Officials Plan to Release Chinook Casualties’ Names

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)