Friday, August 12, 2011

Fallen Heroes... Remembering the 30 US Troops who died last week in a helicopter crash

They were fathers... They were sons... They were brothers... They were friends.

They were among 30 US Special operations troops, 22 of which were Navy SEALs. They conduct clandestine missions behind enemy lines. They capture enemy targets and intelligence against impossible odds.

Hearing about people dying in war, or in combat, seems like a common occurrence; one that we rarely thrive on. But to the family members and close friends to the deceased, it is a different story...

August 6th will now be a day that will inspire memories of incredible and courageous individuals.

The New York Times reports that the helicopter containing the 30 US troops was shot down by insurgents using a rocket-propelled grenade in Eastern Afghanistan.

According to ABC News, all but two of the SEALs were from SEAL Team 6, the unit that killed Osama bin Laden, although military officials said none of the crash victims was on that mission in Pakistan against the al-Qaida leader.

Here are some of those that have fallen:

Every single one of these men had dreams. They dedicated their lives to the safety of our country, but they had goals beyond that. Most of them had so much life ahead of them. Their potential was endless. At such tender ages, possessing so much promise, it just makes the death of these troops that much more heart wrenching.

Their legacy thrives, but what they are leaving behind may be the hardest to swallow.

Special Warfare Operator Thomas Ratzlaff, 34, is leaving behind two sons, a wife, and an unborn child. How can one fathom that? Each person has a story. Each man has a family that is mourning a fallen hero.

Even though the loss of these troops should not impact our power in the war itself, the emotional impact on the troops is the most devastating blow of all.

As a side note, this hits close to home. As the daughter of a former Navy Seal, and the cousin of a brave member of the US Navy, I couldn't imagine the loss of one of them. My heart goes out to those who have lost their brothers, fathers, husbands and friends.

My grandfather

My cousin Andrew, in Iraq.

My Uncle Bob is on the left, my dad, as a Navy Seal, is on the right.

Here is another picture of my cousin, Andrew, in Iraq.