Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Two More Heroes Return Home

Petty Officer 2nd Class Danny P. Dietz
25, of Littleton, CO.
Dietz was assigned to SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team Two, Virginia Beach, VA.

Lt. Michael P. Murphy
29, of Patchogue, NY
Murphy was assigned to SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team One, Pearl Harbor, HA.

The Department of Defense (Defenselink) announced today the death of two SEALs who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in Operation Red Wing in Afghanistan. The remains were recovered in a treacherous mountain area of Afghanistan

The two were part of the four-man SEAL team that was missing since June 28, 2005. One team member was rescued. He was wounded, but alive. Search and rescue operations continue for the last SEAL team member.

Murphy and Dietz died while conducting counter-terrorism operations in Kunar Province, Afghanistan. Coalition forces located the service members while conducting a combat search and rescue operation July 4 in Kunar Province.

Daniel Cooney, AP writer, reports that "[t]he last radio contact was an urgent appeal for help. Night was falling, a rainstorm threatening, and four Navy SEAL commandos were surrounded by about a dozen militants in rugged, wooded mountains. They needed reinforcements.

"The four commandos...were on a reconnaissance mission...searching for Taliban-led rebels and al-Qaida fighters...

"The eastern province has long been a hotbed of militant activity and a haven for fighters loyal to renegade former premier Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who is wanted by the United States. U.S. officials said al-Qaida fighters also were in the region.

"The region's rugged, wooded mountains are popular with militants because they are easy to infiltrate from neighboring Pakistan and have plenty of places to hide.

"The SEAL team... [was] attacked by a "pretty large force of enemy terrorists" and radioed for reinforcements.

"After the radio call for help, eight Navy SEALs and an eight-member crew from the Army's 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, known as the Night Stalkers, flew toward the mountains in a special forces MH-47 Chinook helicopter."

One of the responding Chinooks was shot down killing all 16 aboard (see previous posts.)

Though excitement and anxiety have given way to mourning and resignation, Danny Dietz and Michael Murphy, are no less heroes than their brother warriors. Do not dismiss their service and sacrifice because they were not found earlier. There is one man still unaccounted for; he must also be honored.

This isn't over.

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