03 July 2005

Special Operations Soldier Rescued in the 'Stan

A member of the U.S Army Special Operations Command has been rescued after five days evading Taliban fighters: Special Ops Member Rescued in Afghanistan
One member of a U.S. special operations reconnaissance team missing in Afghanistan since Tuesday has been rescued, a U.S. official told CNN.

The team member "evaded the enemy and was successfully rescued by U.S. forces," said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

No other details were released because the search for other members of the team continues, the official said.

A helicopter crashed Tuesday while bringing reinforcements to the team, killing all 16 service members aboard.

The Pentagon, which believes the helicopter was downed by a rocket-propelled grenade, released the names of the eight soldiers and eight sailors Saturday.

It was the worst single-day death toll for U.S. forces since the Afghan war began nearly four years ago.

The small reconnaissance team had called for reinforcements during a battle with insurgents. It was the last contact the military received from the team until the weekend rescue.

When four Chinook transport helicopters bringing in reinforcements arrived at the scene, the team was not there, and no signs of blood or combat were evident, military officials said.

It was during the relief operation that one of the twin-rotor Chinooks crashed.

The crew of another chopper saw a smoke trail from an insurgent position, possibly indicating a missile or rocket had been fired. The helicopter went down soon after, officials said.

The Chinook that crashed was a MH-47, a variant of the standard CH-47. It is flown only by the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, according to Army officials. The regiment is assigned to the U.S. Army Special Operations Command.

The outfit is nicknamed "Night Stalkers" because of its focus on night operations. It is probably best known for its role in the 1993 operation in Somalia depicted in the book and movie "Black Hawk Down."

It appears that there is much more to this than just a SPECOPS Recon team. The resources committed to the Operation Red Wing suggests a very high-value target -- OBL or others high in the al Qaeda leadership. Winds of Change posts that "While this is purely speculation, the ferocity of the attack on the ground team, the composition of the US relief force, and the sophistication of the attack on the Night Stalker may indicate the ground team sniffed out an important node in the al Qaeda/Taliban chain of command. CENTCOM states units are moving to blocking positions to prevent the escape of the attacking unit. "

ROFASIX reports...The KIA on the downed MH-47 were eight Navy SEALs assigned to units in Norfolk, Virginia, and San Diego, California; seven soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, based at Hunter Army Airfield in Georgia; and one soldier from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

The KIA have been identified as:

  • Staff Sgt. Shamus O. Goare, 29, of Danville, Ohio.
  • Chief Warrant Officer Corey J. Goodnature, 35, of Clarks Grove, Minnesota.
  • Sgt. Kip A. Jacoby, 21, of Pompano Beach, Florida.
  • Sgt. 1st Class Marcus V. Muralles, 33, of Shelbyville, Indiana.
  • Maj. Stephen C. Reich, 34, of Washington Depot, Connecticut.
  • Sgt. 1st Class Michael L. Russell, 31, of Stafford, Virginia.
  • Chief Warrant Officer Chris J. Scherkenbach, 40, of Jacksonville, Florida.
  • Master Sgt. James W. Ponder III, 36, of Franklin, Tennessee (based at Fort Campbell, Kentucky).
  • Chief Petty Officer Jacques J. Fontan, 36, of New Orleans, Louisiana.
  • Senior Chief Petty Officer Daniel R. Healy, 36, of Exeter, New Hampshire.
  • Lt. Cmdr. Erik S. Kristensen, 33, of San Diego, California.
  • Petty Officer 1st Class Jeffery A. Lucas, 33, of Corbett, Oregon.
  • Lt. Michael M. McGreevy, Jr., 30, of Portville, New York.
  • Petty Officer 2nd Class James Suh, 28, of Deerfield Beach, Florida.
  • Petty Officer 1st Class Jeffrey S. Taylor, 30, of Midway, West Virginia.
  • Petty Officer Second Class Eric Shane Patton, 22, of Boulder City, Nevada.

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