June 28, 2005 was a dark day in the history of the United States military. An MH-47 Chinook helicopter, with sixteen U.S. troops on board, was on a mission to rescue a small team of Navy SEALs when it was shot down by insurgents near Asadabad in Afghanistan.
The attack has since been labeled as the biggest single loss of life in the Afghan war; on Saturday, however, that has been surpassed, as yet another Chinook helicopter met the same fate.
The crash on Saturday killed thirty Americans, 22 of whom were naval special warfare personnel. It is the now the biggest single loss of life in the history of the NSW community, and in the history of the U.S. Special Operations Command.
Needless to say, the tragedy has brought an already close-knit community even closer, as they mourn the loss of the fallen. The SEALs in Virginia Beach reached out to each other, as well as each other’s families, bearing sad news, and immediately mobilizing to provide support as families and loved one wait for official news.
Just as the community applauded the accomplishments of SEAL Team 6 not too long ago, they now join together in mourning. Mayor Will Sessoms issued an order to fly flags on city buildings at half-staff.
The SEALs have not been one to shine a spotlight on what they have done, but their accomplishments drew the attention of so many, although the SEAL community has warned against putting too much focus on the SEALs. There are those who are now wondering whether the attack that killed so many of SEAL Team 6 could have been avoided.
Vivian Greentree of Blue Star Families, a military support group, shared: “Here, in a military community, these casualties are not just statistics… They are family members, neighbors, someone’s child. When something like this happens, it’s so immediate nobody has time to process any emotions. We’re still reeling and waiting for information.”