- Sep 18, 2018
- Western North Carolina
August 6th is a somber day in the Naval Special Warfare community as we remember Extortion 17. "Extortion 17" was the call sign of the Chinook helicopter (MH-47) carrying our U.S. Navy SEAL operators as a QRF (Quick Reaction Force) to aid our Army Ranger brothers on a target site in the Tangi Valley, Afghanistan.
The Chinook was shot down in the early morning hours of August 6, 2011 by a rocket-propelled grenade fired by Taliban forces in the Valley of Wardak Province. The subsequent helicopter crash happened on infiltration (Infil), approximately 100–150 feet off the ground, just before landing.
Extortion 17 was the single largest loss-of-life suffered by U.S. Navy SEALs in the Afghan war–and the history of Naval Special Warfare.
A few of us SEALs at the Navy SEAL Museum worked closely with and knew these warriors well. These were the best operators in the SEAL Teams, and any man would have been honored to serve beside them in combat, as many did! The ramifications of this great loss were felt across the community. It took a decade to try to fill the operational void, though these elite men could never be replaced.
As we remember the SEALs, Army aircrew, K9 handler, Afghan Partnering Unit members, and a U.S. military dog, let us never forget their sacrifice, and that of their families. This August 6th, raise a glass and salute these brave men who went into harm’s way to help their brothers. Never forget!