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Leaders Offer Condolences in Wake of Helicopter Crash

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 6, 2011 – Senior U.S. leaders today extended condolences to the families of American and Afghan forces lost in an International Security Assistance Force helicopter crash in eastern Afghanistan.

Thirty ISAF service members, a civilian interpreter and seven Afghan commandos were killed when a coalition CH-47 Chinook crashed earlier today, ISAF Joint Command officials said in a news release. All of the ISAF service members on board were from the United States.

The incident, officials said, represents the highest number of U.S. forces killed during a single event in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

An investigation is under way to determine the exact cause of the crash, officials added, noting that additional details will be provided as they become available.

In the wake of the crash, senior leaders issued statements to offer their condolences to the service members’ loved ones. 

“My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and loved ones of the Americans who were lost earlier today in Afghanistan,” President Barack Obama said. “Their deaths are a reminder of the extraordinary sacrifices made by the men and women of our military and their families, including all who have served in Afghanistan.

“We also mourn the Afghans who died alongside our troops in pursuit of a more peaceful and hopeful future for their country,” the president added.

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta also expressed his sorrow for the loss. 

"I am deeply saddened by the loss of many outstanding Americans in uniform and of their Afghan counterparts earlier today in Afghanistan,” he said. “Their courage was exemplary, as was their determination to make this a safer world for their countries and for their fellow citizens.

“We will stay the course to complete that mission, for which they and all who have served and lost their lives in Afghanistan have made the ultimate sacrifice,” he continued. “They and their families are in my thoughts, in my prayers and in my heart."

Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen, ISAF commander, added his condolences. 

“No words describe the sorrow we feel in the wake of this tragic loss,” the general said. “All of those killed in this operation were true heroes who had already given so much in the defense of freedom. Their sacrifice will not be forgotten. 

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families who are now waiting for their loved ones to return home,” he continued. “We will do everything in our power to support them in this time of need.

“We also mourn the loss of our heroic Afghan partners who fight with us shoulder to shoulder, every day,” Allen added.

The United States will draw inspiration from the lives of those who were lost, Obama said, and continue the work of securing the country and standing up for the values they embodied.

“At this difficult hour," the president added, “all Americans are united in support of our men and women in uniform who serve so that we can live in freedom and security.”


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Leon E. Panetta
Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen

Related Sites:
NATO International Security Assistance Force


Article is closed to new comments.

The opinions expressed in the following comments do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Defense.

8/10/2011 9:06:40 AM
Their sacrifice will not be forgotten. My condolences go out to the 28 Nation States of NATO International Security Assistance Forces and fellow Afghan warriors. May Allah and God bless them in their continued sacrifice to bring peace and security to a hurting World.
- Dennis Alan Seifert, Corona, CA United States

8/8/2011 12:29:31 PM
You put all the eggs in one basket...bad military strategy!! When sending troops into a hot zone, you need to preceed them with arial support. bombs,missles, possibly by drone or inexpensive aircraft... Always drop troop away from the hot zone and let them get thier by foot.. you drop several miles away maybe as far as 100 miles, which should take 4-5 days on foot.. You always have to think ahead, how many soldiers are we gonna lose, how many planes are we gonna lose, and think around the loss so you can avoid the losses..
- albert, Santa Barbara,Ca.

8/7/2011 12:45:37 PM
Accept mine the condolence
- serg65, Russia

8/7/2011 2:59:41 AM
Every single person serving in all branches of the US Military; THANKYOU and God Bless to you ALL !
- Matthew Burns, Dallas, Texas

8/7/2011 1:18:59 AM
Our prayers fo to the Families of Our Fallen Heroes. May they some comfort in that their sons and daughters are fighting the good fight. THANK You and God Bless you.
- Sherry, Wisconsin

8/6/2011 11:58:29 PM
God Bless our Men, one word of honor and integrity from our bible is John 15:13 " Greater love has no one than this. Than to lay down one's life for his friends" Isaiah 40:28-31 Have you not known ? have you not heard? The everlasting God, The Lord, The creator of the ends of the earth. Neither faints nor grows weary, His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak and to those who have no might he gives strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary and the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength, THEY Shall mount up with wings like eagles They Shall run and not be weary They shall walk and not faint. THOSE WHO BELIVE IN ME SHALL HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE (JOHN 3:16) MY HEART AND PRAYERS WITH YOU ALL. I have two sons in the marines also, I belive this is the greatest sacifice. and I am so proud of our men who protect us. What a blessing from our Lord Lorriann
- lorri bruner, san diego ca

8/6/2011 7:07:59 PM
It's just sad that It takes a tradagy like this to make it on the news.. I have seen and lost a few soldiers, and yet they were forgoten. It's only the soldiers that are made famouse that make it in the news... God Bless All the Soldiers. Including the ones in this unfortante attack.
- Kris, New York

8/6/2011 5:56:10 PM
as a Honor Guard Commander me and my team would like to expres our condolences to the Family and friends, our thoughts and prayers will be with you , they will not be forgotten !!! with kind regards Frank
- Captain F.D.Rudder, belgium

8/6/2011 4:33:04 PM
I would also like to send my deepest condolences to those who lost loves ones. I really appreciate each and every one of you more than words can explain. Please know that you have a Nation that is keeping you all in our thoughts and prayers. God Bless America and Our Troops.
- Kaylee Marie Radzyminski, Tennessee

8/6/2011 3:19:48 PM
Deepest Condolences on this Big Loss! It is very sad indeed!! Our thoughts and Prayers go out especially to their Families, Relatives and Friends! They did a big sacrifice and are Heroes! God Bless them and May them rest in Peace! Our Heart and Prayers are with them! Amen!
- Carolina Widmann , Switzerland

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