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11 Years Ago Today, 15 Members of “SEAL Team 6” Died When Their Helicopter Was Shot Down

SEAL Team 6 had gained notoriety for killing Osama Bin Laden just three months prior to the incident.

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SEAL Team 6

When an American CH-47D Chinook helicopter, code-named “Extortion 17,” was shot down on August 6, 2011, the United States experienced its greatest single-incident loss of life in the entirety of Operation Enduring Freedom – Afghanistan.

Extortion 17’s thirty-eight passengers were all killed when a rocket-propelled grenade reportedly hit the transport helicopter. Extortion 17 was an operation to find or kill Qari Tahir, a prominent Taliban leader, said to be somewhere close to Kabul, Afghanistan.

17 U.S. Navy SEALs, including 15 members of Special Warfare Development Group—popularly known as SEAL Team 6 or DEVGRU—were among the American passengers killed, in addition to eight Afghans and a U.S. military dog.

SEAL Team 6 had gained notoriety for killing Osama Bin Laden just three months prior to the incident.

Other Americans on board Extortion 17 included support personnel for Navy Special Warfare, as well as members of the aircrews of the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Army. There were eight Afghans total on board the helicopter; seven commandos from the Afghan National Army and an interpreter from Afghanistan.

The complete list of Americans killed includes:

  • SGT ALEXANDER J. BENNETT
  • SPC SPENCER DUNCAN
  • CWO BRYAN J. NICHOLS
  • CWO DAVID R. CARTER
  • SSG PATRICK D. HAMBURGER
  • TSGT JOHN W. BROWN
  • SSGT ANDREW W. HARVELL
  • TSGT DANIEL L. ZERBE
  • PO1 (SEAL) DARRICK C. BENSON
  • CPO (SEAL) BRIAN R. BILL
  • PO1 (SEAL) CHRISTOPHER G. CAMPBELL
  • PO1 JARED W. DAY
  • PO1 JOHN DOUANGDARA
  • CPO (SEAL) JOHN W. FAAS
  • CPO (SEAL) KEVIN A. HOUSTON
  • LT. CMDR. (SEAL) JONAS B. KELSALL
  • MCPO (SEAL) LOUIS J. LANGLAIS
  • CPO (SEAL) MATTHEW D. MASON
  • CPO (SEAL) STEPHEN M. MILLS
  • CPO NICHOLAS H. NULL
  • PO1 (SEAL) JESSE D. PITTMAN
  • SCPO (SEAL) THOMAS A. RATZLAFF
  • CPO (SEAL) ROBERT J. REEVES
  • CPO (SEAL) HEATH M. ROBINSON
  • PO2 (SEAL) NICHOLAS P. SPEHAR
  • PO1 MICHAEL J. STRANGE
  • PO1 (SEAL) JON T. TUMILSON
  • PO1 (SEAL) AARON C. VAUGHN
  • SCPO KRAIG M. VICKERS
  • PO1 (SEAL) JASON R. WORKMAN
  • MILITARY WORKING DOG “BART”
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