This morning on radio, Glenn interviewed the host of For The Record, Laurie Dhue about the third episode of the program.
The third installment of the For The Record airs tonight at 8PM ET only on TheBlaze. On August 6, 2011, the Taliban shot down a Chinook helicopter in Afghanistan’s Wardak Province leaving 30 American soldiers dead, including 15 members of the elite Navy SEAL Team Six. This incident marked the largest American loss of life since the Afghan war began.
For The Record, Episode 3: Fallen Angel takes an unflinching look at how tactical errors and the military’s mismanagement of its special operations forces factored into this tragedy. Plus, hear from the victims’ families as we celebrate the extraordinary character of these brave, fallen heroes.
In the aftermath of the tragic helicopter crash, many questions were raised about potential mismanagement and tactical failures that may have been lead to the horrific loss of life. Laurie explained that while there are far more questions than answers, the For The Record team did find some interesting information.
“I mean, I think the bigger question here, and I'll talk specifically about the story of Extortion 17, which is the Chinook helicopter that was shot down by a rocket propelled grenade almost two years ago. The bigger question is that is our military really driven with a steady resolve for American victory around the world, or is it directed based on policy and politics,” Laurie said. “And when you look at what happened here, this was kind of a lost story until we decided to tell it. It is the story of Extortion 17, and the mission of Extortion 17 was to capture or kill a bad guy, a Taliban leader named Qari Tahir and so a 38 man immediate response team was sent in to try to capture or kill this guy. It ended up being shot down by the rocket propelled grenade. And as you said earlier, everyone on board was killed. You have 30 Americans of which 15 were members of Navy SEAL Team 6 which, don't forget, this helicopter was carrying many of the men who had killed Bin Laden 93 days before. The timing's interesting here.”
Many questioned the Obama administration’s decision to release details from the Osama Bin Laden raid. On tonight’s episode, the families of some of the fallen explain that their son’s had expressed fear for their lives in the aftermath of the Bin Laden kill.
“And, you know, what's interesting about this is that Navy SEAL Team 6 was publicly identified, you know, one or two days after the mission, which is somewhat unusual although some people say, look, in the days of social media that we're in right now, no, it's not that unusual that, you know, Joe Biden revealed, ‘Oh, it was Navy SEAL Team 6.’ But the families that we talked to in the episode tonight think that based on what their sons told them, they had a target on their back,” Laurie said.
Among some of the unanswered questions is why were the Afghani forces removed from the mission at the last moment? Why were they flying in a Chinook [helicopter] from 1989? Why were they not using a more powerful MH 47?
The Chinook is a good helicopter, but it is not known to maneuver particularly well. Considering the mission was flying into one of the real hotbeds in the area, it is unclear why the equipment was chosen.
“We're talking about the Tangi Valley, which has historically been a really tough spot,” Laurie explained. “And so what happened is Extortion 17 lifted off and in a few minutes it was close to the hot landing zone which is called the HLZ, which some of your listeners will probably know. The AC 130 that is overhead that was accompanying the Chinook here said, ‘Oh, the HLZ is okay, there's no enemy activity in the landing area,’ but it was still an active combat zone. And so they were in the area for close to three hours and one of the people we interviewed, one of the crewmembers of the AC 130 said, you know, we've been burning holes in the sky for three hours. You've got air weapons teams flying around. So there was an awful lot of noise going on, and basically the whole valley knew that there was something happening. And unfortunately air support was never used to soften that landing zone… And that is why when Extortion 17 was making its final approach, it was hit by the RPG and everyone on board was killed.”
“There's also the question why were so many elite forces on this Chinook at one time,” she continued. “There are a lot of unusual events here, a lot of unanswered questions that we can't necessarily answer right now.”
Glenn reiterated that For The Record is an investigative news magazine that is based in fact. “We are not alleging anything in this. We're being very careful,” Glenn said. “When you listen to my program, you hear opinions. When you hear Laurie or you are watching For The Record, I want you to know you're not getting my opinion or you're not getting their opinion – you're getting the facts. And so it's not being alleged. There are more questions to this… Tonight we do, and we also speak with the victims' families who will tell you a little bit about these really brave fallen angels.
Tonight’s episode, For The Record: Fallen Angel, airs at 8PM ET only on TheBlaze.
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