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Ten SEALs missing, more dead


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:THE first sign of trouble was a radio message requesting immediate extraction. A four-man team of US Navy Seal commandos had run into heavy enemy fire on a remote, thickly forested trail in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan.

Trouble turned to disaster when a US special forces helicopter carrying 16 men was shot down as it landed at the scene, killing all on board. Almost two weeks later, a mission that led to the worst US combat losses in Afghanistan since the invasion in 2001 has turned into an extraordinary manhunt. It has also opened an intriguing new front in the coalition’s battle against terrorism.

The story of Operation Red Wing, a US-led search for Taliban and Al-Qaeda guerrillas in the mountain wilderness of Kunar province, contains remarkable human drama and an unresolved military mystery.

For five days amid the hostile peaks and ravines along Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan, a lone American commando eluded the guerrillas who had killed at least two of his colleagues and destroyed the Chinook helicopter.

When the unnamed Seal finally collapsed from exhaustion he was found by a friendly Afghan villager who summoned US forces. The subsequent search for his colleagues turned up two bodies and the manhunt for the fourth commando continues this weekend despite claims by Taliban guerrillas yesterday that he had been captured and beheaded.

“We killed him at 11 o’clock today; we killed him using a knife and chopped off his head,†declared Abdul Latif Hakimi, a Taliban spokesman who has made several false claims in the past.

Yet whatever the final death toll from the worst incident in the history of the Seals — the Sea Air Land Commandos — there were tantalising hints that the original mission had been far from routine.


edit: can't seem to edit the thread title. Should be "Ten SEALs dead, more missing"

Edited by Pfarrer
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Far as I know, this is the largest one day loss in the history of the teams. Four members of SEAL Team Six were lost in the Panama invasion, but that was from drowning in rough seas. A loss like this is unprecedented and underscores, for me, how hard the fighting in Afghanistan can be.

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Four SEALs died during the Panama operation; four more died in Grenada. Forty-nine died in Vietnam. Countless numbers have been killed in training accidents. Some have surely been killed doing things we'll never know about. But officially this would be the worst loss for the Teams in their entire short history. And it isn't even over, since as far as I know there is still one SEAL still missing out there.


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Obv for Australian or British Slant, But still it's fitting.


With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children

England mourns for her dead across the sea,

Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,

Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal

Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,

There is music in the midst of desolation

And glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,

Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow,

They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,

They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again,

They sit no more at familiar tables of home,

They have no lot in our labour of the daytime,

They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires and hopes profound,

Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,

To the innermost heart of their own land they are known

As the stars are known to the night.

As the stars shall be bright when we are dust,

Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,

As the stars that are stary in the time of our darkness,

To the end, to the end, they remain.

On a related note in relation to Operations in Ghan. The ADF are sending a whole SASR SQN into Ghan again for the first time since 2002.

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Afghan villagers sheltered a U.S. Navy SEAL wounded in a battle last month with the Taliban until they could get word to American forces to rescue him, a military official said Monday.

The SEAL was part of a four-man reconnaissance team that went missing June 28 after calling for help during a firefight in the mountains near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

The other three members of the team died in the fighting, and a MH-47 helicopter crashed as it brought reinforcements, killing all 16 people on board.

The military said it believes insurgents shot down the chopper.

Military officials said a rocket exploded near the surviving SEAL, knocking him off his feet and down a mountainside in steep terrain. He then managed to stay out of sight of the insurgents, officials said.

The commando suffered multiple leg wounds but was able to walk about two miles (three or four kilometers) through the mountains to get away, according to a U.S. military official, who insisted on anonymity.

An Afghan villager found the SEAL and hid him in his village, the official said.

According to military accounts, Taliban fighters came to the village and demanded the American be turned over, but villagers refused.

The SEAL wrote a note verifying his identity and location, and a villager carried it to U.S. forces, the official said. The note indicated to U.S. troops that they wouldn't be entering into a trap. The commando was rescued July 3.

The military has not revealed his identity.

The bodies of two of the other SEALS -- Petty Officer 2nd Class Danny P. Dietz, 25, of Littleton, Colorado, and Lt. Michael P. Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, New York -- were recovered July 4.

The fourth man's body was found Sunday with the help of local Afghans, said the military, which late Monday identified him as Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew G. Axelson, 29, of Cupertino, California.

Taliban abduction denied

Axelson was found near the other two bodies and died in a shootout, according to an initial assessment from the field, a senior defense official said.

This senior official said that "no way" had the SEAL ever been in captivity, contrary to Taliban claims that he had been abducted.

"(He) was located during a combat search-and-rescue operation July 10 in Kunar province," the military said in a statement. "The location and disposition of the service member's remains indicate he died while fighting off enemy terrorists on or about June 28."

The Taliban is the fundamentalist Islamic regime that ruled Afghanistan from 1996 until 2001 when a U.S.-led coalition knocked it from power. It continues to conduct guerrilla operations in the country, particularly along the border with Pakistan.

Suspected Taliban gunmen beheaded 10 Afghan soldiers in a desert ambush near the Pakistan border, a provincial governor said Sunday, The Associated Press reported.

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