Probe of Deadly Chopper Downing Evaluates Rescue Mission

Tuesday, 09 Aug 2011 04:22 PM

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Investigators probing the downing of a Chinook helicopter that killed 38 U.S. and Afghan troops are checking whether their rescue mission was necessary. The investigators have determined that the crash on Saturday probably resulted from an insurgent’s “lucky shot” with a rocket-propelled grenade, The Washington Post reported.

When struck, the helicopter was on a mission in the remote Tangi Valley of eastern Afghanistan to aid a Special Operations force that had come under fire. It was hit just as it arrived on the scene, killing all aboard. However, the commandos on the scene secured the area and held off the insurgents until another helicopter arrived, the Post reported.

The action raised questions for investigators about whether the original rescue mission was necessary, military officials said.

“At this point, it’s a one-off incident,” Marine Col. David Lapan told the Post. “It’s the danger of operating aircraft in combat.”

In the past year and a half, commanders have been pulling out of remote areas such as the Tangi, Pech, and Korengal valleys, giving insurgents free rein. However, U.S. forces have begun to challenge the insurgents in the areas again with periodic raids referred to as “mowing the grass,” the Post reported.



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