A National Guard Chinookwith aFull Load of Seals and Special Ops?


byJim W. Dean, VT editor


Special Operations – Boeing – MH-47E Chinook

Gordon Duff’s peice yesterday afternoonhas quickly runup 30,000 reads plus what ever the blogger traffic was.Weput it out quicklybecause losing this many Seals in a mission crash seemed impossible with the ops procedures for moving these highly trained teams around.

The comment section was very active and generally most all agreed that an a night shot RPG bringing down a Seal transport vehicle with a huge team aboard staggered the imagination.

Seal package insertions and egress are where they are most vulnerable.They have very special transport to protect them from small arms. The story of their going to the rescue of a pinned down unit…a Seal insertion would most likely not be going into a landing zone blind as to enemy fire risk.

Military death notices were going out today and we saw/heard some sad family interviews. And one was special, a National Guardsman, Sgt. Patrick Hamburger, a Chinook crew chief only in Afghanistan for a few days. So it appears we might have a breach of standard operating procedure where a huge team was put into a National Guard Chinook to go in. No word yet on where the SealsSPECOPS Chinooks were. But I suspect we will not have to wait long.

Sgt. Patrick Hamburger and Daughter

The operational procedures are designed to avoid even the possibility of a loss like this. This should not have happened and no stone will be left unturned.

I hope they fare better than my mother when she became a 16 year old WWII widow. Her newlywed husband got blown to bits with 579 others on the SS Paul Hamilton, April 20th, 1944.

It seems the brass had been packing troops onto ammo ships and they took an aerial torpedo with 7000 tons of explosives aboard. The details were classified for 50 years. I pray that these families fare better.

Our thanks to Ann Barnhardt for passing the along the personal source newsbelow. We still had no Pentagon video today, but the BBC got a phone interview with an eye witness who says he watched it all from his porch. That is a strange thing to be doing in a fire fight as folks tend to shoot first andask questionslater.

Tips from Afghanistan …from Ann Barnhardt

National Guard Chinook

I received a tip from a soldier stationed with an aviation brigade out of Jalalabad overnight.

“Almost immediately, after news of the crash began to spread, we were placed in an internet and phone blackout. This means communication with family, friends and “others” back home, in real time, is prevented until further notice.

However, there are also chinook pilots, crews and mechanics assigned here who were privy to the details of the crash almost immediately.

One of confirmed details they have been discussing is that the chinook shot down belonged to a National Guard unit. Which is causing people to whisper in astonishment,

“why were some of the most elite of America’s military, in such large numbers, tooling around on a National Guard aircraft? Also, those around me are wondering why such a large number (extremely unconventional for Seals, Green Berets, etc) of them riding in a single aircraft instead of being spread out into numerous aircraft.”

The Famous Patch

Without question, I mean no disrespect to the pilots and crew of the National Guard aircraft, but the fact is that it’s very “strange” that Seals would be conducting an actual mission, with such large numbers, in such a basic aircraft. …Especially, given the fact that there were special operation chinooks easily available and sitting idle when this tragedy took place.”

I am not a journalist. I have no means of checking this. But SOMEONE needs to investigate if in fact the SEALS were on a National Guard helo, if there were SPECOPS Chinooks available and idle, and what the difference in armament is between Guard Chinooks and SPECOPS Chinooks.

This potential difference in armament is HUGE and could account for the possibility of the Chinook being shot down by an RPG, if that is what happened.

MH-47G Chinook – rollout ceremony 6 May 2007

Following up on the RPG question, we have lost only one (that I can find) SPECOPS Chinook to RPG fire, and that incident saw the RPG shot go inside the cabin of the SPECOPS Chinook through an open hatch. It was a Golden BB shot.

That tells us that the SPECOPS Chinooks are extremely resilient and have high combat survivability. The SPECOPS Chinooks are like a heavily armored Brinks truck.

A standard National Guard Chinook would be analogous to a FedEx truck by comparison. You never pack 25 SEALs into one helo as a point of dispersion protocol, as stated by a reader below.

“I have been told that a MINIMUM of three helos would normally be used for a group of that size. And IF they were indeed in a standard National Guard Chinook and not a SPECOPS Chinook, that would be like rolling out in a FedEx truck with your extremely precious cargo.”

Every human being is infinitely precious, but we can all agree that from a battlefield standpoint, SEALs are “tactically precious.”

UPDATE 2: From a reader:


You are on to something here. I was in the 160th 1982- 1985 and I can tell you that the reason the aviation wing was created was so special ops would never again have to fly missions with anyone other than their own pilots and birds.

UPDATE 3: From a reader:

U.S. Army Chinook – Interior

Ann, I’m sure you’re getting a lot of notes on the Chinook debacle. I’m retired USAF familiar with how the system works when it comes to the questions asked by your Jalalabad contact. First, look to the Command Authority.

Dispersion protocols are almost never broken except on direct order up the chain high enough that nobody could question or refuse the order without jeopardizing their career.

Second, ‘who benefits’? Follow the trail of beneficiaries to the incident. Tactically, intell had to be passed to the shooters as to the timetable.

I’m willing to bet that there were several RPG’s (if not Stinger’s – remember, we provided quite a few and never kept a record during the Soviet incursion into Afghanistan) involved. Then, once fired, the shooters had to egress unseen to fight another day.

Many people I know, including some recently back from that area say this stinks to high Heaven, as you do.