On August 6, 2011 the U.S. lost 30 special forces troops, including 22 Navy SEALS in a helicopter shot down over Afghanistan. These people were the elite of our military who have trained for these missions over many years.
Unfortunately we have suffered similar losses in prior missions where helicopters loaded with military personnel have been shot down or crashed due to equipment problems. Helicopters are relatively slow moving vehicles, especially the large Chinook helicopters, which operate in close proximity to the ground. They make easy targets for rocket propelled grenades and hand held missile systems. We need missile and rpg counter measure defensive systems to protect our vulnerable helicopters.
U.S. special forces should reevaluate their operational plans to encompass minimizing casualties from helicopter operations. Instead of loading up 38 people in one helicopter, why not use more helicopters? Granted, using more helicopters is costly, and landing zones may not be able to handle multiple helicopter landings simultaneously, but these impediments can be overcome, and our casualties can probably be reduced. We should also determine whether there could have been an intelligence leak by Afghan forces prior to the operation.
DONALD A. MOSKOWITZ