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Operation Red Wings Memorial Shoot

Academi

It was a warm, clear morning on Saturday, June 28th at Academi Training Center, Moyock, North Carolina. At 0930, a shot rang out from the 600 yard line of Range T10, the first shot made towards a commemorative target meant to honor each US Navy SEAL and member of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Attachment lost during Operation Red Wings.

Red Wings Memorial Shoot

For the 9th anniversary of Operation Red Wings, a retired SEAL friend of ours who previously worked on the 911 for 9/11 project decided to take a similar approach to honoring Operation Red Wings. A Chinook helicopter was traced onto a black target, and over the course of the morning 19 shots representing each servicemember lost was taken. Additionally, three of the shots made that day were taken by members of three of the SEAL members’ families:

The shooters

GM2 (SEAL) Danny P. Dietz was represented by his wife Patsy Dietz

ITCS (SEAL) Daniel R. Healy was represented by his son Jacob Centeno-Healy

ET1 (SEAL) Jeffery A. Lucas was represented by his wife Rhonda Lucas

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The weapon used during the shoot was a Mk 12 SPR, which was specially chosen for the shoot: 3 Mk 12s were utilized during Operation Red Wings by the SEAL teams. Also, the use of the 5.56 round from the 600 yard range required a greater deal of focus and dedication to effectively mark the target.

The Range

This was the view from the 600 yard mark. The target was situated underneath the ’4′ position, and the traced Chinook strike area encompassed roughly a fourth of the total target.

Finished Target

The finished target is being sent to Ellwood T Risk to be turned into a piece of art in the same vein of the 911 for 9/11 piece. The finished art will be auctioned live Memorial Day weekend 2015 in Rosenberg, Texas, at the 3-day Danny Deitz Memorial Team Roping, Auction, and BBQ event. Reprints of the original will be able to be ordered before then and will be available through the Tommy Valentine Memorial “All in All the Time” Foundation. The prints will be produced in Hampton Roads, with all profits benefiting the Navy SEAL Foundation, helping to fund a 10th Anniversary retreat for the surviving families of the servicemembers lost on Operation Red Wings.

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14 Responses to “Operation Red Wings Memorial Shoot”

  1. bulldog76 says:

    a drink for the nightstalkers and seals that lost their lives that day TIL VALHALL !

  2. Adam says:

    I served in Iraq and for what it’s worth, have the utmost respect for the fallen. They were warriors that applied their craft and upheld the core values of being elite fighting men. However, who the fuck thought it would be a good idea to shoot at a CH-47? That’s just weird to me. Why wouldn’t you shoot at Taliban, right? I wouldn’t feel comfortable shooting at a U.S. service aircraft target.

  3. Bill says:

    What Adam said. Am I missing something? What kind of art can come out of American bulletholes in a representation of an American aircraft?

  4. The Stig says:

    I third Adam and Bill. This seems a little poorly thought out with regards to the target.

  5. Dave Hall says:

    It’s unfinished. It’ll probably make more sense to you when it’s done.

    Check this out to get a sense of the last one I did.

    https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/until-it-hurts-a-navy-seal-documentary#gallery

    http://www.military.com/daily-news/2014/02/23/seals-turn-warrior-loss-into-artwork.html

    BTW, I wouldn’t ask anyone to grace the wall of their house with a target representing a shot Taliban. All of the ones we shot were left right where they belonged, in the field to be eaten by animals. They aren’t who we’re honoring with the piece.

    The finished work will put the cut out MH-47 shape into context for those who aren’t familiar with our past work or don’t “get it” as it is right now.

    Dave

    • 215 Gear says:

      If you don’t know Dave or have never seen his work in the past, I can assure you he has nothing but the best intention for the families in mind. Keep up the good work Dave.

  6. Jake Healy says:

    To the Naysayers,

    My dad was on that helicopter when it got shot down and I thought it was a very powerful idea to have the CH-47 as a target. If any of you had been there to witness the surviving families and Dave put our rounds in from 628 yard away, I think you would feel a little less indifferent. I’m not here to argue or deter you from thinking it was a bad idea but I really don’t appreciate your pessimism, especially towards something that provides healing and growth from such a tragic event. I didn’t spend $500 on a flight I couldn’t afford to stay the night in Charlotte airport to drive several hours in traffic to put one bullet through the Chinook target because it was a bad idea, I did it because it was a priceless opportunity to commemorate my dad in a beautiful way.

    Cheers,

  7. Pat says:

    I believe folks are reading into it too much…the helicopter is a representation as a whole of all the guys that perish on that day…I really doubt TEAMMATES would had picked a Chinook as the centerpiece of the project if they didn’t think it honored the guys and was appropriate for the FINAL project of this art…this is just a small piece of it. Also, I probably would have had more of a problem shooting a Taliban to represent my husband and then making an wall art piece to hang at my house out of it…

  8. Crissie says:

    I believe those who view this as a ‘bad idea’ truly do not understand the loss a family has in the military. It actually surprises me that some of you who say you have served would actually see this as being a bad thing. You should certainly read more into the reasoning behind this before making quick judgement. I also think your understanding for art and expression in honor of the fallen is possibly lacking. Which, I know it is difficult to understand when you haven’t lived the life. I am a military widow myself. My husband was shot in Afghanistan while I was 35 weeks pregnant with our child. I would be ON TOP of doing something cool like this … And if for any reason at all it would help someone’s child through grief – why would you question it? It is art. It is art that will not only represent these brave men but it will be so incredibly powerful because their families were a part of creating and honoring them with this. Honestly, I see this as a very cool piece that will likely speak a thousand words when people understand what each bullet hole represents. Please be more respectful in your lack of understanding… Thank you.

  9. Dave Hall says:

    Chrissie,

    So sorry for your loss. Thank you for understanding what our project is about and thank you for your husband.

    You said you’d be on top of an opportunity like this. I’d like to make that happen for you and any other families who lost their loved one from your husband’s unit. If you’re interested.

    If you send an email to admin@soldiersystems.net they can get us connected.

    Dave

  10. Bobber says:

    Hey, if being a part of creating this piece of art helps folks heal their emotional wounds, good on ‘em. Personally, its not my cup of tea, but then I’m not personally attached to the losses from this particular operation, or this branch of Service. Just because I don’t particularly get it or fully appreciate it, however, doesn’t mean I “do not understand the loss a family has in the military” or my “understanding for art and expression…is possibly lacking”. I just don’t find much personal impact of the medium. If it works for you, outstanding; to imply, however, that I don’t understand the impact of the loss of friends or family in combat is not only incorrect, but maybe a bit self-centered as well. Lots of good folks have died in the last decade-plus, and not all of their friends and loved ones necessarily share an appreciation for target-based memorials.

    • Dave Hall says:

      In my community (NSW) we keep our opinions out of the public arena when they offend Gold Star family members .

      Obviously others must do it differently. A shame, that.