Dan wanted to make a difference in the world, so he joined the military,” according to CNN affiliate WHTM.

soundoff (1,049 Responses)
  1. jessicaber

    Can't men stay in the army as long as they want to?

    August 11, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • MMeans

      20 years is usually retirement, I'm not sure what the cut off for mandatory retirement now, and there are waivers. All of these guys were below that and probably some of the best fighters the US has to offer

      August 11, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Pat

    Seriously CNN – get accurate details that are provided in the military press releases and update the first portion. There were not three "forward air controllers" (fifth paragraph). There were 2 pararescuemen and one combat controller. Stop elevating some victims of the crash – all gave their lives in service to this country and should be honored equally.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      I'm right there with you man. When the story first broke I knew right away the PJs were probably part of the crash yet CNN only wants to talk about the SEALs. Everyone involved paid the highest price for our country...EVERYONE!

      August 11, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. MM

    Now in my 40s, sometimes I think that my life hasn't gone very far. Most of these young guys had their life cut short – Most of them not even 40 years old. Life isn't fair.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Carolyn

    May the Lord comfort each and every family member of all the men who recently lost their lives and all those (men and women) who have lost their lives in the past. It is so sad to hear and read this news to hear mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, children, friends losing a loved one. I know they are fighting for our freedom, but it is still sad. I want to personally thank them and their families. Let us all pray for them – God bless everyone! Until we meet again – RIP!

    August 11, 2011 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Cecil Campbell

    With the big money problems we are having, How much is spent almost everyday for our President to fly some place else to make a speach. I would like to know how much he has traveled, verses other presidents. I know when I don't have the money, I stay home and he has a nicer home than I do.

    August 11, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Raidaz2010

      Then Google it. If you took the time to type your comment, take some time to research the answer.

      August 11, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Snoot

    17 hard-core, snake-eating killers are in Hell, enjoying their eternal Bacchanalia. Cheers!

    August 11, 2011 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • soldier

      @Snoot: Quiet little boy. Adults are talking here

      By the way, what kind af name is snoot

      August 11, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Snoot

      "Snoot" is a happy place. *wink *wink. All killers go to Hell – no matter how noble the cause perceived.

      August 11, 2011 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • CT Yankee

      clearly it's an allusion to "snot"..........quite apropo.

      August 12, 2011 at 3:07 am | Report abuse |
    • soldier

      @snoot: "Snoot" is a happy place. *wink *wink.
      What the he ll does that mean

      "All killers go to Hell – no matter how noble the cause perceived"
      Why would you say something like this? I thought you were in a happy place. Now I cant tell if you are happy or angry, and Im not sure you know either. Do you even know where you are at.

      @CT Yankee: I think he has had quite a few allusions at this point.

      August 12, 2011 at 6:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Sara

      How would you know they are in hell or going to hell unless you yourself are in hell now you evil little demon!

      August 12, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  7. MarineSgt

    For those who have served freedom has a taste that the protected may never know. I only hope we can draw inspiration from the lives of these selfless heroes.

    August 11, 2011 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Travis

      More right-wing drivel. It never ends!!!

      August 11, 2011 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Crazyvermont

      @Travis...I understand why we're in the mess we're in if your post represents the sentiment of the left. You ought to be able t lay aside your immaturity long enough to pay reespect to these hero's despite any party affiliation.

      August 11, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rod

      Travis...People like you need to leave this country. Why don't you honor the people who give you the very freedom to post your negative comments. Has not a thing to do with right-wing or left wing anything. Has to do with an honorable person providing your freedom!

      August 11, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      There is no explanation or reason that will make me feel better about this. I know why the Seals took out bin Laden, and I know why someone fired a rocket launcher at the coptor. The mission should not have called for a vehicle of that size to be carrying such valuable military personnel to be put in such a vulnerable position, they were a huge target. Nevertheless, I can't stand to hear of one more life being lost over there. Iraq will be a bloodbath when the last soldier leaves. Afghanistan is a mess that will continue to fester. And when all is said and done–what have we gained? It's heartbreaking.

      August 11, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • George Patton

      Just when are people going to wise up and realize that this war has nothing to do with any of our rights or freedoms nor with national security? It's just another way for big business to make money and the right-wing politicians to promote their own careers!

      August 11, 2011 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rod

      To George Patton....You really have no idea what freedom truly means do you. Sad you are so un-educated on the issue that you revert to the easy way out...blaming republicans. What these deaths do represent is that fact those in afganistan attacked up 10 years ago. Thank God our military respects and honors those who have lost their lives making sure the pay-back for the other 3000+ INNOCENT civilians that died see justice in the end. Don't forget, George Bush did put it first to Congress which EVERY SINGLE DEMOCRAT but maybe a handful voted for. At least Bush had the conviction of properly handling a war. I bet if one of your family lost their life at the hands of terrorism, you would not be posting comments like you did. Anyway, go back to the easy way out and keep posting your right-wing hate. You have it so mixed up, your hatered for the right is so strong you give those who kill innocent civilians a pass. Sad. Your another one we could give a one-way ticket to another country and simply say goodbye. America would be better for it. PS George Patton would probably be upset with you using his name when you spout drival like you do.

      August 11, 2011 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robrob

      People like Travis do not speak for the rest of us, liberal or conservative.

      August 11, 2011 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Liberal Vet

      I'll second that. Most liberals I know are very patriotic. I myself am a Marine Corps Veteran of both theaters.

      These clowns don't represent us any more than the Westboro Baptist Church represents the right.

      August 11, 2011 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Noble9

    Hail to our fallen warriors!

    August 11, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. George Patton

    What a bunch of sob stories about a bunch of bozoes sent over to kill people who were only fighting for their homeland. This happened here too back in the days of the Civil War(1861-1865) when a lot of Union troops were killed taking over the South and a lot of people wept for them too!!! How history has a way of repeating itself!

    August 11, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • lisa

      All I can say is you make me sick...what a wonderful posting...NOT!!!

      August 11, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |

    All of this reminds me of the days of the Civil War here in this country like it does George above as he already said. A lot of people mourned the Union troops as they fought to conquer the South and kill the Johnny Rebs who were only rightfully defending their homeland. There was a great deal of hatred on both sides then, too!!

    August 11, 2011 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yep...

      But our side doesn't crash planes into buildings, slaughter ethnic or religious minorities, make women cover their heads and stay out of the workforce, or stone people for who they choose to sleep with.

      August 11, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Justen beiber

    Who cares. During ww2 and Vietnam did the media do a lot if sob stories? Mite people died in those wears which was real wars. We wasting mOney on these useless wars right now. We had no business invading iraq. One day the USA will get attack by a whole country because we deserve it. America is a big bully. If you dint do what we say then we invade you country and tell you how to run it. War is war. People get killed in the USA by gangs and USA don't care about fixing this or securing the border.

    August 11, 2011 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rod

      Thank God your not in charge of this country. How soon you forget we were attacked by radicals based in Afganistan. Why do you cloud the issue by bringing up Iraq? No, the United States is not perfect, I will give you that. However, for you to rant about how much of a bully we are, really kind of funny. We could go in and do whatever we want to ANY country. We dont. The worst thing we do is try to bring democracy to people that have never had it. You take it for granted. If you don't like the US, then why don't you leave?? The sooner we get all the un-educated, US hating individuals out of here the better we all will be.

      August 11, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |

      JB, the only money wasted apparently was the money for your education. Go back and punch your teacher in the mouth for letting you graduate that illiterate.

      August 11, 2011 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robrob

      Most pointless point ever.

      August 11, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yep...

      Look up the Hazara Massacre of 1998 if you want to see what bullies do.

      Also, read up on why the Muslim extremists actually hate us. It's not because we're bullies. It's because democracy and secular government get in the way of their dreams of a world-wide, brutal theocracy.

      One of Bin Laden's main charges against the US is that we didn't allow the Christians of East Timor to be slaughtered to make way for a Muslim Theocracy. Yep... we're big ol' bullies.

      August 11, 2011 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jake

      @Rod – One of the reasons I read comment pages is to try and understand various viewpoints. I really do enjoy to read about individuals who share viewpoints which are not in line with my own to try and determine if I've been wrong all along or if I've got it mostly right. Since you seem to have a certain viewpoint which is opposite to mine I am responding to this thread. You say that the issue shouldn't be "clouded" by bring up Iraq. Obviously you believe that Iraq is not central to the notion that we are bullies and what we say is correct all or most of the time. I have to wonder then, why it was Iraq that was invaded first. Wouldn't you consider this a "clouding" of the issue of terrorism? Wouldn't this incite many Iraq natives to consider the US to be a bit of a nuisance? Seems to me, that you really can't isolate a single action of the US and call it just without admitting the faults or the mistakes made prior and completely ignoring any repercussions. It's just like a parent coming down harshly on a child and the child retaliates by breaking something. While the ultimate blame lies in the child, you should still be able to understand WHY the child would want to lash out or be rebellious. If not, then you have never really considered what it is to be a patriot or an American.

      August 11, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jake

      @ Rod – Oh, and you say that we could go in and do what we want to ANY country, but we don't. Are you convinced of the fact that if we had the money and the resources we wouldn't be in Syria, Egypt, Libya, Iran, Mexico and Pakistan right now?

      Let us not forget about the famine in Somalia – wouldn't you rather take all the resources we've give to fighting "evil" and instead use it to promote goodness, caring, compassion? Seems to me, we're a little too focused on eliminating evil rather than nurturing prosperity and kindness.

      August 11, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lyndsie Graham

      Good posting, Justen. Don't pay any attention to these uneducated, right-wing lemmings here who don't agree with you. It's dubious that any of them ever got past the 5th grade in school in the first place!!!

      August 11, 2011 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Fahim

    You could have also released the names of Afghan soldiers killed in the crash...

    August 11, 2011 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • VB

      You're absolutely right, Fahim. The Afghans who died alongside these men are just as heroic. The Afghans who join the military and police force are frequently threatened or even killed for trying to make their nation a better place. I'm sure they are all sitting at the right hand of their God.

      August 11, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Iraq/Afghan Vet

      I agree that they are heroic and deserve to be honored, but they may not have wanted their names released. Many Afghan servicemembers wear masks and use fake names when in the field. Terrorists are likely to murder their families to send a message.

      August 11, 2011 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Anne

    The Pentagon said "No photos" of any kind on the day this was taken at Dover AFB. So why is it he gaffed off the wishes of the bereaved family members and took this one anyway? Then distrbuted it yourself. Pentagon said no photos period. Casket or no casket in photo frame. Then the White House makes it the "Photo of the Day" on the White House page. Disgusting to say the least. Shame on you and your staff for taking it and then making it a photo op.

    August 11, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robrob

      The DoD said no photos of the coffins, the ceremony or the transfer. The photo is of the President. Nice try at false outrage. Better luck next time.

      August 11, 2011 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Crocodile Tears!

      Shame on you for trying to turn this into a soap-box to bash Obama.

      August 11, 2011 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
  14. dutchsoccer1

    I just can't get enough of this American propaganda. They said they got the exact guy that hit the copter with an rpg the other day.LOL. The only thing the mnedia is good at is trying to find symapathy for fallen soldiers who shouldn't be there in the first place and spreading fear to the naoive amercian public who believes all this crap they write. Get them home, focus on the economy. One more thing, what abut the over 100,000 dead iraqi civilians and the unknown number of afghan civilians "accidentally" killed by drones, trigger happy soldiers rtc. This countries policies suck!

    August 11, 2011 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nice argument

      Your grammar sucks.

      August 11, 2011 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cool Story, Bro

      Finish middle school before enlightening us with all your wisdom, please.

      Spoiled little brat.

      August 11, 2011 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robrob

      Fascinating how the losers get so worked up over real heroes.

      August 11, 2011 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Ct Yankee

    In the first place, it doesn't take much training to learn to fire and maintain an RPG........ In the second place the weapon may have been a SAM and not the less effective and less complex any event, I am surprised no one has asked where these weapons come from......the technology for anti-tank and surface to air shoulder fired missiles has advanced exponentially over the well the tactics for attacking vehicles with reactive armor, for instance. and so forth................folks, these the terrorists and insurgents who use these very deadly weapons do not have the capacity to make them........they buy them from Russia and China even if they don't realize it........the industries that build them are as responsible for the deaths of these fine men as much as anyone else you can name...........regardless of the chain of custody, remember, these weapons were designed and built in Russia and China and were originally placed in the hands of any country with the money to buy them.

    August 11, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rod

      Does it really matter where the weapons came from. This was a helicopter and an RPG would be effective enough to take out a low, slow flying copter. I don't get why people blame tool used in a killing rather than the person who conducted the killing. There are weapons all over the world, sold by many, many countries. Doesn't mean you hold them more responsible than the person using it.

      August 11, 2011 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ct Yankee

      Normally i would not reply to my own post but i have to take exception to Rod's remark..........many helicopters now have armor and countermeasure technlogy that is very effective against SAM and SAS weapons.......that is why i think it was a very advanced weapon like any of a type called a MANPAD.........and yeah i think it is real important where it came from.........they are very, very expensive and difficult to purchase.........when they are purchased it is a result of collusion with members of the military of whatever nation is producing them and they are dispersed in a covert manner by the enemies of our country.........yeah, i think it's REAL important where it came from.

      August 11, 2011 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
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