Tag Archives: devgru

A Grievous Loss: CH-47 with 31 Americans believed Shot Down during Combat Operation in Afghanistan

CH-47 Making a Rooftop Pickup in Afghanistan

Yesterday a U.S. Army CH-47F helicopter from the elite 160th Aviation Regiment was shot down during a combat operation in Afghanistan’s Tangi Valley in the troubled Wardak Province killing 31 American Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen and 8 Afghan soldiers.U.S. officials have not confirmed the circumstances of how the aircraft was lost but a senior official speaking on condition of anonymity said it was apparently shot down said that 22 SEALS from SEAL Team 6 based inVirginia BeachVirginia, 3 Air Force Air Controllers, a dog handler and his dog and the air crew.

The Taliban have claimed the shoot down occurred when NATO forces were engaged in a heavy raid against their forces which were gathering in the Sayd Abad district and the head of the Afghan Police in the Province claimed that there was a two hour battle in the town of Jaw-e-mekh Zareen.  The Taliban official claimed that the aircraft was downed by a rocket propelled grenade as it was taking off from the roof of a building.  The Taliban official Zabihullah Mujahid said that 8 Taliban fighters were killed in the fight.

This morning I received a call from the chaplain that is my assistant at our hospital. She has the duty this weekend because I have had such a difficult time getting around when called in late on Wednesday night for the death of a newborn baby.  Since she was the duty she received the page that she was needed to accompany a Casualty Assistance Call Officer (CACO) to notify the family of one of these SEALS who lived in the local area.  We will be providing more assistance over the course of the coming weeks.  When she told me about the call I knew that it was in response to the SEALS lost in the crash because Sailors assigned to Marine units who become casualties are taken care of by their Marine Corps commands and the Navy Chaplains assigned to them. I thank God that I have been blessed having such an outstanding young Chaplain assigned to me.

This is a terrible loss of brave men and tragedy for their loved ones and shipmates.  That kind of loss tears a gaping hole in a small community.  Just on the practical side one does not produce the kind of skilled Special Operators assigned to SEAL Team Six, or DEVGRU overnight, these are the best of the best. They do not grow on trees.

The SEAL community will recover as they have done before but this loss hurts.  It hurts because even more because as a nation we don’t understand the war or how such sacrifices actually contribute to our national security.  We don’t even seem to know how we define “winning” or even if we can define what a “win” would look like if we can achieve it now.  I know combat hardened Marines who now fight for their fellow Marines and their brotherhood of war.   The same is true of Soldiers and Sailors that I know.  I would go to Afghanistan tomorrow if called in order to serve my fellow Sailors, Marines and Soldiers because for me after 10 years the war is personal.

I find it troubling that there are those that continue to act like cheerleaders and act as if the limited numbers of troops available can do a counterinsurgency mission that by doctrine requires far more troops, resources and time to do right and a national will to win.  The reality is we do not have the forces, the resources or the national will to “win” and we know from history that even winning militarily cannot be sustained unless Afghanistan itself changes and that history shows at best unlikely.

I am reminded of the words of General John Buford in opening part of the movie Gettysburg when I hear those that do the cheerleading from their comfortable political offices and think tank chairs when tragedies like this occur.

“They’ll be on his back in Washington. Wire hot with messages ‘Attack! Attack!” So he will set up a ring around these hills. And when Lee’s army is nicely entrenched behind fat rocks on the high ground, Meade will finally attack, if he can coordinate the army. Straight up the hillside, out in the open, in that gorgeous field of fire. We will charge valiantly… and be butchered valiantly! And afterwards men in tall hats and gold watch fobs will thump their chest and say what a brave charge it was…”

The cheerleaders may not wear tall hats anymore or have gold watch fobs. Instead they wear Armani suits and Rolexes. They always praise the bravery of the military from their luxurious perches as they gaze into the cameras of the parasitic media which only sees the story.  We will see hundreds of members of the Unholy Trinity of politicians, pundits and preachers thump their chest and praise the bravery of the SEALS and the Soldiers and Airmen that died alongside them in that ill fated Chinook on that tragic night over the next week, but this will fade quickly as these people go about the business of maintaining their power and position no matter what happens on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq.

I have spent the day pondering the sacrifice of these men and praying for their loved ones and shipmates.  Since I have flown many night missions in Chinooks in Iraq including one that took fire I can readily imagine the last moments of these men.

I pray for the souls of these men and that somehow in tragedy that their loved ones and shipmates will find some measure of peace as they mourn the sacrifice of these heroes. I pray that we as their neighbors will do all that we can to help them.


Padre Steve+

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Filed under iraq,afghanistan, Military, national security, US Navy

Thoughts on the Well Deserved Death of Osama Bin Laden and some Christian’s Crocodile Tears for his Soul

Note: This is one of my Denny Crane moments indulge me

Osama Bin Laden got his just deserts yesterday at the hands of the Navy SEALS of Seal Team Six known simply as DEVGRU to those that have served in the SEAL and EOD community.  A head shot and a chest shot and Osama was off to meet his 72 Virginians via Davy Jones Locker.  Rumor has it that a pack of sharks trolling behind the USS Carl Vinson for lunch noted his enshrouded body sinking into the depths and passed on it leaving it to sink to the depths to be devoured by bottom feeding creatures.  When they were asked why they didn’t chow down on the murderous yahoo from Yemen one was quoted as saying “He gave our profession a bad name.”

All kidding aside I am glad he is gone and if I could have been in Washington DC, at Ground Zero or at the Phillies Mets game http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/blog/big_league_stew/post/Video-Phillies-fans-chant-8216-U-S-A-8217-?urn=mlb-wp5081  I would have partied all night long and I cannot imagine any American or for that matter any decent human being not celebrating this.  The good guys got a win for once and we should celebrate we deserve it. We haven’t had much to celebrate since September 11th 2001 and this is as good of occasion as any.

Now I know that I’m going to get some crap from some readers that this is not a Christian attitude and I will admit that they are probably right.  I know this to be a fact because I saw absolutely idiot comments from some of my Christian friends on a social ministry sight almost shedding crocodile tears about Bin Laden’s death saying that God doesn’t take any joy in the death of the unrighteous but if you are a good Old Testament type Calvinist, which by the way I am not by any means, you can interpret parts of the Old Testament as God having one big party as he has his people whack and shwack their enemies ethnically cleansing whole cities so they might have a place to live. Heck the Psalmist even rejoiced in bashing babies heads against big rocks.  Not a very pro-life sounding message there but it is the Old Testament and happens to be in vogue among some parts of Evangelicalism.  Thus to hear some of the same people who love to use these “imprecatory prayers” against fellow Americans on the opposite side of the political aisle cry these faux tears over the soul of Bin Laden it makes me sick.

The man was a brutal killer and thug who killed thousands of our own people and thousands of others, many which were his fellow Moslems.  Some of these folks such as Pat Robertson, the late Jerry Falwell and even the recently deceased David Wilkerson and others even told us back after 9-11 that it was “God’s judgment on this county.”  I remember the aftermath of the September 11th 2011 attacks and seeing the internet for the first time in days after being locked down aboard Camp LeJeune NC. I was aghast to see some of these men and others that this was God’s judgment on America.  Of course when many of their own congregations and donors objected most retreated from their positions with immense “mea culpa” moments.

Back in the 1960s it was the liberals that said we were the bad guys for Vietnam and punished those that served in that war.  Now days it is a bit different especially because we have a Democrat in the White House, a black one without a good American name like Bob we have conservative Christians acting like the liberals of the 1960s crying over the death Che Guevara and extolling the Chinese “Cultural Revolution.” For some reasons and I can’t imagine why there seems to be such a loathing of their own country by such people. Sure we are not perfect and we have messed up a lot. If you read this site I am not uncritical of various actions of different Presidents, Congress or any part of our government and some of our actions around the world.  We’re not a perfect nation but but we still are one of the best shows in town. But I’ll tell you what I love this country and continue to serve her and defend the rights of all Americans to hold views about the country that I personally distain. But that is why I love the Good Old USA because we don’t have to agree to be Americans; well at least that’s what I think.  But sometimes when I see comments like this crying for Bin Laden’s soul and condemning the country I wonder what the hell is going on. I see them criticize the very country that gives them the right to criticize their government with impunity, even using the “judgment of God card” as they wish.  In fact that is why the Pilgrims and other English Separatists came here so they could criticize the crown without being harassed and ensured that those that disagreed with them couldn’t do so safely without having to go establish the Rhode Island Colony like Roger Williams did.  But I digress….

When I see such comments mourning Bin Laden or assuming that God’s judgment is on America I feel my inner Colonel Nathan R. Jessup rising up especially when I see so few of them flocking to the colors and run to the recruiting stations saying “here I am send me Sir!” You see it is so easy to theologize and criticize but so much harder to put your life on the line. However if you secretly loathe the country it is easy to condemn those charged with protecting it from the Commander in Chief down, especially when you claim God as your authority.  I love this quote from the great film A Few Good Men coming from Colonel Jessup played most delightfully by Jack Nicholson and I think it suits my mood right about now:

“Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinburg? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago, and you curse the marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That Santiago’s death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand a post. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you are entitled to.” 

Now our forces from the Commander in Chief down did their jobs and did them well in providing Bin Laden an exit from his internet less misery in Pakistan.  I for one celebrate this event. If this makes me somehow less spiritual or Christian so be it. I am an American and Osama Bin Laden was our enemy personified. So go ahead and weep for Bin Laden if you wish my fellow Christians. Pray for his soul but let the rest of us enjoy a moment of victory in this painful and long war in which so many Americans and others have died because of the actions of Osama Bin Laden and his minions.  Don’t piss on their memory by feeling bad that Bin Laden didn’t get a chance to meet Jesus in this world.

Yes I’m a bit snarky today but I haven’t forgotten September 11th and I am glad that so many Americans are overjoyed by this. For once we got one in the win column.  We’re entitled to celebrate because we get to go back on the field tomorrow and hopefully whack some more of Bin Laden’s slugs.


Padre Steve+


Filed under christian life, Foreign Policy, History, iraq,afghanistan, middle east, Military, national security, philosophy, purely humorous, US Navy