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Old 10 June 2010, 20:29
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PJ MEDEVAC Shot down

An unfortunate incident that isn't being covered, but there were PJ casualties. I hope the injured make a full recovery and the fallen are honored.


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...060901071.html

KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN -- Insurgents shot down an American medevac helicopter in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday in a rare attack that killed four U.S. troops and increased the toll of one of the deadliest weeks for NATO forces since the war began in late 2001.

Also Wednesday, a British soldier died in a roadside bombing in the southern province of Helmand, bringing the number of NATO troops killed in Afghanistan since Sunday to 23. And a suicide bomb attack at an Afghan wedding reception in Kandahar province killed at least 40 people Wednesday night and left nearly 80 wounded, news services reported.

The Air Force Black Hawk helicopter was shot down around noon in the Sangin district, in eastern Helmand, U.S. and Afghan officials said.

A rocket-propelled grenade appears to have downed the craft, said Brig. Gen. Frederick B. Hodges, one of the top U.S. commanders in southern Afghanistan, who cited the findings of a preliminary investigation.

Hodges said NATO aircraft are routinely shot at, but generally without deadly effect because the Taliban appears to lack sophisticated surface-to-air missiles.

"It's a big deal every time we lose someone," he said. "But this is more of a jolt. The medevac crews are some of the bravest people in the world. Just by the nature of what they do, they're always moving into danger."

Three service members survived the crash, Hodges said.

The Taliban asserted responsibility for the attack in a statement that said insurgents fired at the aircraft as it was flying at a low altitude near the market in Sangin.

American helicopters are particularly vulnerable to Taliban attacks when operating in areas such as Sangin, where there are relatively few U.S. and NATO forces. In many of the remote valleys of eastern Afghanistan with a light U.S. presence, earlier Taliban shoot-downs of Chinooks and Black Hawks forced U.S. commanders to change tactics.

The rocket-propelled grenades and the heavy machine guns that the Taliban has used are fairly crude. To counter them, U.S. helicopter crews entering remote valleys have shifted to flying only at night and only on evenings when there was little moonlight. The restrictions made it harder to reach more isolated U.S. bases but helped to mitigate attacks.

The lack of Taliban surface-to-air capacity has given the United States and other foreign powers a tactical advantage, enabling them to fly at relatively low altitudes over insurgent strongholds in the south and the east. In contrast, the U.S. decision in the 1980s to supply mujaheddin in Afghanistan with Stinger missiles marked one of the major turning points of the Islamic rebels' fight against Soviet forces. Russian aircraft were forced to fly at much higher altitudes or risk being shot down.

The rising death toll comes as the U.S. military is deploying thousands of troops to Helmand and Kandahar provinces in a bid to take Taliban strongholds.

Hodges said the recent casualties have been painful but not surprising. "We had expected the enemy to push back as we have more and more success," he said.

Staff writer Greg Jaffe contributed to this report from Vermont.
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Old 10 June 2010, 22:27
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RIP Brothers.
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Old 10 June 2010, 22:33
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RIP. Prayers for the families.
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Old 11 June 2010, 01:02
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I've not pressed for futher details, but It's been relayed to me there is a story yet to be told.

Three PJ's on the trail aircraft in the formation saved the lives of the the other three crew members. Undoubtedly risked their lives and tried to get everybody from the burning wreckage even while the hostile threat was still in the area.

RIP in to the KIA and prayers for the KIA and the critically injured.
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Old 11 June 2010, 01:05
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RIP, speedy recovery to the injured.
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Old 11 June 2010, 01:10
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Blue skies, Brothers.
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Old 11 June 2010, 01:11
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Old 11 June 2010, 01:52
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Old 11 June 2010, 02:23
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Blue Skies and Prayers out to the families....
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Old 11 June 2010, 02:30
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RIP!
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Old 11 June 2010, 06:02
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They released the names



They died June 9, near Forward Operating Base Jackson, Afghanistan, in a helicopter crash. Killed were:

Staff Sgt. Michael P. Flores, 31, of San Antonio, Texas, assigned to the 48th Rescue Squadron, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz.

1st Lt. Joel C. Gentz, 25, of Grass Lake, Mich., assigned to the 58th Rescue Squadron, Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.

Staff Sgt. David C. Smith, 26, of Eight Mile, Ala., assigned to the 66th Rescue Squadron, Nellis Air Force Base.

Senior Airman Benjamin D. White, 24, of Erwin, Tenn., assigned to the 48thRescue Squadron, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.


RIP Gentlemen

A friend in one of these units tells me that the three WIA are being treated in Germany, are in really bad shape, and could use all the prayers they can get.
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Old 11 June 2010, 06:05
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Prayers out to the injured....and Rest In Peace to the fallen.
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Old 11 June 2010, 11:32
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RIP to the fallen
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Old 11 June 2010, 13:11
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Lt Gentz is from my local area. I'm planning on attending local services and will post info on them as available.

Www.mlive.Jackson
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Last edited by RetPara; 11 June 2010 at 13:13.
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Old 11 June 2010, 13:18
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RIP brothers, prayers and condolences out to the survivors and all family members. Tough loss there.
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Old 11 June 2010, 17:20
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Rest easy men.
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Old 11 June 2010, 19:32
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Blue skies, RIP.
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  #18  
Old 11 June 2010, 21:27
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Just for clarification, Mike Flores and Ben White were Pararescuemen, Joel Gentz was a CRO (Pararescue Officer). Blue Skies.
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Old 11 June 2010, 23:00
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Local articles about LT Gentz....

http://topics.mlive.com/tag/Joel%20Gentz/index.html
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Old 12 June 2010, 01:54
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RIP and prayers to the family and friends.

Brought back memories of another June 9th, 42 years ago.

On 9 June 1968 US Coast Guard Lt. Jack C. Rittichier, pilot; and US Air Force Capt. Richard C. Yeend, Jr., Co-pilot; SSgt. Elmer L. Holden, flight engineer; and Sgt. James D. Locker, Pararescueman; comprised the crew of a HH3E helicopter (tail #67-14710), call sign "Jolly Green 23" was downed northwest of the A Shau Valley,
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