On May 1, 2011, Aaron Carson Vaughn, member of America’s elite special operations force, Seal Team VI, called his father, Billy Vaughn and exclaimed:
“Dad, we got him!”
The elder Vaughn asked: “Got who, son?”
Aaron Vaughn replied: “Who do you think? Go turn on the TV.”
On television shortly thereafter, President Obama declared to the nation that Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind of the deadly attacks of September 11, 2001 was dead.
Vice-President Biden Applauds and Endangers the Seals
“Admiral James Stavridis … can tell you more about … the incredible, the phenomenal, the just almost unbelievable capacity of his Navy SEALs and what they did last Sunday… I’d be remiss also if I didn’t say an extra word about the incredible events, extraordinary events of this past Sunday. As Vice President of the United States, as an American, I was in absolute awe of the capacity and dedication of the entire team, both the intelligence community, the CIA, the SEALs.” (emphasis added)
Less than a day after Biden’s remarks Aaron Vaughn called his mother Karen:
“There’s chatter and all of our lives are in danger including yours, Mom.”
Three Months Later A Deadly Attack on Seal Team VI
On August 6, 2011, in the Tangi River Valley of Afghanistan, Aaron Vaughn and 30 other Americans, including 15 members of SEAL Team VI were killed when their fifty year old helicopter, designated Extortion 17, was hit by a rocket propelled grenade sending it to crash and burn on the valley floor.
Billy and Karen Vaughn lost their only son that day. In the days, months and years that have followed, they have devoted themselves to finding out why their boy and twenty-nine other Americans died. The story of that journey is related in Betrayed: The Shocking True Story of Extortion 17.
The Vaughns reached out to members of Congress in their quest, including John Boehner, Harry Reid, and more. They were ignored by most. Lt. Colonel U.S. Army (retired) and former Florida Representative Allen West, Representatives Stephen Fincher, and Thomas Rooney did respond. The story of how the Vaughns needed a dogged determination to navigate the military and the Congress to investigate their son’s death is just one stunning element of the story. Equally as stunning is what they have found out.
Betrayed is just a primer of how our warriors are endangered, not only by the enemy they are defending us from, but how their safety is compromised by the political needs of our “leaders”.
The Story is Incomplete
Betrayed is a primer on an ongoing story. A congressional hearing to answer as yet unanswered questions regarding breaches of security, outdated equipment, rules of engagement that endanger our defenders has been held. The hearing was the result of the Vaughns’ efforts and other families of the Extortion 17 victims. For that we owe them a debt of gratitude for their efforts in the midst of their grief. We owe them our support in the continued search for answers.
We owe it to ourselves, each other and our valiant protectors to join the Vaughns in the demand for answers regarding the tragedy of Extortion 17. A way to start is by reading Betrayed: The Shocking True Story of Extortion 17. A way to continue is to ask each of our own representatives what they are doing to find the answers and protect those who defend us.
Billy Vaughn on Constitutionally Speaking
Listen to Aaron Vaughn’s father Billy tell the Extortion 17 story and his experience with our leaders on Constitutionally Speaking;
In that call, SEAL Vaughn does not relate any names to his father, not the target “we got” or the “we” involved.
The SEALs operate in absolute secrecy. That operational secrecy is paramount not only for the success of their work, but the safety of the men and their loved ones.
Along with 7 Afghan commandos, who, by an as yet unexplained quirk of fate, had been substituted at the last minute for 7 other Afghans originally scheduled for the mission.
The team responsible for the Bin Laden raid, now famously revealed by Vice-President Biden. Former CIA Director and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta had revealed not only that SEALs were involved, but specifically named SEAL Team VI.
Congressman Rooney is the Vaughns’ representative in Florida and began a personal investigation, some of which he related to Mr. Vaughn in a handwritten note.