Monday, August 8, 2011

My Heart Hurts...

I am sure that everyone has heard about the helicopter that was shot down in Afghanistan over the weekend, and that it was carrying members of SEAL Team 6. This made me so so very sad.

There is nothing that I could write about this that would be more touching than the people that knew these brave men who served and fought for our country and ultimately gave their lives for it.

My heart aches for the families of these men, and I just wanted to let you all read some of the articles that I found where their families talk about them. I will be forever thankful for all that these families have sacrificed...

Family of SEAL Aaron Vaughn : ‘Only in his death can we celebrate who he was in life’
By Sarah Anne Hughes

The family of Aaron Vaughn, a Navy SEAL killed in a deadly helicopter crash Saturday, remembered their son and husband as man who loved country, family and God.

“We’re really sad that our son is gone. But we know that he would have done it all again,” Karen Vaughn, Aaron’s mother, said on NBC’s “Today” show Monday. “He loved every minute of his life.”

Vaughn was one of 30 U.S. service members, including 22 members of SEAL Team 6, and eight Afghans who were killed Saturday when insurgents shot down a Chinook helicopter in Afghanistan.

“Aaron was an amazing father and I’m proud that I will get to carry on his legacy through his children,” his widow, Kimberly Vaughn, said. The couple welcomed a daughter just two months ago.

His father Billy Vaughn said that his son wanted to become a SEAL from the time he was a child but especially after 9/11. His mother said she “was most proud of Aaron’s humility and his nobility,” as well as his faith.

“Everything he did was secret, and it just feels really strange right now that only in his death can we celebrate who he was in his life,” Karen Vaughn said. “It’s a very difficult concept to understand.”

Information and interviews about the other fallen service members have been collected by the Washington Post’s Checkpoint Washington.

When asked what Vaughn’s children, 2-year-old Reagan and baby Chamberlyn, will remember about their father, Kimberly Vaughn replied, “They will take away his love for Christ. They will take away is strength and his love for this country.”

And in a heartbreaking moment of realization, an emotional Kimberly Vaughn concluded, “And they will know what an amazing man he is — was.”
--Washington Post

Troops killed in helicopter crash praised by grieving loved ones

Some had young children, wives and girlfriends. Others were just starting to make their way in the world.

But the brothers, fathers, sons and uncles who died when a U.S. military helicopter was shot down in eastern Afghanistan all had something in common: a love of family and country, according to friends and family members. Here are some of their stories:

'He wanted to go'

Patrick Hamburger planned to propose to his girlfriend, but had a job to do first: a mission in Afghanistan.

The 30-year-old sergeant from Grand Island, Neb., joined the Nebraska National Guard when he was a high school senior, but had never been deployed, his brother Chris Hamburger told the Associated Press on Sunday.

"He wanted to go because his group was getting deployed. He wanted to be there for them," Hamburger said.

Patrick Hamburger was the kind of guy who helped his girlfriend raise her 13-year-old daughter as well as the couple's 2-year-old daughter and planned to propose when he got home, his brother said.

'Loved making people laugh'

If someone was sad, Michael Strange tried to make them smile.
"He loved his friends, his family, his country; he loved making people laugh. He was one of a kind," Strange's brother, Charles Strange III, 22, said Sunday outside the family's Philadelphia home.

Strange, 25, decided to join the military when he was still in high school and had been in the Navy for about six years. He became a SEAL about two years ago, said his mother, Elizabeth Strange.

"He wasn't supposed to die this young. He was supposed to be safe," Strange said.

'The ideal model of a soldier'

If Elizabeth Newlun wanted to have a serious conversation with her son, John Brown, she had to shoot baskets with him.

"I realized that you have to get into other people's comfort zone to get information," said Newlun of Rogers, Ark.

She said her son, an Air Force technical sergeant, decided to join the military after seeing a video of a special tactical unit, she said.

The airman was a paramedic, ready to attend to anyone rescued, his mother said.

"When you think of what the ideal model of a soldier would be, he would be it," said Arkansas state Rep. Jon Woods, who went to high school with Brown.

'Tough warrior, gentle man'

Aaron Carson Vaughn was a man of deep faith, insisting to his family that he didn't fear his job as a Navy SEAL "because he knew where he was going" when he died.

"Aaron was a Christian, and he's with Jesus today," Geneva Vaughn of Union City, Tenn., told the Associated Press.

"He was a tough warrior, but he was a gentle man," she added.

Vaughn said her grandson, 30, a husband and father of two, joined the SEALs straight from boot camp and was a decorated fighter when he was asked to return stateside to be an instructor. But he applied to SEAL Team 6 after two years, earning a spot in 2010.

'Childhood friends'

Robert Reeves and Jonas Kelsall had been childhood friends in Shreveport, La., Kelsall's father, John, told the Times of Shreveport and KLSA-TV.

Both joined the military after graduation, father Jim Reeves told the newspaper.
Reeves, 32, became a SEAL in 1999 and served on SEAL Team 6, and Kelsall, 33, was one of the first members of SEAL Team 7, the fathers said.

Many neighbors in the area decorated their homes in red, white and blue in support of the families.
--Detroit Free Press

Those are just some of the stories, but there were 30 people killed that day. Here is a partial list that I found at - which if you have't been there to see the list of fatalities and casualites, you really should, the impact is heartwrenching.
Vaughn, Aaron Carson
Strange, Michael
Brown, John
Mills, Matt
Houston, Kevin
Ratzlaff, Tommy
Reeves, Robert James
Kelsall, Jonas
Vickers, Kraig
Hamburger, Patrick
Duncan, Spencer
There are still almost 20 people who have not been identified or their names released, but I plan to keep checking and update when they are. They all deserve our gratitude as do their families. Thank you…

1 comment:

  1. :( This blog post was heartbreaking. God bless them for their courage to the end, and for their families who made such a huge sacrifice. Comfort and love to them. And thanks for this post, my friend. <3

    Jen DeLucy