Two Lifelong Friends Among the Dead in U.S. Helicopter Attack

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By Ivana Kvesic, Christian Post Reporter
August 8, 2011|10:11 pm

Two of the 22 Navy seals that died in Saturday's fatal helicopter crash had an unlikely connection that bound them together in both life and death.

Robert James Reeves and Jonas Kelsall both came from the same elite Navy Seal Unit Six that killed Osama bin Laden, grew up in the same small town, and happened to be best friends.

The two men grew up in Shreveport, Louisiana and met during their first year of high school at Caddo Magnet High School.

According to friends and family both played on the school soccer team together and were "inseparable" during their early years.

Kelsall joined the army after high school graduation and attended the University of Texas. He died a lieutenant commander at the age of 33 and is survived by his wife of three years, Victoria.

Kelsall's father, John Kelsall, is the president and CEO of California's Lakewood Chamber of Commerce. An associate of Mr. Kelsall told Beachcomber news that Kelsall's father was always talking about "my son, the Seal."

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Reeves died as a chief petty officer just days after his 32nd birthday and his father told the New York Times of his son, "It had never been obvious to me that he was going to choose a military career. It is very difficult to make it on these SEAL teams. But that was where he knew he needed to be."

The SEAL's and American service members died while on a rescue mission for U.S. Army Rangers that had come under heavy attack in the eastern province of Wardak.

It is unclear if the attacks were revenge carried out for the death of Osama bin Laden, however, some analysts argue that it is likely that the attack on the helicopter was intended to take revenge on the Navy Seal Unit Six that took bin Laden down.

The attack marks the largest single death toll of the U.S. in Afghanistan since 2001, and also marks the largest loss of U.S. special operations forces since WWII.

Afghan President Hamid Karazi expressed his "deep condolences" over the attack.

The border provinces of Afghanistan's capital of Kabul, including the province where the helicopter crashed, Wardak, have been seeing an increased presence of insurgency fighting and a recent U.N. report highlights that the month of June saw an all-time high of security incidences in the country.

 

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