Monday, May 29, 2023

Memorial Day: Operation Red Wings

On this Memorial Day, I would like to pay honor and respect to the fallen warriors from Operation Red Wings.

On June 27, 2005 in Afghanistan, a team of four Navy SEALs were conducting a surveillance and reconnaissance mission when Taliban forces (led by Ahmad Shah) ambushed them. The SEALs were highly outnumbered, and three of the four (Michael Murphy, Matthew Axelson, and Danny Dietz) were killed in battle, while one (Marcus Luttrell) survived. Two quick reaction force Chinook helicopters flew in to assist the SEALs but a Taliban fighter, using an RPG, shot down one helicopter, killing all eight SEALs and eight SOAR aviators on board.

Overall, this battle resulted in 19 US deaths. At the time, this event was the greatest single loss of life to US Naval Special Warfare to date.

The 19 fallen US military servicemen were:

  • Eleven Navy SEALs
    • Michael P. Murphy (29, Medal of Honor Recipient)
    • Matthew Axelson (29)
    • Danny Dietz (25)
    • Jacques J. Fontan (36)
    • Daniel R. Healy (36)
    • Erik S. Kristensen (33)
    • Jeffery A. Lucas (33)
    • Michael M. McGreevy Jr. (30)
    • James E. Suh (28)
    • Jeffrey S. Taylor (30)
    • Shane E. Patton (22)

  • Eight members of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR)
    • Shamus O. Goare (29)
    • Corey J. Goodnature (35)
    • Kip A. Jacoby (21)
    • Marcus V. Muralles (33)
    • James W. Ponder III (36)
    • Stephen C. Reich (34)
    • Michael L. Russell (31)
    • Chris J. Scherkenbach (40)

Warriors, I honor and salute you.



For more information about Operation Red Wings:

Wikipedia article

Marcus Luttrell’s ‘Lone Survivor’ (firsthand account)

The film ‘Lone Survivor

If you would like to support members of the Naval Special Warfare community through charity, please donate to the Navy SEAL Foundation.