navy spec war

The Battle of Takur Ghar by Keith Rocco

As part of Enduring Freedom, in March 2002 a joint military operation named “Anaconda” was mounted in Paktia province to surround and defeat Taliban forces hiding in the area. On the third day of Operation Anaconda an Army MH-47E Chinook helicopter was fired upon as it attempted to land on a ridge on Takur Ghar mountain. Taking heavy fire, the helicopter lurched and attempted to take-off to extricate itself from the field of fire. When the Chinook lurched, one of the Navy SEALs on board, Petty Officer First Class Neil C. Roberts, fell from the rear ramp. Too damaged to return for Petty Officer Roberts, the Chinook landed further down the mountain.

“A second MH-47E attempted to land and rescue Roberts, but it too was fired upon and forced to leave the immediate area. The third MH-47E to attempt a landing on what became known as Roberts’ Ridge was hit with automatic weapons fire and rocket-propelled grenades while still 20 feet in the air. The helicopter, containing an Army Ranger Team and Technical Sergeant Keary Miller, a Combat Search and Rescue Team Leader from the 123d Special Tactics Squadron, Kentucky Air National Guard, hit the ground hard. Within seconds, one helicopter crewman, the right door gunner, was killed, as were three Army Rangers. The 17-hour ordeal that followed would result in the loss of seven American lives, including Petty Officer Roberts.

“Technical Sergeant Miller not only managed to drag the wounded helicopter pilot to safety, but also orchestrated the establishment of multiple casualty collection points. In between treating the wounded, Miller set up the distribution of ammunition for the Army Rangers who were taking the fight to the enemy. For his extraordinary life-saving efforts while putting himself in extreme danger under enemy fire, Technical Sergeant Miller was awarded the Silver Star by the U.S. Navy, one of the few members of the Air National Guard to be so honored.”

The entire operation is detailed in “Not a Good Day to Die” by Sean Naylor, one of the best accounts of military non-fiction I’ve read.

(National Guard)

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Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy received the Medal of Honor for his actions during Operation Red Wings. A memorial park in Ronkonkoma, L.I., and a post office in Patchogue(his home town) now bear his name, and the naval destroyer Michael Murphy patrols the Pacific. His valorous death has inspired myself, and many others, beyond description. Thank you for being my hero.

“Embrace your dreams. If you want to be a hero, you need to have dreams.” -FF7CC

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US Navy SEAL SDV Operations

“That last night at home, you think about how you could of been a better dad, a better husband, that bedtime story you should of read, or that anniversary you forgot. You don’t expect your family to understand what you’re doing. You just hope they understand you’re doing it for them, and when you get home you hope you can pick-up right where you left off.” - Chief Dave

An amalgamated force of Army and Royal Marine Commandos, 3 Commando Brigade, makes its way up the Chaung River to interdict retreating Japanese forces near Kangaw, Burma, in early 1945.

In the ensuing Battle of Hill 170, the small commando force visited punishing losses on the Japanese forces over two days of fighting, leading to the near collapse of Japanese resistance in the region.

(Charles Messenger Collection)