Many of our regular readers have asked us what we think about the recent news of some of the Extortion 17 families coming forward to discuss their concerns with the press.

We have made an editorial decision to stay out of this. In fact, earlier this month I made the decision that SOFREP will focus more on the positive aspects of Special Operations and the community. We’ve been guilty in the past of participating in the drama, especially when it came to ST6, but that show is over. There is too much good stuff happening in Special Operations and the community at large. We will continue to publish hard, pipe-hitting commentary on foreign and domestic affairs that are in our lane, you can count on that.

Here are some things to think about with Extortion 17…

Extortion 17 killed all 38 people on board. 25 American special operations personnel, five United States Army National Guard and Army Reserve crewmen, seven Afghan commandos, and one Afghan interpreter—as well as a U.S. military working dog.

  • All aboard Extortion 17 are Heroes, period.
  • 38 people lost their lives
  • 30 American Warfighters and one Military Working Dog died doing something they loved, and they knew the risks. In hindsight, all would likely board that helo again.
  • 8 Afghans
  • Military Air Assets are always scarce. Sometimes you have to go with what you have, and it’s usually the Mission Commander’s call.
  • AQ and the Taliban have become experts at downing military choppers with RPGs. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen it happen.
  • This mission is no different than hundreds of other missions that went with the assets that were available, and a “just get it done” attitude.
  • The Chinook is commonly used platform, it’s twin rotors make it extremely nimble and it’s hold a large payload.
  • The U.S. Government is terrible at answering direct questions and supporting families after-the-fact. Hopefully, this will get better.
  • All were Heroes.

Nobody is perfect folks, especially the U.S. Military. Armchair-quarterbacking this operation will not bring any of these Heroes back, and most talking about it in the media have never left the comfort of the FOB.

I lost two friends on that flight, but I know they died doing what they loved, and that they “lived” life to the fullest, probably enough for two or three lives. My thoughts are with the grieving families. OHe and my foundation (RCF) have been working hard to carry on with the mission and support the families left behind.

While it’s important for veterans to speak out on important issues that affect the country, I don’t think the U.S. Special Operations community wants its image or brand “jacked” and used to drive political agendas.

I know that the Special Operations community has been grateful for the outpouring of support from the many Americans and readers here on SOFREP.  The contributing editors and I appreciate your support.