On a moonless night in Afghanistan, on August 6, 2011, at approximately 2:22 AM local time, Gold Squadron of SEAL Team Six boarded a U.S. Army Chinook helicopter, call sign Extortion 17, and lifted off for their mission. Flying just above the treetops, the helicopter rapidly entered the Tangi valley, headed for a small village. The team readied themselves as the pilot gave the signal to prepare the troops to exit the bird, “One minute… one minute.”
But Extortion 17 and the personnel aboard would never reach their destination. Thirty Americans and one American military working dog were shot out of the sky – no survivors. This was the greatest single-incident loss of life in the history of the Navy SEALs, U. S. Special Operations, and in the U.S. war in Afghanistan.
Immediately following the military’s investigative report of the shootdown, questions were raised. Why did it take 17 minutes to fly a 10-minute mission? Why was the black box missing from the crash site? Why was the Fire Control Officer of the AC-130 Gunship flying above denied permission to engage the enemy preparing to mount an attack against the helicopter? Ten years later, these same questions are still being asked, but now as military personnel come forward, so do long awaited answers.
Don Brown is a former U.S. Navy JAG Officer and author of 15 books on the U.S. Military, including the national bestsellers, LAST FIGHTER PILOT, TREASON, and CALL SIGN EXTORTION 17: The Shoot-Down of Seal Team Six. Don is also a practicing attorney, perhaps best known for representing Lt. Clint Lorance, the U.S. Army paratrooper sentenced to 20 years imprisonment under the Obama administration, stemming from a firefight on a battlefield in Afghanistan.
President Trump pardoned Lieutenant Lorance on November 15th, 2019. The Lorance case received international news coverage in Europe and the United States, culminating with President Trump’s pardon. Don has written a book on the Lorance case, TRAVESTY OF JUSTICE: The Shocking Prosecution of Lieutenant Clint Lorance.
Don has been a featured speaker at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, the Richard Nixon Presidential Library, and has been a frequent guest on the Sean Hannity Show. He has appeared nationally on Fox News, One America News, the Larry Elder Show, the David Webb Show, On Point with Tomi Lahren, and various other national and local media outlets. He has also authored numerous OPEDs for various national media outlets, including the New York Post, the Washington Times, Fox News, the American Thinker, and the Western Journal.
Lt. Colonel (US Army, Ret.) Jeffrey Addicott is a full Professor of Law and the Director of the Warrior Defense Project at St. Mary’s University School of Law. An active duty Army officer in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps for twenty years, Addicott spent a quarter of his career as the senior legal advisor to the US Army Special Forces.
He served in senior legal positions in Germany, Korea, Panama and throughout the United States and deployed on numerous occasions to areas of armed conflict, awarded a Legion of Merit for his work in Peru.
As an internationally recognized authority on national security and terrorism Law, Dr. Addicott not only lectures and participates in professional and academic organizations both in the United States and abroad (over 900 speeches), but he also testifies before Congress on a variety of legal and policy issues.
Dr. Addicott is a regular contributor to national and international media outlets to include FOX News, CNN, MSNBC, OAN, BBC, New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Wall Street Journal (over 5,000 interviews). Addicott is a prolific author, publishing over 100 books, articles, and monographs on a variety of legal and policy issues.
Among his many contributions to the field of law, Addicott pioneered the teaching of law of war and human rights course to the militaries of numerous nascent democracies in Eastern Europe and Latin America. Addicott was also the Associate Dean for Administration (2006-2007) and headed the Center for Terrorism Law.
Fulfilling a lifelong call to serve his country and a sacred family tradition, Chief Eddie Gallagher joined the service soon after high school in 1999 and enlisted in the Navy. He joined the ranks of his father, a West Point graduate and retired Lieutenant Colonel, two naval aviator uncles (one of whom died in the service), and three grandparents who served in World War II. After 19 years in the service and eight combat tours, Eddie is among the most elite of warriors who has served quietly and bravely on the front lines to protect his country in nearly every conflict since 9/11.
After boot camp Eddie attended Corpsman (Medic) school, was attached to a Marine Corps unit, and in 2000 first deployed with his Marine platoon to Kosovo. After September 11th, 2001 Eddie saw clearly his call to defend the country and volunteered for Marine sniper school. Eddie become the first non-Marine to graduate the school, an incredibly tough feat for this insular and elite program. As a Marine Scout Sniper, Eddie was among the first waves to deploy on the front lines of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 to Mosul for his second combat deployment.
Never settling, Eddie strived to do more and upon returning home he enrolled in Basic Underwater Demolition Schools (BUDS). He graduated in 2005, becoming a United States Navy SEAL. He was again deployed to Iraq in 2006-2007, and in addition to the combat action and Iraqi and Afghanistan service ribbons, Eddie was awarded Navy and Marine Commendation Medal with V for Valor. During 72 patrols and 12 combined direct-action missions, many under direct enemy fire, Eddie’s “unrelenting perseverance and loyal devotion to duty” resulted in 36 terrorists captured.
As a SEAL Eddie would continue to excel, rising not only in rank but as a true leader. He became lead sniper, lead platoon medic, lead breacher, fire team leader, master training specialist, squad leader and eventually, lead petty officer where he was in charge of entire SEAL platoon deployed to the Middle East. He would be recognized by the Navy for his leadership, given the award of Sailor of the Year and Sailor of the Quarter – titles granted to superior and dedicated professionals within their commands who best represent the Navy.
Among his numerous deployments with the SEALS Eddie was again recognized for valor in combat, being twice awarded the Bronze Star with V for Valor. In one instance, under enemy fire yet again and from multiple positions, Eddie cleared nearly 100 stalls in a bazaar in Afghanistan, secured a rooftop position, and effectively freed a friendly element that was pinned down by enemy fire. His “courageous and decisive actions silenced the enemy fire…and “by his extraordinary guidance, zealous initiative and total dedication to duty, Petty Office Gallagher reflected great credit upon himself, and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”
Eddie has undergone a total of eight tours of duty, six as an elite special forces operator serving on the front lines of combat. He is the consummate and professional warfighter, earning medal after medal for leadership and bravery in battle. In total Eddie has earned the Bronze star with V for Valor twice, Meritorious Unit commendation, Presidential Unit citation two Navy Commendation medals, three Navy and Marine Corps Achievement medals, and four good conduct awards. His last deployment in 2017 to Iraq where he was tasked with leading his platoon to clear ISIS from Mosul, Eddie was awarded #1 SEAL Chief and #1 SEAL platoon.
Eddie’s record and reputation as an elite warrior is rivaled only by a few men who have served by his side as special warfare operators and heroes who have gone before him. He does not seek recognition for his work, but his service demands the respect and honor owed to the special breed of warrior ready to answer our Nation’s call.
Billy's son, Special Operations Chief (SEAL) Aaron Carson Vaughn (DEVGRU), was one of America's most elite warriors... one of the 300. He was engaged kinetically in the Global War on Terror and his heart beat passionately for the republic he loved. On 6 Aug, 2011 he, along with 29 other rough, fearless, American warriors, stepped into a CH-47D Chinook chopper in the black of night and headed to a mission from which they would never return. As Billy and his wife, Karen began searching for answers, their eyes were opened to vile atrocities being played out on America's military. They quickly came face-to-face with their worst nightmare...our boys shouldn't have died that night. The downing of Extortion 17 was at best unnecessary and at worst a negligent, reckless loss of life. Political games, criminal Rules of Engagement and Washington's total, wanton lack of regard for the battles our fearless warriors face on a nightly basis finally culminated in the greatest one-day loss of life in the history of Naval Special Warfare. If these atrocities had ended on August 6, 2011, Billy's battle would never have begun. But multitudes since have breathed their last --at the hands of the same disgusting lack of regard and/or criminal behavior. Our defenders deserve to be defended. The burden of their covering rests on us, the patriots of this nation. It is imperative that we stand together and demand change. Although Billy cannot be engaged in this war kinetically as Aaron was, he feels the absolute need to be engaged culturally.
Karen Vaughn is the mother of fallen US Navy SEAL, Aaron Carson Vaughn (SEAL Team VI). On August 6, 2011, Aaron was killed in action in the Tangi River Valley of Afghanistan when a chopper (call sign Extortion 17) carrying thirty Americans was shot from the sky while rushing into battle. The day Aaron’s life ended Karen’s began again. Over the past five years, Karen has emerged on the national scene as a powerful spokeswoman for not only our defenders still fighting on foreign soil and securing peace across the globe, but also as an advocate for a better, stronger, more resilient America. Carrying on Aaron’s legacy has brought this Gold Star mother through the halls of Congress, into a National Press Conference, onto multiple national television sets and dozens of radio programs. She’s been featured on large stages across this country as a keynote speaker, including a guest speaker position during the opening night of the 2016 Republican National Convention. Karen has been married to Billy Vaughn for almost thirty-seven years and still believes their greatest accomplishment on earth was raising their three children: Aaron, Tara, and Ana.
LTG (Ret) William G. "Jerry" Boykin was one of the original members of the US Army's Delta Force. He was privileged to ultimately command these elite warriors in combat operations. Later, Jerry Boykin commanded all the Army's Green Berets as well as the Special Warfare Center and School.
In his thirty-six years in the army, LTG Boykin also served a tour with the CIA. He has participated in clandestine operations around the world and served his last four years in the Army as the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence. Today he is an ordained minister with a passion for spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ and encouraging Christians to become Warriors in God's Kingdom.
Since June of 2012, Jerry has been serving as the Executive Vice President of the Washington DC based Family Research Council. He is also the occupies the Wheat Chair for Leadership Studies at Hampden Sydney College in Virginia.
William and his wife Ashley enjoy spending time with their five children and growing number of grandchildren.
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