The investigation of events surrounding the crash of a C H-47D Chinook , call sign Extortion 17, took military command officials just two months to complete. Interviews were conducted, intelligence was gathered, statements were taken, comparisons were made, interrogation of local informants were conducted, physical evidence was examined, and digital records were combed over. With this exhaustive, comprehensive, concise (sarcasm intended) review completed in just under 60 days a report was issued and turned over to family members of the men killed on August 6, 2011. Family members considered the speed with which thew report was issued as “Insulting.”
If you’ve ever been in any branch of the military you already know that two months in military time can be the equivalent of two or three days in real time. The phrase “hurry up and wait” is one quite familiar to current and former members of any branch of the services.The military is not known for breaking any speed records when it comes to getting things done.
It’s important to remember that in the case of Extortion 17 we are talking about the worse loss of Special Operations forces in U.S. military history. On board were 22 members of the elite Seal Team Six, two U.S. Air Force Para-rescue men, three Army reserve personnel, a U.S. Air Force Combat Controller, the pilot and co-pilot, a U.S. military K-9. Apparently the command authority stationed in Afghanistan along with top brass at the Pentagon decided that they had wrapped everything up neatly in those two short months.
On October 12, 2011 U.S. Brigadier General Jeffrey Colt met with family members in Little Creek, Virginia. During the “debriefing” copies of the investigation’s findings were given to the grieving relatives. According to one family member the report was issued in DVD form and was “unreadable.” This prompted the father of one of the Seal Team members to call Admiral Sean T. Pybus the head of CENTCOM (Central Command) for all of Afghanistan to request a new copy.
The answer Charles Strange received came as, to say the least, as somewhat of a shock. ” Yea Charlie we got a lot of complaints about the report from other family members but I can’t send you a new one…because we burned it”!
“They truly believe that we’re that stupid”, Strange said. ” It took my wife about six hours to figure out how to download the report, it was set up like a maze. We printed out approximately 1300 pages. This was done because we had heard from other family members that they were going to ask for the disc back, because they didn’t want to raise suspicions,” he added.
The military never did ask for the disc back but, according Strange,when he and other family members of the men killed in Extortion 17 began making noise publicly regarding their suspicions about what really may have transpired in the early morning hours of August 6, 2011 things got a bit out of control. They have alleged that their cell phones and home computer have been tapped into by the National Security Agency which has resulted in they’re filing a lawsuit against the NSA, Eric Holder, James Clapper and President Obama.
So, the obvious question is why? Why would the military command authority choose to burn all information they had gathered in that two month period? If you were to believe they burned ALL the gathered intelligence, interview results, procedural foul up discoveries and every other scrap of vital information pertaining to this debacle, well…why? How could family members NOT be suspicious?
Unanswered questions inevitably lead to supposition, and supposition is all that is left for the families, and quite frankly, for anyone associated with the case. While it may be supposition, many of these questions that call out for answers are viable, intelligent, amd more importantly, ones that will not go away.
What happened to t he Black Boxes? Family members were told that these virtually indestructible, built to withstand almost any shock or explosion had been washed away in a torrential rainfall. These boxes are built with a homing beacon inside of them with a range of almost 14 miles. What is on those boxes that the military doesn’t want anyone to hear? That’s a fair question that arises out of supposition.
Extortion 17 requested pre-assault to clear the HLZ (helicopter landing zone) which was, according to one family member, was denied at least two times, maybe three. Why no Sparkle as it’s called to clear any enemy combatants from the area prior to the chopper landing? Sounds like another fair question.
The report of October 12 states that, according to General Colt, all of the men on board were killed by the g-force encountered during the crash. How much g-force can be generated from a fall of 150 feet? Family members want to know.
Navy Captain Jane Campbell and Marine Colonel David Lapan, both of whom are Spokespersons for the Pentagon issued reports that stated, “no identifiable remains” were recovered from the crash site. They added, “38 C-Spines and skulls are all that remained” at the crash site. There was no hesitation in the response from Charles Strange on this matter calling them “Liars”.
“We requested my son Michael’s ( Navy Petty Officer First Class, Cryptologist) autopsy report. along with the report we received another disc which contained pictures of Michael, my son was completely intact except for his right ankle which was badly damaged. We were told flat out that he had been burnt beyond recognition. They cremated my son, he didn’t need to be!! Michael still had hair on his head and arms….how hot was the chopper? This is more than a fair question.
There were three “eyes in the sky” in those early morning hours over the Tanqi Valley but not one was focused on Extortion 17. When General Colt questioned observers on the ground that morning monitoring the mission he received the following answer from one of them, “We NEVER did a mission like this Sir (referring to General Colt), it made us feel VERY VULNERABLE. OUR HANDS WERE TIED FROM UP ABOVE” (emphasis from the copied timeline of Charles Strange). Family members want to know “how far is up above, who gave these commands?”
In the next installment we will take a look at some of the theories floating around as to why these questions linger and fester. They remain unanswered by military and government officials which only leads to more supposition. Supposition is all the family members of seal Team Six.