LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Loss of 30 servicemen in one helicopter is shameful

Wednesday, September 14, 2011 | 12:24 p.m. CDT

The recent tragic loss of 30 American servicemen (22 Navy Seals and eight crewmen) in the shoot-down of a CH-47 Chinook helicopter raises many questions in my mind.

As a former Navy Seal, I question putting an entire Seal Team detachment aboard one helicopter. We used to split them up.

Second, that detachment was top heavy with rank — a lieutenant commander; one master chief (E-9); two senior chiefs (E-9); four CPOs (E-7); several E-6s and E-5s.

In my day, a detachment was commanded by a lieutenant with a lieutenant jg (junior grade) as second; one chief petty officer and the remainder E-6s and E-5s and E-4s.

I estimate that we lost more than 400 years of experience with one rocket shot. I hope an investigation reveals who was responsible for the deaths of these brave men.

However, it will probably just be a whitewash.

Our troops are still being issued defective, cheap, after-market magazines for their M16s, M4s and M9 Berettas, which causes the weapons to jam. Remember the un-armored Humvees?

What this boils down to is that our troops (bless them all) are being misused in the tactics and issued shoddy equipment.

You won't hear a peep from our politicians (most of whom have never served) or the high-ranking officers in uniform.

There are no “Black Jack” Pershings, Douglas McArthurs, George Pattons or Chesty Pullers left. (Notice I didn’t mention Eisenhower or Marshall.)

We only have politicians in uniform who would kiss up to the devil for a promotion.

Thank you.

John P. Fitts is retired from the U.S. Navy and lives in Noel.

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