"Operation Red Wings"
June 28th will be the 7th Anniversary of a Counter-Insurgent mission called "Operation Red Wing" in Kunar Province, Afghanistan. That night a group of 5 United States Navy SEALs were inserted by a MH-47 Chinook helicopter a few miles from the village the suspect they were searching for was located. They went to a pre-planned point to observe the village till daylight, in the dark and pouring rain they waited. Due to the weather and angle of view the next morning they decided to move to another location.
After relocating to their new post 3 local goat herders and their goats walked upon them. Due to their location, in the mountain they could not contact their HQ for guidance on what to do so a vote was taken. The vote was probably a way of getting input from the Team so a decision could be made. One voted to kill the men who they thought would tell the Taliban, one abstained and one voted to let them go. It was decided to release them since they had no rope or means to secure them.
After their release, the Team continued to try to contact HQ's for an extraction but contact could not be made. After about an hour, 30 – 200 Afghan fighters (depending on the source you use) confronted the SEALs. After about a 45 minute firefight all 5 SEALs had sustained gunshot wounds or injuries. Lt. Michael P Murphy, even though he had been shot in the abdomen, knew their radio had been disabled and decided to try to save his men by moving into a clear area and while returning fire made a cell phone call to get support.
050628-N-0000X-001 United States Navy file photo of Navy SEALs operating in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. From left to right, Sonar Technician (Surface) 2nd Class Matthew G. Axelson, of Cupertino, Calif; Senior Chief Information Systems Technician Daniel R. Healy, of Exeter, N.H.; Quartermaster 2nd Class James Suh, of Deerfield Beach, Fla.; Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Marcus Luttrell; Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class Eric S. Patton, of Boulder City, Nev.; and Lt. Michael P. Murphy, of Patchogue, N.Y. With the exception of Luttrell, all were killed June 28, 2005, by enemy forces while supporting Operation Redwing.
After a battle of about 2 hours three SEALs were dead (Lt. Michael P Murphy – STGW2 Matthew Axelson, GM2 Danny Dietz) and HM2 Marcus Luttrell was injured and shot in the leg. Luttrell with a spinal injury was blown off the mountain by a rocket-propelled grenade. The call had been received and an MH-47D helicopter, four UH-60 Black Hawks and two AH64D Longbows arrived to attempt a rescue.
The MH-47 helicopter was carrying 8 SEALs and 8 160th Night Stalkers when it was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade causing the pilot to loose control and crash killing all 16 aboard. This was the largest single loss of life in Naval Special Warfare since World War II.
Marcus was found by an Afghan shepherd and taken to a village that cared for and protected him. On July 2, an elder of the village set out on a trip to Camp Blessing with a note from Marcus. The Marine outpost was located a few miles from the village and the note along with info on the village was delivered to a First Lieutenant. Marcus was rescued from the village and all the bodies from the helicopter and the SEALs in the firefight were recovered.
Those aboard the helicopter were:
US Navy SEALs
FCC Jacques J. Fontan
ITCS Daniel R. Healy
LCDR Erik S Kristensen
ET Jeffery A Lucas
Lt Michael W. McGreevy, Jr.
QM2 James E. Suh
HM1 Jeffery S Taylor
MM@ Shane E. Patton
From the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment
SSgt. Shamus O. Goare
CWO3 Corey J. Goodnature
Sgt. Kip A. Jacoby
SFC Marcus V. Muralles
MSgt. James W. Ponder III
Maj. Stephen C. Reich
SFC Michael L Russell
CWO4 Chris J Scherkenbach
Please keep the Families of these Fine Young Men and all the Men and Women in the United States Navy and all the other Military Branches in you Hearts, Thoughts and Prayers. If not for them you and I would not be able to write and read about this story and many other Freedoms we have here in the Great United States of America.