WASHINGTON, Aug. 10, 2011 — The Defense Department will officially identify the 30 American servicemen killed Aug. 6 aboard a Chinook helicopter in Afghanistan, a Pentagon spokesman said today.
Twenty-five of the Americans killed were special operations forces, and five were Army aircrew members. Seven Afghan commandos and an Afghan interpreter also were killed.
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta decided to identify the servicemen after considering security concerns raised by U.S. Special Operations Command officials, Marine Corps Col. Dave Lapan told reporters. The release – expected by noon tomorrow — will have the names, ranks, ages, hometowns and units of those killed in the incident. “This is the standard information we put in casualty releases,” Lapan said.
The families of many of those killed in the incident already have acknowledged their loved ones’ deaths.
“Secretary Panetta never intended not to release the names,” Lapan said. “Due to the unique circumstances surrounding the incident – including the high number of special operations forces who were killed – the secretary of defense decided to honor requests by senior commanders for additional time to fully review the possible implications of the release for the victims and their families.”
All along, the secretary was going to release the names of those killed, the colonel said. “It was incumbent upon others to convince him otherwise, and that didn’t happen,” he added.
The bodies of those killed are at Dover Air Force Base, Del., undergoing identification procedures.
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)