[UPDATE] 8-11 11am -
DOD Identifies Service Members Killed In CH-47 Crash
The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of 30 servicemembers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. They died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when their CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.
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.,
Special Warfare Operator Master Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Louis J. Langlais, 44, of Santa Barbara, Calif.,
Special Warfare Operator Senior Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Thomas A. Ratzlaff, 34, of Green Forest, Ark.,
Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician Senior Chief Petty Officer (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist/Freefall Parachutist) Kraig M. Vickers 36, of Kokomo, Hawaii,
Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Brian R. Bill, 31, of Stamford, Conn.,
Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) John W. Faas, 31, of Minneapolis, Minn.,
Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Kevin A. Houston, 35, of West Hyannisport, Mass.,
Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Matthew D. Mason, 37, of Kansas City, Mo.,
Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Stephen M. Mills, 35, of Fort Worth, Texas,
Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician Chief Petty Officer (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist/Freefall Parachutist/Diver) Nicholas H. Null, 30, of Washington, W.Va.,
Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Robert J. Reeves, 32, of Shreveport, La.,
Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Heath M. Robinson, 34, of Detroit, Mich.,
Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Darrik C. Benson, 28, of Angwin, Calif.
Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL/Parachutist) Christopher G. Campbell, 36, of Jacksonville, N.C.,
Information Systems Technician Petty Officer 1st Class (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist/Freefall Parachutist) Jared W. Day, 28, of Taylorsville, Utah,
Master-at-Arms Petty Officer 1st Class (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist) John Douangdara, 26, of South Sioux City, Neb.,
Cryptologist Technician (Collection) Petty Officer 1st Class (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist) Michael J. Strange, 25, of Philadelphia, Pa.,
Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL/Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist) Jon T. Tumilson, 35, of Rockford, Iowa,
Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Aaron C. Vaughn, 30, of Stuart, Fla., and
Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Jason R. Workman, 32, of Blanding, Utah.
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., and
Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 2nd Class (SEAL) Nicholas P. Spehar, 24, ofSaint Paul, Minn.
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.;
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.;
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.;
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.; and
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.
The airmen killed were:
Tech. Sgt. John W. Brown, 33, of Tallahassee, Fla.;
Staff Sgt. Andrew W. Harvell, 26, of Long Beach, Calif.; and
Tech. Sgt. Daniel L. Zerbe, 28, of York, Pa.
All three airmen were assigned to the 24th Special Tactics Squadron, Pope Field, N.C.
[UPDATE] Kabul, Afghanistan
A total of 38 people were killed in the helicopter crash in Afghanistan on August 6, including 22 U.S. Navy SEALS, 5 U.S. Army air crewmen, three U.S. Air Force airmen and 8 Afghans.
Here is a partial list of American servicemen killed Saturday in the crash. (The Department of Defense has not released the names yet)
Aaron Carson Vaughn, SEAL Team 6, from Tennessee (AP)
Jon Tumlinson, SEAL, from Iowa (AP)
John Brown, SEAL, from Siloam Springs, Ark. (AP)
Debris remains at the site where a US helicopter crashed in southern Afghanistan, killing 38 people. (11 August)
Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) --
Most of those killed when a Chinook helicopter crashed in eastern Afghanistan overnight were U.S. Navy SEALS, two U.S. government officials said, citing first reports.
"It's a big loss" for the SEALS," an official said. "The numbers are high."
"It is believed that about two dozen Special Operations Forces, including some from other services, were on board the aircraft, in addition to the Army crew flying the craft."
If the numbers are confirmed, the incident would be the most deadly for coalition forces in the Afghan war, according to a CNN count of international troop deaths.
The forces have been conducting almost daily night-time raids against insurgent targets throughout Afghanistan. Saturday's crash took place in the eastern province of Wardak, an area rife with insurgent activity. There has been a swell of recent attacks in the country's southern and eastern provinces.
Saturday's NATO crash is believed to have left more than two dozen U.S. troops dead, which would make it the war's worst single-day loss, according to a CNN count. Here are previous large-scale losses.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai issued a statement saying as many as 31 U.S. special forces and seven Afghans were killed and offered "deep regret" to U.S. President Barack Obama.
"My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and loved ones of the Americans who were lost earlier today in Afghanistan," Obama said in a statement. "We also mourn the Afghans who died alongside our troops in pursuit of a more peaceful and hopeful future for their country."
The Taliban claimed militants downed the helicopter with a rocket-propelled grenade. Mohammad Hazrat Janan, head of the provincial council said Tangi village elders reported that insurgents shot at the craft when it was flying back from an operation.
The crash comes just as NATO is drawing down and handing over security control to national forces. Ten thousand U.S. soldiers are scheduled to depart by year's end, while the full drawn-down is expected to take place by the end of 2014.
Officials are being especially tight-lipped because recovery operations at the site are still under way and body identifications and family notifications are just beginning, the U.S. military official said.
NATO's International Security Assistance Force has not said how the incident occurred. ISAF spokesman Justin Brockhoff confirmed the crash and acknowledged the helicopter had been flying in area where there was reported insurgent activity, but declined to offer additional details.
The U.S. Embassy in Kabul, which said the crash occurred Friday evening, said ISAF "is still assessing the circumstances that resulted in these deaths."
Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman Zahir Azimi said it's too early to say if the Taliban caused the crash. He called for an investigation.
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen hailed the coalition soldiers in Afghanistan and "honor their sacrifices."
"We are determined to stay the course, especially in this crucial period when Afghan and international security forces are working closer than ever to make transition a success," he said.
Last month, a NATO helicopter was brought down by insurgent fire in the country's eastern province of Kunar. The Taliban also claimed responsibility for that attack, though no injuries were reported.
In a separate incident, a NATO service member died Saturday after an improvised explosive device detonated in southern Afghanistan.
Elsewhere Saturday, a joint Afghan and coalition force conducted raids in the eastern province of Nangarhar, killing "several insurgents," NATO reported.
The operation also targeted a "Taliban facilitator," who NATO says was responsible for supplying ammunition and bomb-making materials to the Taliban.
In July, a series of gun battles in Nangarhar between insurgents and NATO forces left at least 10 militants dead.
Currently, there are 150,000 ISAF forces in Afghanistan, including nearly 100,000 from the United States -- the largest NATO presence in the region since the U.S.-led war began in 2001.