On August 6, 2011, an American Chinook helicopter named Extortion 17 carried 38 people—including 15 members of SEAL Team Six—to an area 40 miles southwest of Kabul. As the helicopter made its final descent to land, a group of insurgents fired an RPG at it. The lucky shot destroyed the helicopter’s rear rotor and the subsequent crash killed everyone on board. It was the greatest loss of life from a single incident in the Afghan war.
This week on War College, journalist Ed Darack walks us through the last moments of Extortion 17. It’s the subject of his new book The Final Mission of Extortion 17: Special Ops, Helicopter Support, SEAL Team Six, and the Deadliest Day of the U.S. War in Afghanistan. Darack’s meticulous reporting sets the record straight on a tragic accident that’s long been the subject of conspiracy theories.
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