By Jim LeMay, CNN
Editor's note: Jim LeMay is the CNN Weekend Managing editor. He is from a long established military family with six relatives currently serving in the U.S. armed forces around the world. He is a graduate of the New Mexico Military Institute and worked as a news videographer in a number of war-torn countries. He currently serves with the Georgia State Defense Force on a search and rescue team and volunteers his time at Fort Stewart, Georgia.
(CNN) - The loss of the 22 Navy SEALs is jaw dropping.
They were among 30 U.S. troops killed when a helicopter went down this weekend in the most deadly single incident for American forces since the Afghan war began nearly 10 years ago. More than 1,500 U.S. servicemen and women have died in the conflict. Each of these deaths is every bit as tragic as what happened Saturday.
What sets this incident apart is the combat role of the SEALs and the esteem in which they are held, especially in military circles.
The embedding of journalists in fighting units has put a face on this war and brought the solider experience home - but the SEALs, who specialize in covert operations, don't allow embedded journalists.
So look at it this way: What if we had lost 22 NFL players with half of them being Heisman trophy winners? Or think if we had lost 22 major league baseball players? There's a direct correlation because professional athletes are good examples of the kind of elite status bestowed on the SEALs.