This Sunday marks the three year anniversary of the day we lost several of
our nation’s finest warriors. On August 16, 2012, a Blackhawk helicopter
(Call-sign: OZZIE 72) supporting a Charlie Platoon, SEAL Team THREE
operation in Afghanistan was shot down by an enemy RPG. All aboard were
killed. Among those lost were SO1 Pat Feeks, SO2 Dave Warsen, EOD1 Sean
Carson, as well as four US Army aircrew, three Afghan Commandos, and a local
Every year on the anniversary of this day I like to take a moment to honor
their memory and ensure that we do not forget the fallen. I offer the below
snapshots of lives well lived in service to our country.
Pat Feeks was a man that embodied the SEAL Ethos. “Earn your Trident every
day” was a motto that Pat lived. After a vicious fire fight earlier in the
deployment – a fire fight that would shake most average people – Pat’s only
thoughts were of how he could have done things better. This is despite the
fact that by all accounts from his teammates he performed above and beyond
his duties. He was more dedicated to the job than any SEAL I’ve ever met,
and he was GOOD at it. He was handpicked shortly before his death to join
Charlie Platoon to replace other wounded operators due to his competence,
skill, and dedication. It is a fate that has befallen many of our best –
picked for the toughest assignments because they were the best at their job.
Dave Warsen was an outstanding operator and teammate. He cared deeply for
his friends and would do anything to take care of them. Four days before
OZZIE 72 was shot down, Dave was in a CH-47 Chinook helicopter that rolled
over as it attempted to land during a previous operation. Dave narrowly
avoided serious injury, but was shaken by this crash. Despite this, Dave
boarded OZZIE 72 on that fateful morning – not because he wanted to get on
that helicopter, but because he knew he had to in order to provide security
for his teammates on the ground. It was the epitome of a selfless act.
Sean Carson was a fearless EOD operator. He was routinely relied upon to
choose the patrol route through IED infested terrain and he frequently led
the way. Despite several IED strikes on that deployment that resulted in the
deaths and catastrophic injury to several teammates, Sean continued to
ignore the dangers and selflessly seek the most hazardous jobs on the
battlefield. As EOD operators go, he was without equal.
It is easy to be consumed by the daily grind of our jobs. However, I hope
this message serves as a reminder of the importance of our jobs – the end
state of our duties is enabling our bravest men and women to successfully
engage the enemy. These brave men and the virtues they embodied –
selflessness, professionalism, courage – are an example to us all and a
reminder of the privilege it is to live besides such extraordinary human
Please take a moment this Sunday to remember these warriors and the
sacrifice they made so that we can all live free.