U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 705-11
August 11, 2011
DOD Identifies Service Members Killed In CH-47 Crash
The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of 30 servicemembers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. They died August 6, 2011 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when their CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.
The following sailors assigned to an East Coast-based Naval Special Warfare unit were killed:
- Lieutenant Commander (SEAL) Jonas B. Kelsall, 32, of Shreveport, Louisiana
- Special Warfare Operator Master Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Louis J. Langlais, 44, of Santa Barbara, California
- Special Warfare Operator Senior Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Thomas A. Ratzlaff, 34, of Green Forest, Arkansas
- Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician Senior Chief Petty Officer (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist/Freefall Parachutist) Kraig M. Vickers 36, of Kokomo, Hawaii,
- Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Brian R. Bill, 31, of Stamford, Connecticut
- Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) John W. Faas, 31, of Minneapolis, Minnesota
- Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Kevin A. Houston, 35, of West Hyannisport, Massachusetts
- Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Matthew D. Mason, 37, of Kansas City, Missouri
- Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Stephen M. Mills, 35, of Fort Worth, Texas,
- Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician Chief Petty Officer (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist/Freefall Parachutist/Diver) Nicholas H. Null, 30, of Washington, West Virginia
- Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Robert J. Reeves, 32, of Shreveport, Louisiana
- Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Heath M. Robinson, 34, of Detroit, Michigan
- Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Darrik C. Benson, 28, of Angwin, California
- Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL/Parachutist) Christopher G. Campbell, 36, of Jacksonville, North Carolina
- Information Systems Technician Petty Officer 1st Class (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist/Freefall Parachutist) Jared W. Day, 28, of Taylorsville, Utah,
- Master-at-Arms Petty Officer 1st Class (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist) John Douangdara, 26, of South Sioux City, Nebraska
- Cryptologist Technician (Collection) Petty Officer 1st Class (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist) Michael J. Strange, 25, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL/Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist) Jon T. Tumilson, 35, of Rockford, Iowa,
- Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Aaron C. Vaughn, 30, of Stuart, Florida, and
- Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Jason R. Workman, 32, of Blanding, Utah.
The following sailors assigned to a West Coast-based Naval Special Warfare unit were killed:
- Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Jesse D. Pittman, 27, of Ukiah, California, and
- Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 2nd Class (SEAL) Nicholas P. Spehar, 24, of Saint Paul, Minnesota
The soldiers killed were:
- Chief Warrant Officer David R. Carter, 47, of Centennial, Colo. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 135th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), Aurora, Colorado
- Chief Warrant Officer Bryan J. Nichols, 31, of Hays, Kan. He was assigned to the 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), New Century, Kansas
- Staff Sgt. Patrick D. Hamburger, 30, of Lincoln, Neb. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 135th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), Grand Island, Nebraska
- Sgt. Alexander J. Bennett, 24, of Tacoma, Wash. He was assigned to the 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), New Century, Kansas; and
- Spc. Spencer C. Duncan, 21, of Olathe, Kan. He was assigned to the 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), New Century, Kansas
The airmen killed were:
- Tech. Sgt. John W. Brown, 33, of Tallahassee, Florida
- Staff Sgt. Andrew W. Harvell, 26, of Long Beach, California; and
Tech. Sgt. Daniel L. Zerbe, 28, of York, Pennsylvania
All three airmen were assigned to the 24th Special Tactics Squadron, Pope Field, North Carolina
UPDATE: August 12, 2011 — Sergeant Hamburger was posthumously promoted to Staff Sergeant.
A Navy SEAL from North Texas has been identified as one of the 30 United States troops killed when their Chinook helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan.
Stephen Matthew Mills was from Arlington, Texas. He graduated from Martin High School. Those close to Mills confirm he was the leader of a 22-member SEAL Team 6 troop killed in the attack.
Mills leaves behind three children and his wife whom he married earlier this year. He served as a Navy SEAL for 10 years, and joined the Navy 14 years ago.
SEAL Team 6 is the elite unit that carried out the operation that killed Osama bin Laden, although none of the members killed in the helicopter attack were part of that mission.
The Taliban is claiming responsibility for bringing down the helicopter with a rocket-propelled grenade. Seven Afghans who were part of the commando force were also killed.
The attack marks the deadliest day for U.S. troops since the start of the war nearly a decade ago.
Matt Mills made faces at his family and friends, joked around with everyone and possessed enough humor to fill Texas.
The 35-year-old also loved his wife and children and being a member of one of the most elite military units in this country: the Navy SEALs.
He died this weekend as a member of that unit. Mills was one of the 30 American service members killed when their helicopter was shot down near Kabul, Afghanistan, in a mission to aid Army Rangers who had come under fire.
“I just want people to remember the sacrifice he gave for this country,” said cousin Tina Mills Cunningham of Arlington. “He was always giving to other people. He knew quite a few people.”
That was evident from the outpouring of sympathy Sunday for the Mills family on Facebook.
Mills, who was married in April, was based in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He had spent his childhood in Tulsa and attended Arlington schools.
He had three children from a previous marriage — two sons, Cash and Bryce, and a daughter, Zoe.
“His dad was in construction, and they moved a lot, but I remember those visits to Tulsa and Arlington,” Cunningham said.
Cunningham said Mills followed a family tradition: a military career. Mills had been a Navy SEAL for 14 years.
He was a member of the SEAL unit that killed Osama bin Laden more than three months ago, but none who died Saturday took part in the bin Laden mission.
This weekend, the rescue team had subdued attackers pinning down the Rangers and they were departing in their Chinook helicopter when the aircraft was apparently hit.
The death toll included 22 SEALs, three Air Force combat controllers, and a dog handler and his dog.
Cunningham said she believes that her cousin had been in Afghanistan for on a few weeks because he had been on his honeymoon just over a month ago.
Cunningham said that she asked about his tours whenever he was home, but he never talked much about them.
“He kept saying he just had a job to do,” she said.
As for why he became a SEAL, Cunningham isn't quite sure.
“I don't know why Matt became a Navy SEAL other than the fact that he was always up for a challenge,” she said. “And he loved his country.”
Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Stephen M. Mills, 35, of Fort Worth, Texas, enlisted in January 1997, according to the Navy.
He graduated from basic training in March 1997 and service school training in June 1997, subsequently reporting to the since-decommissioned Spruance-class destroyer Kinkaid, where he served for three years.
Mills graduated from Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training at Coronado, California, in March 2001, and then reported to a West Coast-based SEAL team. He joined his East Coast-based SEAL team in March 2005.
His decorations include two Bronze Star Medals with ‘V’ device for valor, Joint Service Commendation Medal with ‘V’ device for valor, Joint Service Achievement Medal, four Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medals (one with ‘V’ device for valor), Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation with ‘O’ device, four Good Conduct Medals, National Defense Service Medal, two Armed Forces Expeditionary Medals, three Afghanistan Campaign Medals, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, seven Sea Service Deployment Ribbons, Rifle Marksmanship Medal and Pistol Marksmanship Medal.
MILLS, STEPHEN M
SOC US NAVY
- DATE OF BIRTH: 10/25/1975
- DATE OF DEATH: 08/06/2011
- BURIED AT: SECTION 60 SITE 9933
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard