I sat down with a former Ranger medic from 3rd Ranger Battalion for a few hours to talk about the massive rescue and recovery operation following Operation Red Wings. Doc’s platoon was alerted and deployed to Afghanistan within 18 hours.

SOFREP: What was going through your head when you first got the page to deploy to Afghanistan ahead of our scheduled rotation which was a couple of weeks away?

Doc: Some of us were actually planning to have a barbecue when the page came in to report immediately to Battalion. Once I showed up to the Charlie Company area it was a mad house. My platoon (1st platoon) was the only one of the three to get alerted. At first I thought it was a random piss test until we were told to get our gear and hop on a plane.

From the time we were paged to the time we took off for Afghanistan it was well under 18 hours.

Operation Red Wings II Chinooks
The Chinooks that took the Ranger platoon to the objective area.

SOFREP: Did you have any information about what was going on?

Doc: We found out in route that a helicopter full of special operations personnel were down in Afghanistan. There was no mention of the 4-man SEAL team. The lack of information wasn’t because of secrecy, it most likely derived from a lack of information dissemination coming from Afghanistan. As the medic my focus was on “downed helo.” That meant casualty care and/or body recovery, which is part of my job.

SOFREP: You reach Afghanistan and then what sequence of events happened?

Doc: We landed in Bagram Air Base early afternoon that next day.  I remember taking a bus to the JSOC compound where we were told to grab MREs, water, and kit up. Within an hour we received our mission brief, in which the first mention was made of the 4-man SEAL element that came under fire.