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Letter to the Editor

BY DI READERS | SEPTEMBER 02, 2011 7:20 AM

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More helicopters needed

On Aug. 6, the United States lost 30 Special Forces troops, including 22 Navy SEALs, in a helicopter shot down over Afghanistan. These people were the elite of our military who have trained for these missions over many years.

Unfortunately, we have suffered similar losses in prior missions in which helicopters loaded with military personnel have been shot down or crashed because of equipment problems. Helicopters are relatively slow-moving vehicles, especially the large Chinook helicopters, which operate in proximity to the ground. They make easy targets for rocket-propelled grenades and hand-held missile systems. We need missile and RPG counter-measure defensive systems to protect our vulnerable helicopters.

U.S. Special Forces should re-evaluate their operational plans to encompass minimizing casualties from helicopter operations. Instead of loading up 38 people in one helicopter, why not use more helicopters? Granted, using more helicopters is costly, and landing zones may not be able to handle numerous helicopter landings simultaneously, but these impediments can be overcome, and our casualties can probably be reduced.

We should also determine whether there could have been an intelligence leak by Afghan forces prior to the operation.

Donald A. Moskowitz
Londonderry, N.H.


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