The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller

The story behind the shoot down of ‘Extortion 17′ – Part 2

On Aug. 6, 2011, Navy SEAL Team Six member Aaron Vaughn and 29 other American soldiers perished when the Taliban shot down a Chinook helicopter in an ambush in Afghanistan.

The chopper’s call name was Extortion 17.

Two-and-a-half years later, Vaughn’s parents Karen and Billy are still searching for answers and accountability to make sense of the loss. They love their country dearly and despite personal pain were willing to speak with The Daily Caller about the single largest catastrophic loss in the history of Navy Special Warfare.

The ambush occurred some 92 days after Vice President Joe Biden inappropriately disclosed that Navy Seal Team Six was the team that killed Osama bin Laden, in what the Vaughns say was an “unprecedented breach of national security.”

The family has asked the government for more information about the circumstances surrounding the attack, but Karen Vaughn said that the response has not been friendly.

“We’ve received quite a bit of pushback, mostly in the form of intimidation,” she said. “Some of those ways we really cannot talk about on film because they are very personal ways that signal that ‘we are going to isolate you, we’re going to separate you, we’re going to make you pay.’”

They have authored a book, “Betrayed,” that seeks to shed more light on the incident and remember the fallen.

In a preview segment of the interview, the Vaughns discussed which politicians and failed policies put a target on the back of their son and many other heroic American warriors.

In this last part of the interview, the Vaughns discussed seven troubling red flags they have found in looking for answers about their son’s death and the war America is waging on radical Islamic jihad. These include the restrictive and life-threatening counterinsurgency (COIN) rules of engagement policy changes in 2009 that tied the hands of warriors and militarized forms of political correctness. Karen Vaughn tells of the specific increase in numbers of killed and wounded in action after the 2009 changes in the rules of engagement.

They also recalled an uncomfortable Dover, Delaware ceremony that rocked Gold Star families who watched eight separate caskets draped with the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan flag be taken from the transport planes.

Realizing that there was a good possibility that American fighters were misplaced and in the wrongly flagged caskets, Billy Vaughn, fighting back emotion, exclaimed, “How can they be so callous? How can they be so callous? A young boy grows up, becomes an American warrior, fights for the American flag. That is what he is fighting for. That is what he wears. That is what he follows. And, then when his body lies helpless, his government, his military does not, does not treasure what he has done enough to make sure that he comes home in the flag that he fought for.” He continued, “We don’t just want to know. Somebody needs to be fired for making a decision like that. You cannot treat American warriors like that!”

“We raised him (Aaron) in the 80s when America was strong,” Karen Vaughn said. “He learned to love the America that most of us would give anything to have back right now. My greatest fear is that he and so many others will have died in vain if we don’t regain this American dream, this concept that our founders were brilliant enough to fight and die for. I feel like it will all be for naught if we don’t do something drastic right now and get a grip back on the concept of America.”

Watch Part 2:


For more information:

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Brad Matthews and Grae Stafford contributed to this report.

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