BRAVO ZULU to the US NAVY SEALS and our deepest condolences to the families of these splendid warriors. They were together with their " brothers " and valued K-9 companion. Now they are forever in our prayers.
Don't forget to honor the Navy SEALS who died in the line of duty
Michael Daly - NY DAILY NEWS
If you went to Ground Zero or Times Square or anywhere else to cheer and chant "U.S.A.! U.S.A.!" after Navy SEAL Team Six brought justice to Osama Bin Laden, go back there Sunday.
Go back and offer a moment of silence for the 22 men from SEAL Team Six and all the others aboard the helicopter that was shot down in Afghanistan yesterday.
SEAL Team Six is divided into four squadrons and the one aboard the helicopter was not the one that actually got Bin Laden, but it had long been part of the effort to track him down.
And, like the rest of the SEALs, they had continued to put themselves in harm's way after the crowds that chanted "U.S.A.! U.S.A.!" dispersed and went back to acting as if there were no war. The SEALs kept beings SEALs as we walked around as if nobody were risking all for our sake, as if we had no obligation to stand together as a nation behind them.
A dear friend of mine who trained with the SEAL Team Six after 9/11 ran into a member of the ill-fated squadron last month. The SEAL said he was deploying the next day, right after an all-important event.
"I'm going to be with my kids," the SEAL told my friend. "We're going to breakfast at McDonald's."
After breakfast with his kids, the SEAL headed off to Afghanistan, where his squadron was about to suffer such a terrible loss. My friend can only hope this particular SEAL was not aboard the helicopter, though that would mean it was someone else.
"You get a little selfish hoping it's not somebody that you know," my friend said.
The thought that so many SEALs had been lost was even harder to take now that Bin Laden was dead and our strategy in Afghanistan seems to be finding a way to extricate ourselves.
"A stopgap thing until we get out of there," my friend said. "It's not worth one of them, nevermind 22 of them, for a place you're going to walk away from."
Not that the SEALs complain or are one step slower in doing whatever is asked of them, no matter how dangerous.
With the loss of 22 SEALs along with eight other Americans and seven Afghan commandos came a reminder; in combat there is sometimes no protection even for the most highly trained and highly skilled warriors.
The bad guys knew when the Chinook helicopter swooped down into an Afghan valley that it would have to rise once those aboard were done. All the Taliban needed to do was wait on a mountainside.
The Chinook rose with a SEAL contingent that likely could have held off thousands of the enemy on the ground. The SEALs could do nothing in the air against an insurgent with a rocket.
"A moment of vulnerability," my friend said.
Among the SEALs were a dog handler and a dog that would remind outsiders of Cujo, but held a special place in the hearts of the squadron.
SEALs have a soft spot for their dogs, perhaps partly because a canine's keen senses can alert them to danger and give them a critical edge. A dog also allows resolutely reticent warriors to express a little affection; you can pet a pooch, if not another SEAL.
Many of the SEALs have a dog stateside. To take one on a mission may be like bringing along something of home. And home likely has taken on even deeper meaning as the long years of this war convinced ever more SEALs that they could not wait for it to end before starting a family. The tragedy is almost certainly compounded by children suddenly left without fathers.
With the loss of so many of our best warriors, we should honor them with a pledge to follow what is best in ourselves and therefore best for our country.
And, don't forget the ones that have remained out there long after those chants of "U.S.A.! U.S.A.!"