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Published: Thursday, 8/11/2011

Pentagon releases names of those killed in copter crash

NEW YORK TIMES

The Pentagon released the names Thursday of the 30 U.S. military personnel, including 22 members of the Navy SEALs, killed last week when the Taliban shot down a Chinook transport helicopter in eastern Afghanistan, the largest loss of life in a single day during the decade-long war.

All 38 people aboard the helicopter died after it crashed Saturday in the Tangi Valley in Wardak province, a mountainous area west of Kabul.

In addition to the Navy SEALs, the dead included three Air Force Special Operations members; an Army helicopter crew of five; seven Afghan commandos; and an Afghan interpreter. A military dog also died.

The SEAL team, which included members of the elite counterterrorism unit that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in May, had been called in to support Army Rangers who were trying to capture or kill a Taliban leader and others believed responsible for planting roadside bombs. The Rangers were engaged in a firefight with insurgents.

The Chinook is believed to have been shot down with a rocket-propelled grenade, the military said. The military said it is investigating the SEAL mission, including determining the precise cause of the helicopter crash and the operation’s planning and execution.

The Pentagon said that within days of the downing of the helicopter, U.S. F-16 fighter jets attacked a residential compound in the same area, killing a group of insurgents thought to be have shot down the helicopter.

The military decided to release the names of the troops despite a request by the Special Operations Command to keep them secret, arguing that it was a security risk. But during the past several days, family members of the dead have confirmed the identities of several of the men.

Following is the list of victims:

— Lt. Cmdr. Jonas B. Kelsall, 32, of Shreveport, La.

— Special Warfare Operator Master Chief Petty Officer Louis J. Langlais, 44, of Santa Barbara, Calif.

— Special Warfare Operator Senior Chief Petty Officer Thomas A. Ratzlaff, 34, of Green Forest, Ark.

— Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician Senior Chief Petty Officer Kraig M. Vickers, 36, of Kokomo, Hawaii

— Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer Brian R. Bill, 31, of Stamford, Conn.

— Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer John W. Faas, 31, of Minneapolis.

— Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer Kevin A. Houston, 35, of West Hyannisport, Mass.

— Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer Matthew D. Mason, 37, of Kansas City, Mo.

— Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer Stephen M. Mills, 35, of Fort Worth, Texas

— Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician Chief Petty Officer Nicholas H. Null, 30, of Washington, W.Va.

— Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer Robert J. Reeves, 32, of Shreveport, La.

— Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer Heath M. Robinson, 34, of Detroit

— Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer First Class Darrik C. Benson, 28, of Angwin, Calif.

— Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer First Class Christopher G. Campbell, 36, of Jacksonville, N.C.

— Information Systems Technician Petty Officer First Class Jared W. Day, 28, of Taylorsville, Utah

— Master-at-Arms Petty Officer First Class John Douangdara, 26, of South Sioux City, Neb.

— Cryptologist Technician Petty Officer First Class Michael J. Strange, 25, of Philadelphia

— Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer First Class Jon T. Tumilson, 35, of Rockford, Iowa

— Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer First Class Aaron C. Vaughn, 30, of Stuart, Fla.

— Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer First Class Jason R. Workman, 32, of Blanding, Utah

— Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer First Class Jesse D. Pittman, 27, of Ukiah, Calif.

— Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer Second Class Nicholas P. Spehar, 24, of St. Paul, Minn.

— Chief Warrant Officer David R. Carter, 47, of Centennial, Colo.

— Chief Warrant Officer Bryan J. Nichols, 31, of Hays, Kan.

— Sgt. Patrick D. Hamburger, 30, of Lincoln, Neb.

— Sgt. Alexander J. Bennett, 24, of Tacoma, Wash.

— Spc. Spencer C. Duncan, 21, of Olathe, Kan.

— Tech. Sgt. John W. Brown, 33, of Tallahassee, Fla.

— Staff Sgt. Andrew W. Harvell, 26, of Long Beach, Calif.

— Tech. Sgt. Daniel L. Zerbe, 28, of York, Pa.



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