The Shocking True Story of Extortion 17 as told by a Navy SEAL’s Father

Mark Baisley
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Posted: Nov 10, 2013 12:01 AM
The Shocking True Story of Extortion 17 as told by a Navy SEAL’s Father

There was a time when America’s Commander-In-Chief held a certain poise, a refinement of manner, a humble je ne sais quoi. And nothing could be more important to the families of America’s soldiers than assurance that the lives of their sons and daughters are valued above everything except the liberty they defend. Aaron Carson Vaughn, a member of the elite SEAL Team VI special forces once wrote a note of assurance to his concerned parents about his chain of command saying, “They won’t let me die.”

This week, America honors her heroes in recognizing Veterans Day, including our brave SEALs. That virtuous moniker is actually an acronym for Sea, Air, And Land, indicating that these guys cover every quarter and every dimension. Members of the United States Navy SEALs are a special kind of human, incredibly smart athletes with unthinkable endurance and unimaginable tolerance for pain. The greatest attribute of a SEAL is devotion.

But in a brand new book, a tragic truth is revealed about the Obama Administration’s unrequited devotion from our most selfless of heroes. Aaron Carson Vaughn is honored by his heartbroken dad in Betrayed, The Shocking True Story of Extortion 17 as told by a Navy SEAL’s Father. The book chronicles the events that led to the death of Aaron Carson Vaughn and was authored by Billy Vaughn, with co-authors Monica Morrill and Cari Blake.

The book details the events of August 6, 2011 in Afghanistan surrounding the shooting down of an American Chinook helicopter that held the evocative name of “Extortion 17.”A high-value Al-Qaeda leader was pinned down in a village by U.S. Army Rangers. Three hours into the intense ground engagement, Extortion 17 was tasked to carry seventeen SEALs into the battle with the onerous task of capturing the Al-Qaeda leader alive.

The Chinook was operated by a crew of five from the National Guard and carried an additional 22 Navy personnel in support of the elite SEAL team. One Afghan interpreter was also on board and, just before taking off, seven Afghan commandos were curiously assigned to the final flight of Extortion 17.

As the Chinook approached its destination, the enemy could be seen running into a building with a tower that gave them an advantageous shooting position. The two Apache escort helicopters had all the visibility and firepower to resolve the battle before Extortion 17 delivered the SEAL team. But the Apaches were denied permission to attack.

Under the Obama Administration’s new rules of engagement, no strike could be made on that building without assurance that no civilians were inside. The enemy knows these rules, which is why they run into buildings where civilians may be located.

Under the protection of Obama rules, the enemy set up on the tower of the building and shot down Extortion 17 using three rocket-propelled grenades. The Chinook fell to the ground in a tremendous explosion, killing all 30 people on board.

The parents of those SEAL Team members who died were gathered for a briefing and were given hundreds of pages of information from the investigation of the event. Betrayed includes many pages of that original material; material that raised enough unsettling questions that Billy Vaughn wrote a book.

One question asked at the briefing was why, even in the minutes following the shoot-down of Extortion 17, America’s massive firepower was withheld. Three-star Admiral Robert Harward explained to the parents that a drone strike wasn’t used because, “we need to win their hearts and minds.”

Evidently, this policy of social politeness on the battlefront motivated the Obama Administration to relegate authority over American troops under Afghanistan command one year before the Extortion 17 crash, the greatest loss of U.S. military SEALs in a single incident. All knowledge, forethought, and mission planning for American troops within that country are under the joint oversight of the Operational Coordination Group, a command of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

Billy Vaughn, along with co-authors Monica Morrill and Cari Blake, have brought this story to their fellow countrymen because the American media does not. While George W. Bush was in office, we were treated to a steady drumbeat of casualty reports. But the silence of American media over the past five years has covered up the fact that far more of our troops have been killed and injured under the Obama Administration’s rules of engagement.

During the seven years of war in the Bush Administration, 630 Americans died in Afghanistan and 2,638 were wounded in action. During the first four years of the Obama Administration, 1,544 Americans have died in Afghanistan and 15,036 have been wounded in action.

In his most recent weekly message President Obama recognized veterans, saying, “As long as I’m your President, I will make it my mission to make sure that America has your back.” I encourage every American to have our veterans’ back by reading the book Betrayed, which you can find at www.specialopsbetrayed.com.

The steep reality is that history judges.Kindly or harshly, a didactic perspective will ultimately have its say.