I can’t believe it’s been three years since I heard the news about the crash of Extortion 17, a US Army CH-47 carrying 38 souls: 17 US Navy SEALs, 5 NSW Fleet Techs, 2 USAF Pararescumen, 1 USAF Combat Controller, 5 US Army National Guard and Army Reserve Aviators, 7 Afghan Commandos, and 1 Afghan interpreter. Also on board was a single NSW Working Dog.
I live in Virginia’s Tidewater which was home port for many of those men. I’m not sure the town will ever really get over the tragedy. There are a lot of families, friends, and teammates who bear the loss every day. Only one day a year everyone else thinks about these men and their sacrifice. I think that’s selfish. I don’t expect you to think of them everyday unless they were yours, but don’t make their passing into something any more special than any other death. This obsession has trivialized their passing as much as it does every other death. Each and every loss has meaning and every loss is mourned. I challenge you to look past this one day a year and this group of men. By all means, remember the Men of Extortion 17 and then recognize the sacrifice of all of our fallen.