Virginia-Based Seal Team Members in Crash: Report - NBC4 Washington

Virginia-Based Seal Team Members in Crash: Report

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    More than 20 Navy Seals died in the helicopter crash that killed 31 in Afghanistan yesterday.

    Some of those Seals were members of the Virginia-based Seal Team 6, the AP first reported Saturday.

    Defense officials told the AP that in addition to the Seals, 5 Army air crew, a Special Operations Forces airman, and a dog were among the other American casualties.  Seven Afghan soldiers and one interpreter also went down in the helicopter crash.

    Sources told the AP that this was the largest single loss of life for Seal Team 6, also known as the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, in the unit's history.  An initial investigation indicates the helicopter was shot down by insurgents in eastern Afghanistan.

    Conflicting reports came out about whether any of the Seal Team 6 members that died in the crash had participated in the raid on Osama Bin Laden. 

    A senior defense offical told NBC News that the team in the helicopter was "on their way to a mission" at the time of the crash, in Wardak Province.   Officials confirmed that a CH-47 Chinook helicopter went down during an overnight raid that took place in the Tangi Joy Zarin area of Wardak's Sayd Abad district, about 60 miles southwest of Kabul.

    Two separate officals told NBC that the cause of the crash was hostile fire, however, the investigation continues.

    A Taliban official told NBC the crash happened while the helicopter was attacking one of its compounds, however, the Taliban frequently exaggerates or lies.

    "Their deaths are a reminder of the extraordinary sacrifices made by the men and women of our military and their families, including all who have served in Afghanistan,'' President Obama said Saturday.

    Former Virginia governor Tim Kaine said in a release, "Their sacrifice will not be forgotten and their deaths should be a reminder to all Americans that our freedom and security is neither free nor secure."

    Current Virginia governor Bob McDonnel said, "When news such as this comes across our televisions, Virginians know it is not a distant matter."