CALL SIGN EXTORTION 17
2011 - Afghanistan, Operation Lefty Grove
Chinook Helicopter (Extortion 17) Incident Involving 25 US Special Ops Forces + 5 Man Flight Crew,
All 30 killed by Taliban RPG, including Aaron Carson Vaughn, whose father voiced concerns in a book
The standard chopper escorts have all been directed elsewhere
Worse, pre-assault fire to cover the Chinook transport is not ordered
Comment From PF
This is off the book’s Amazon information section by Billy Vaughn listed in Books below
What is basically going on here is the father of a Navy Seals son, Aaron Carson Vaughn, who was downed in a
Chinook labeled Extortion 17, started digging into what really might have happened to his son at the time of his
death in Afghanistan in 2011. What he learned cast doubt as to whether there was normal protocol-based
backup and support for the mission and American soldiers involved, and also whether soft-peddling
accommodation of Afghans in general occurred at the expense of American lives and the overall progress of the
The father learned of the “hearts and minds” strategy behind the approach in Afghanistan, something which
caused him concern about American loyalties and thus the safety for his son and others. *see more on some of
the reasoning behind this below
There is also the feeling there might have been some trumping of the mission behind the scenes, like a form of
back-stabbing. The way the father approaches the subject, we get the sense that the overall approach by the
American military was giving the edge to the enemy and putting our people at risk, that it was an uphill climb
and we were defeated before we even began. If you cannot trust your supervisors to make authentic, well-
reasoned decisions and if you cannot trust the people around you, you are constantly in danger from foes both
seen and unseen. The question of infiltration from within is part of the issue, but also of non-disclosed
information and secrecy on the part of the American government. The father is suspicious of what he is being
told, and cautious about what he might not be told.
It is a horrible tragedy that not only American lives were lost, but also that so many of them were the more
specialized elite forces, assets that could have been used in future missions. It is unfortunate that so many were
put on one helicopter, given the precarious situation of all helicopters everywhere in any form of air related
problem, whether from enemies, birds or accidents. As most people realize, helicopters are dangerous in that
when their propellers are damaged, they go down fast.
Prudence dictates that military commanders do not put all of their eggs in one basket, especially a precarious air
vehicle like a helicopter. Backup support in the air and good communication with ground forces for ground
support is vital, but when not possible given the circumstances, as perhaps was the case in this operation, don’t
put a lot of elite forces in one precarious and uncertain situation. This alone is the tragedy - if we have the facts
straight, there was poor common sense by leadership.
If on top of the low common sense there was also something squirrelly going on, we do need to know about it.
There are alternative views included on this page; those views indicate there was nothing out of the ordinary in
terms of the integrity of the Americans involved or the overall situation surrounding the operation itself.
Whether or not there was something squirrelly in that particular event, some of the other concerns voiced by
the Navy Seal’s father are worth considering, including the notion of “winning hearts and minds” and imam
prayers over the man’s son without consulting with the downed soldier’s family first. If the event occurred, and
whether or not the imam was sincere - perhaps he was sincere in that he felt he was honoring people he felt
were brothers in arms - such religious activity exacted without permission from the family of the deceased
indicated a lack of sensitivity and common sense on the part of the American military. Beyond this, if the
father’s concerns are valid, Afghan prayers on American dead might show complicity with the enemy, wth hazy
lines drawn between those we should be fighting and us, and might offer glimpses into the actual motus
operandi in battle zones - and thus a part of the suspected conspiracy. As a final note on the prayer issue, see
Islamic Extremism Basics #2/Mind Tricks/Halal/Secretive Meatpacking Slaughter/Possible Food Magic. We do
not know that any form of deceptive occult intention is applied with Islamic prayer given to the dead of non-
Muslims, but we likely should consider the possibility.
What is likely is that several different points came together, along with perhaps some more subtle
undercurrents which can only be felt by the person involved, things hard to express in words. The father thus
probably acted on his intuition to gather more facts and came to the conclusion things just were not adding up
about his son specifically and the American military and its approaches in general. To sum it up, the question
the father might be asking is: Uncle Sam, are you stacking the decks against us? Are you for us or against us?
The person Extortion 17 was written about:
Aaron Carson Vaughn
Navy Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Aaron C. Vaughn
Died August 6, 2011 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom
30, of Stuart, Fla.; assigned to an East Coast-based SEAL team; died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of
wounds suffered when the CH-47 Chinook helicopter in which he was riding was shot down.
The Associated Press article listed on The Fallen
Fallen SEAL remembered as 'tough warrior, gentle man':
Elite Navy SEALs member Aaron Carson Vaughn had asked the military to return him to combat and shipped out
just six weeks before he was killed. Vaughn’s grandmother, Geneva Vaughn of Union City, Tenn., told The
Associated Press that her grandson, a Tennessee native, had wanted to be a SEAL since he was a child and
returned to combat just two weeks after his 2-month-old daughter was born this summer……Vaughn, 30, of
Stuart, Fla., leaves behind his wife, Kimberly, and two children, 2-year-old son Reagan and 2-month-old daughter
Vaughn had been based in Virginia Beach, Va., and had also seen postings in Coronado, Calif., Guam, Germany,
Iraq and Afghanistan, his grandmother said…Aaron Vaughn enlisted in November 2002, according to the Navy,
and he joined the SEALs straight out of boot camp. He completed Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL School,
Coronado, Calif., in April 2004. Vaughn served in a West Coast based special warfare unit from November 2004 to
June 2008, then moved to the East Coast-based SEAL team in June 2008….Aaron Vaughn grew up in rural Obion
County outside of Union City in northwestern Tennessee and briefly moved with his parents to Stuart as a teen.
He returned to Obion County to finish his senior year of high school, then attended two years of college before
joining the Navy.
Vaughn was already a decorated fighter when he was asked by the Navy to return stateside to become an
instructor, his grandmother said. But he chafed under the assignment and applied to SEAL Team Six after two
years, earning his way onto the squad in 2010. Geneva Vaughn said he was one of the few SEALs who performed
well enough to get his name on the “First Time Every Time Wall,” a benchmark of honor for the few SEALs who
pass every test on their first try. …“The last time he was in Afghanistan he received a medal because his team
was under fire and couldn’t see the enemy. He left the ones he was with and drew fire and killed the enemy to
save the men he was with. We couldn’t tell any of this stuff when he was alive because it was a secret,” Geneva
“He was a tough warrior, but he was a gentle man.” …“Aaron’s hard to miss — 6-feet-4, beautiful guy,” Kimberly
told WTTG-TV in Washington from her parents’ home in Burke, Va., where she was when she learned her
husband was one of the troops killed in the helicopter crash….Aaron believed that “his time, if it were to come
early, that it was meant to be. Aaron wouldn’t have wanted to leave this earth any other way than the way he did,
and that’s laying down his life serving his country.”
Vaughn’s decorations include the Purple Heart; Defense Meritorious Service Medal Joint Service Commendation
Medal with ‘V’ for valor; two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, and one with ‘V’ for valor; Presidential
Unit Citation; two Navy Good Conduct Medals; National Defense Service Medal; Afghanistan Campaign Medal;
Iraq Campaign Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; two Sea Service Deployment Ribbons; Navy Expert
Rifleman Medal and Navy Expert Pistol Shot Medal.
(2013) Betrayed: The Shocking True Story of Extortion 17 as told by a Navy SEAL's Father. By Billy Vaughn
Excerpt as shown on Amazon: Before BENGHAZI, There was EXTORTION 17.... August 06, 2011, 2:20
a.m.—Operation Lefty Grove is underway, a highly dangerous mission to take out another high-level Taliban
operative, three months after the death of Osama Bin Laden. In the dark of night, twenty-five US Special Ops
Forces and a five-man flight crew on board Extortion 17, a CH-47 Chinook helicopter. Seven unidentified Afghan
Commandos are allowed to join them.
Ground forces have already been engaged in a three-hour exhaustive battle. Extortion 17’s specially trained
warriors drop into the Hot Landing Zone to help their fellow warriors. But there’s a problem: the standard
chopper escorts have all been directed elsewhere. Mission directions are unclear. Worse, pre-assault fire to
cover the Chinook transporting our brave fighting men is not ordered.
On that fateful night, Extortion 17 would never touch down. Taliban fighters fired three rocket-propelled
grenades (RPGs) in rapid succession. The first RPG shot below the Chinook, but the second made contact in
what the military would later describe as a “one-in-a-million shot.” The shot struck a rotor blade on the aft (rear)
pylon, shearing off ten and a half feet of the blade. The third shot flew above the falling chopper. Within a matter
of seconds, the chopper begins to spin violently out of control and then drops vertically into a dry creek bed and
is engulfed in a large fireball. There are no survivors. The thirty brave Americans lost that night were more than
just warriors. They were husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons.
Billy Vaughn’s son, Aaron Carson Vaughn, was one of them. Over the next few months as unsettling information
on the tragic incident is released to the families, Billy Vaughn becomes increasingly disturbed.
Billy discovers that US military forces are not being led to win battles, but have been sent on a fool’s errand to
“win the hearts and minds” of other nations. He is told that the US Rules of Engagement have prevented our
brave defenders from defending themselves. Adding insult to injury, Billy learned that a Muslim Imam was
invited by our own US military leaders to “pray” over his son’s dead body.
As US war heroes lay in their caskets before their last flight home, the Imam damned America’s fallen warriors as
“infidels” who would burn in hell. As US military leaders observed the ceremony at Bagram Air Base, the Imam
boasted over the deaths of US heroes with words such as, “The companions of heaven [Muslims] are the
Betrayed is a heart rending account in America’s history, an engaging story of faith, patriotism, honor, duty and
loss. Betrayed is not just the biography of an American military family, it is a crucial, true-life narrative that every
American must read and understand about their government and the danger America’s military strategy
currently poses to all families. Betrayed is a book Billy Vaughn wishes he didn’t have to write. But his son is gone
and there are still unanswered questions. He needs to know if finding the truth may prevent another father from
standing in his shoes.
Call Sign Extortion 17: The Shoot-Down of SEAL Team Six. By Don Brown
The Final Mission of Extortion 17. By Ed Darack
LINKS - MORE DETAILED
Note: Links here cover several incidents in general earlier in 2011 in Afghanistan including first SEALS down in
2002,Op Red Wings; going after shooters
2011/08/10 Military Killed Taliban Fighters Who Downed U.S. Helicopter, Officials Report
Excerpt from ABC-2011/08/10-by Luis Martinez: An F-16 airstrike Monday night killed the Taliban
fighters believed to be responsible for shooting down the Chinook helicopter that killed 30
American servicemembers and eight Afghans. Included among the U.S. dead were 22 Navy Seals.
Gen. John Allen, the top NATO commander in Afghanistan, said the Taliban fighters were tracked
through intelligence gathered in the aftermath of the crash, so that "we did in fact locate them with
certainty, and we did strike them with an airstrike," Allen said.
Photos of Fallen Troops Navy Seals Killed Afghan Heli
2011/04/27 9 Americans dead after Afghan Officer Opens Fire
Excerpt: Eight American troops and a U.S. contractor died Wednesday after an Afghan military pilot
opened fire during a meeting at Kabul airport — the deadliest episode to date of an Afghan turning
against his coalition partners, officials said…
It was the seventh time so far this year that members of the Afghan security forces, or insurgents
impersonating them, have killed coalition soldiers or members of the Afghan security forces…On
April 18, an insurgent managed to sneak past security at the heavily fortified Afghan Defense
Ministry compound in the capital and killed two Afghan soldiers and an officer….
Two days before that, an Afghan soldier walked into a meeting of NATO trainers and Afghan troops
at Forward Operating Base Gamberi in Laghman province in eastern Afghanistan and detonated a
vest of explosives hidden underneath his uniform. The blast, the worst before Wednesday's
shooting, killed six American troops, four Afghan soldiers and an interpreter.
On April, 15, a suicide bomber dressed as a policeman blew himself up inside the Kandahar police
headquarters complex, killing the top law enforcement officer in the restive southern province….
In northwest Afghanistan, a man wearing an Afghan border police uniform shot and killed two
American military personnel on April 4 in Faryab. The gunman was upset over the recent burning of
the Quran at a Florida church, according to NATO intelligence officials….
In February, an Afghan soldier, who felt he had been personally offended by his German partners,
shot …In January, an Afghan solider killed an Italian soldier and wounded another in Badghis
province. The two soldiers were cleaning their weapons at a combat outpost when an Afghan soldier
approached them with an M16 rifle and asked to use their equipment to clean his gun. The Italians
saw that the Afghan soldier's rifle was loaded and asked him to unload it, at which point the Afghan
soldier shot the two Italians and escaped from the base….
Before the airport shooting, the coalition had recorded 20 incidents since March 2009 where a
member of the Afghan security forces or someone wearing a uniform used by them attacked
coalition forces, killing a total of 36
2017/08/31 Extortion 17, Seal Team 6 What Happened Deadliest Day Naval Special Warfare U.S. War Afghan. By
2011/08/07 Navy Seals Mourn Heavy Loss (2011/08/07)
2005--https //www reuters com/article/us-lonesurvivor/lone-survivor-depicts-u-s-navy-seals-
Small Wars Journal
https //smallwarsjournal com/
Operation Red Wings (Occurred in 2005)
*Depicted below is partly where hearts and minds comes from, along with its context among soldiers. Although
the operation linked to the demise of the chopper Extortion 17 and its men took place in Afghanistan during OEF
(Operation Enduring Freedom) while the material below relates to soldiers of OIF (Operation Iraqi Freedom),
American operations in both countries reflected similar lines of thinking and approaches.
* …[Lt. Colonel Michael] Infanti [of the Army 10th Mtn Div. 4/31st]…used the downtime between Iraqi deployments
to study everything he could find on counterinsurgency. He discovered a paper by General Creighton Abrams
nearly forty years before - the PROVN (Provincial Reconstruction of Vietnam) Report - to be particularly helpful.
It recommended that soldiers [clear, stay and hold]…clear areas of the enemy, then stay and hold those areas
while living among the people. Pound hell out of the bad guys while at the same protecting the locals in order
that the communities could rebuild.
In Infanti’s judgment, the key to winning lay in securing the population. The primary reason the Iraqis weren’t
rising up to throw terrorists out of the country was because of fear. They remembered 1991 when the U.S. failed
to follow through. People then who backed changed suffered terribly. Why should the Americans have the
stomach to see it through this time?
…In previous wars you were on this side of the line. You shot anything or anybody out there on the other side of
the lne. In that respect, the moder soldier was not so different from the one of a century ago or, for that matter,
from the Roman Centurion in the first-century Judea…
Things in this [Iraqi] war however didn’t seem all that simple. Rather than clarifying things, the new Rules of
Engagement (ROE) left the Joes confused and uncertain, afraid that if they made a mistake and shot at the
wrong time they might be charged with murder after the fact by people far removed from the reality of what
things were really like.
…So what do we do? Let the fuckers kill us?”
“To win this war, we have to win hearts and minds,” ROE instructors stressed. We are dedicated to liberating the
Iraqi people, not killing them. We accomplish this through kindness and understanding.”
“And” someone added “a 5.56 round through the head.”
“That’s a bad attitude to go over there with, soldier.”
You still haven’t told us what we are supposed to do…let ‘em kill us while we play nicey-nice?”
From (2009) Charles W. Sasser, None Left Behind: The 10th Mountain Division and the Triangle of Death, pp 18-21
Updates: 2021/10/06 editing and re-arranging; 2021/08/08 removed excess bold (tech error); 2020/05/09 Sasser quote added from None Left
Behind -clear, hold, stay and hearts and minds; 2020/05/06 Comments on Book Extortion 17 and Billy and Aaron Vaughn added; Page Extortion
17 Moved from River Gold to Poliee Factor; 01/31/2018; page stgarted 01/30/2018-moved fromMuslim Mafia
Afghanistan - Extortion 17
Tribute to Aaron C. Vaughn