Leaders Offer Condolences in Wake of Helicopter Crash
Leaders Offer Condolences in
Wake of Helicopter Crash
By Cheryl Pellerin, American
Forces Press Service.
Washington D.C. -- August 8, 2011 -- (NNS)
-- Senior U.S. leaders extended condolences Aug. 6 to the families of American
and Afghan forces lost in an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)
helicopter crash in eastern Afghanistan.
Toms River, New Jersey. (Sept. 30,
2010) Navy SEALs from all over the country took turns pounding the Tridents
taken from their uniforms into the casket of Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) 3rd
Class Denis Miranda during his funeral. One Special Forces operator placed his
Special Forces patch on the casket. Miranda was one of nine service members
killed when the helicopter in which they were traveling crashed in Zabul
Province in Southern Afghanistan Sept. 21.
Thirty ISAF service members, a civilian interpreter and seven
Afghan commandos were killed when a coalition CH-47 Chinook crashed earlier
today, ISAF Joint Command officials said in a news release. All of the ISAF
service members on board were from the United States.
The incident, officials said, represents the highest number
of U.S. forces killed during a single event in support of Operation Enduring
An investigation is under way to determine the exact cause of
the crash, officials added, noting that additional details will be provided as
they become available.
In the wake of the crash, senior leaders issued statements to
offer their condolences to the service members' loved ones.
"My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and loved
ones of the Americans who were lost earlier today in Afghanistan," President
Barack Obama said. "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.
"We also mourn the Afghans who died alongside our troops in
pursuit of a more peaceful and hopeful future for their country," the president
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta also expressed his sorrow
for the loss.
"I am deeply saddened by the loss of many outstanding
Americans in uniform and of their Afghan counterparts earlier today in
Afghanistan," he said. "Their courage was exemplary, as was their determination
to make this a safer world for their countries and for their fellow citizens.
"We will stay the course to complete that mission, for which
they and all who have served and lost their lives in Afghanistan have made the
ultimate sacrifice," he continued. "They and their families are in my thoughts,
in my prayers and in my heart."
Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen, ISAF commander, added his
"No words describe the sorrow we feel in the wake of this
tragic loss," the general said. "All of those killed in this operation were true
heroes who had already given so much in the defense of freedom. Their sacrifice
will not be forgotten.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families who are now
waiting for their loved ones to return home," he continued. "We will do
everything in our power to support them in this time of need.
"We also mourn the loss of our heroic Afghan partners who
fight with us shoulder to shoulder, every day," Allen added.
The United States will draw inspiration from the lives of
those who were lost, Obama said, and continue the work of securing the country
and standing up for the values they embodied.
"At this difficult hour," the president added, "all Americans
are united in support of our men and women in uniform who serve so that we can
live in freedom and security."
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