WASHINGTON – The families of Navy SEAL Team 6 members killed in a disastrous August 2011 helicopter crash in Afghanistan blamed the government for the tragedy, during an emotional press conference in Washington Thursday.
The family members, speaking at the National Press Club, tried to
reopen the book on the crash, in which 30 Americans were killed, most of
them belonging to the same unit as those who carried out the raid on
Usama bin Laden earlier that year. The helicopter was shot down by
During the event organized by a group called Freedom Watch, family
members and former military personnel claimed President Obama turned the
SEALs group into a Taliban target after the administration revealed
they had conducted the bin Laden raid.
Doug Hamburger, whose son Patrick was killed, called the incident an “ambush” that could have been prevented.
“We’re very concerned that the administration had disclosed that the
Navy SEALs had carried out a successful attack on bin Laden’s compound
resulting in his death. And you know, never before in the history of our
county (had) a sitting president released that type of information to
the public, especially when he was talking about special forces. Their
names and their missions had never been revealed before. And we really
feel that this put our guys in an unnecessary risk,” Hamburger said.
Many military experts at the time, including some of Obama’s top
military advisers, had questioned the White House’s public praise of
SEAL Team 6 and said it put members in danger.
Three months after bin Laden’s death, members of the SEAL Team 6
force -- though apparently not the same ones who carried out the bin
Laden raid -- were on board the CH-47 Chinook transport helicopter,
along with its Army National Guard aircrew, several support personnel
and seven Afghan commandos. In all, 38 people died that night after the
chopper was shot down by a Taliban-owned rocket-propelled grenade –or
RPG – over the Wardak Province on Aug. 6, 2011. (Continues)