August 7th, 2011
05:00 AM ET

Deadly day for military elite

By CNN's Adam Levine

The circumstances surrounding the shooting down of the Chinook are still murky but what is known is that it ended with the deadliest day yet for U.S. troops in Afghanistan. The death toll by Saturday evening was at 30, including more than two dozen special operations forces.

The troops were en route to help another unit pinned down by enemy fire in eastern Afghanistan, and the belief is that it was enemy fire that took down the Chinook that carried the elite forces, according to sources.

Click here for the latest reporting from Barbara Starr, David Ariosto and the rest of the National Security team

Of the special operations forces killed, 22 were Navy SEALs. Many were fellow forces of the elite team that took down Osama bin Laden. As much as bin Laden's killing was a high point for the covert troops, Saturday's devastation is yet another painful chapter in the lives lost by U.S. and NATO forces over the last 10 years.

Working below the radar, special forces are a key part of the U.S. mission with scant attention or publicity. Special Operations run about a dozen missions a night in Afghanistan, according to Eric Olson, Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, making
rare public comments at an event last month.

"Every night, dozens of times," Olson told an audience at a national security conference in July. The missions are often to go after what are known as high-value targets.

"Ground forces getting on helicopter and flying against a target," Olson said. "This has become habit."

Questions will arise as to why the troops were on board a single Chinook, the graceless workhorse of a troop carrier, and not a more specialized helicopter like the noise-dampening, stealth-capable one now known to have been used in the raid on bin Laden's compound.

But the details of the mission provide some of that answer. This was not, according to sources, a raid but a response to help fellow troops pinned down. In that case, the Chinook is often the transport of choice.

"It goes about 175 miles an hour, can hold up to 55 troops. It's a workhorse," Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, retired, told CNN on Saturday. "If you have a mission that requires a large number of forces to get on the ground quickly to prosecute the mission, for that type of environment, probably nothing is better."

The bin Laden raid itself was the apex of a force rebuilt after a failure to rescue hostages being held in Iran, or as Olson said last month, "a failed attempt by this nation to put a ground force on helicopter and fly them into a hostile environment."

His description was not so different from Saturday's catastrophic mission, whose impact will raise many questions as to the speed with which the U.S. is looking to draw down its troops from Afghanistan.

Post by:
Filed under: Afghanistan • Military • Navy SEALs • Special Operations Forces • Taliban
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. reXteryalizer

    Want to thank all of you, for your Powerfull stand against Oboma & His Corrupted political partners.
    But

    there is so much more we can do. Being aggressive and focusing on the facts and truth is only the first step.

    We musT follow Up with more details standing by our convictions and dont back down.

    Oboma has NOT brought CHANGE, In fact ~! ~ THE ONLY real THING needing CHANGE !....Was Barack Hussein Obama II.

    HIMSELF

    Barack Hussein Obama II ( Who hates American Values ) who is A " SELF PROCLAIMED Enemy" ~of responsible, Morally Conscious HARD WORKING Americans.

    oBOMAS Irresponsible & DRUG MAFIA and reckless supporters KNOW~ that Barack Hussein Obama II, WILL FORCE YOU to paY THEM, out of your PockeT .{ FOR all of their UNCHECKED Vices and THRILLS/

    { All on YOU | /

    At your COST & Sacrifice

    ...This UN~CHANGABLE fraud, has done His VERY BEST to Inspire VIOLENCE. For THESE ARE OBAMAS Very OWN WORDS.. saying .........To his supporters.

    Saying “Get ready for hand-to-hand combat with your Fellow Americans”

    – Obama has ALSO DECLARED to his Supporters....“I want all Americans to get in each others faces!– Obama demands !

    “You bring a knife to a fight pal, we’ll bring a gun” –

    THESE ARE OBAMAS OWN WORDS.. /and ANGER VIOLENCE and more taxes..... THIS IS OBAMAS Change for america

    /“Hit Back Twice As Hard”. He commands !*Obama on the private sector: ~~ “We talk to these folks…~ / so I know whose a*$ to KICK.“ OBOMA wants to KICK your a*$ /

    Shouting THAT Republican victory would mean ~ “hand to hand combat”

    HE IS EXPECTING people to be on Edge and BORDERLINE killing MODE, VIOLENT / and STAND up for their immoral CAUSES

    THIS IS WHAT HE LIVES FOR ./ ./ ./ THESE ARE OBAMAS OWN WORDS.. !

    * Obama Tells democrats: “ I’m itching for a fight.” !

    ....PLEASE.... go to reXes NEW WebsiTe ~ ! Oboma *( Just like Adolf Hitler~~\oBOMA~~~ Demands ! - [ THE FINAL SOLUTION – for Un~Wanted Children

    Barak Obama is A MURDERER .~Torturing UNWANTED babys on DEATH ROE

    CLICK HERE http://obomlnation.webstarts.com/index.html

    OBAMA TAKES a little NEW BORN innocent child. BORN. ALIVE sTabS it iN the head SUCKs ITS BRAINS OUT.

    This is just to wrong and horrible. Please stand for Loving Children and the USA.

    January 17, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Reply
  2. reXteryalizer

    Oboma has NOT brought CHANGE, In fact ~~ THE ONLY real THING

    needing CHANGE !

    Was Barack Hussein Obama II.

    Barack Hussein Obama II ( Who hates American Values )

    Who who is A " SELF PROCLAIMED Enemy " ~ of responsible, Morally

    Conscious HARD WORKING Americans.

    oBOMAS supporters KNOW~ that Barack Hussein Obama II, WILL FORCE

    YOU to paY THEM, out of your PockeT ....

    This UN~CHANGABLE fraud, has done His VERY BEST to Inspire VIOLENCE.

    THESE ARE OBAMAS OWN WORDS.. saying “Bring it on” To his

    supporters.

    Oboma ~ Demands Saying “Get ready for hand-to-hand combat with

    your fellow Americans”

    – Obama has ALSO DECLARED to his Supporters

    “I want all Americans to get in each others faces!–

    Obama demands !

    “You bring a knife to a fight pal, we’ll bring a gun” – Obama Cant wait to

    get everybody involved in some kind OF CONFRONTATION of some sort....

    THESE ARE OBAMAS OWN WORDS..

    Obama has ALSO DECLARED "Republicans are our enemies"-

    ** Obama on ACORN Mobs: “I don’t want to quell anger. I think people

    are right to be angry! I’m angry!”

    ANGER VIOLENCE and more taxes..... THIS IS OBAMAS Change for america

    /“Hit Back Twice As Hard”. He commands !

    THESE ARE OBAMAS Very OWN

    WORDS..

    *Obama on the private sector: ~~ “We talk to these folks…~ / so I

    know whose ass to KICK.“
    OBOMA wants to KICK your ass /

    Shouting THAT Republican victory would mean ~ “hand to hand

    combat”

    HE IS EXPECTING people to kill & BE VIOLENT / for their

    immoral CAUSES

    THIS IS WHAT HE LIVES FOR
    THESE ARE OBAMAS OWN WORDS..
    * Obama Tells democrats: “ I’m itching for a

    fight.” !

    PLEASE go to reXes NEW WebsiTe ~ ! Oboma *( Just like Adolf Hitler~~

    In that oBOMA~~~ Demands ! - [ THE FINAL SOLUTION –

    ~ For

    Un~Wanted Children

    Barak Obama A MURDERER .~Torturing UNWANTED babys on DEATH ROE

    http://obomanationinfanticide.sharepoint.com/Pages/default.aspx

    OBAMA supports TAKING a little NEW BORN innocent child.. / BORN. ALIVE

    ~

    sTabing it iN the head & SUCKs ITS BRAINS OUT.

    He also demands, that a Child SURVIVING a FAILED ABORTION, Has no

    RIGHT to Life or medical care.

    August 8, 2011 at 5:13 am | Reply
  3. Army Veteran

    It is time to get a citizen based decision team in place for the military. The military leaders decided as standard procedure to jam 30+ into one aircraft. This means a huge body count when it is shot down. Citizen board would force the military to put no more than 5 per aircraft or some number that reduces total loss. And provide attack support. ( Apache, Cobra, etc). As the most advanced military in the world we showed our ignorance on this operation.

    August 7, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Reply
  4. Justin

    Go rest the souls of all of the soldiers we lost that day.

    On another note, I know he is a General, but he is way wrong about the chinook. It can actually go almost 200 mph, and it's max troop load by the book is 33 fully loaded troops crew (5-7), and maybe 1-3 extras, but that's it. 55? WAY too many

    August 7, 2011 at 11:10 am | Reply
  5. tomerl

    My heart with the families
    May you never know sorrow again

    August 7, 2011 at 10:11 am | Reply

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.