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This site is the inspiration of a former reporter/photographer for one of New England's largest daily newspapers and for various magazines. The intent is to direct readers to interesting political articles, and we urge you to visit the source sites. Any comments may be noted on site or directed to KarisChaf at gmail.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Army’s delay of black box for Chinook too late for 22 SEALs -- Lack of ‘critical’ flight data torments families -- By Rowan Scarborough, The Washington Times

The Army talked about but never followed through on any plan to install voice and flight data recorders on one of its main war machines, the CH-47D Chinook helicopter — such as the one that was shot down in Afghanistan in 2011, killing all 30 U.S. service members onboard, including 22 members of SEAL Team 6.

The lack of these basic, post-accident investigative tools has stirred consternation among some families of the SEALs and other troops who perished in the crash, which was caused by a Taliban rocket-propelled grenade.

The top officer who investigated the crash called the lack of voice/flight data "critical."

To some families, the issue became a mystery driven by the military's own investigative file. It contains the transcript of an interview with an Army officer who led a post-crash salvage mission into the Tangi Valley. He said he was briefed to remove the flight recorder, or black box, but could not gain access to the smoldering cockpit.

To some parents of the fallen, it raised suspicions: If U.S. Central Command could not find the black box, what other gaps exist in the investigation?

Answering a query from The Washington Times, the Army confirmed that the Chinook "D" model — airframes refitted in the 1980s and early '90s — never were equipped with voice and flight data recorders.

Some parents ask why the military in Afghanistan would use the conventional D model for special operations missions, as it did Aug. 6, 2011, without installing the best equipment.

"That further shows you how dilapidated that aircraft was that night and I would also say, as a father and American citizen, look at the way the senior leadership is allowing them to operate," said Billy Vaughn, father of Aaron, a Navy SEAL who died that night.

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