Monthly Archives: January 2012

Petty Officer Danny Dietz – US Navy SEAL

Danny Dietz Jr. was born on January 26, 1980 in Aurora, Colorado.  He enlisted in the Navy in 1999, earned his SEAL trident in 2001 and was subsequently assigned to SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team Two in Virginia Beach, VA.

On June 28, 2005, SEAL Team 10 was assigned to kill or capture a high ranking Taliban leader in the Hindu-Kush Mountains. The SEAL team was made
up of Michael P. Murphy, Marcus Luttrell, Danny Dietz and Matthew Axelson. Luttrell and Axelson were the team’s snipers while Dietz and Murphy were the spotters.

“They were spotted by anti-coalition sympathizers, who immediately reported their position to Taliban fighters. A fierce gun-battle ensued between the four SEALs and a much larger enemy force with superior tactical position,” the Navy release said. The SEALs radioed for help, and a responding Chinook helicopter was shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade, killing eight more SEALs and eight Army Night Stalkers. It was the worst single combat loss for the SEALs in SEAL history.
Marcus Luttrell was the only survivor of the four man SEAL team.

The location of Danny’s body was unknown for seven days. His remains were recovered during a combat search and rescue operation on July 4, 2005. Dietz was returned to the United States, where he was interred with full military honors at Ft. Logan National Cemetery in Denver, CO.

A portion of the citation to accompany the Navy Cross awarded posthumously to Danny reads:

Petty Officer Dietz fought valiantly against the numerically superior and
positionally advantaged enemy force. Remaining behind in a hailstorm of enemy
fire, Petty Officer Dietz was wounded by enemy fire. Despite his injuries, he
bravely fought on, valiantly defending his teammates and himself in a harrowing
gunfight, until he was mortally wounded. By his undaunted courage in the face
of heavy enemy fire, and absolute devotion to his teammates, Petty Officer
Dietz will long be remembered for the role he played in the Global War on
Terrorism. Petty Officer Dietz’ courageous and selfless heroism, exceptional
professional skill, and utmost devotion to duty reflected great credit upon him
and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval
Service. He gallantly gave his life for the cause of freedom.

A section of Santa Fe Drive (US Highway 85) between I-25 and
C470 has been named the “Navy Seal Danny Phillip Dietz, Jr. Memorial
Highway.

.  He enlisted in the
Navy in 1999, earned his SEAL trident in 2001 and was subsequently assigned to SEAL
Delivery Vehicle Team Two in Virginia Beach, VA.

On June 28, 2005, SEAL Team 10 was assigned to kill or
capture a high ranking Taliban leader in the Hindu-Kush Mountains. The SEAL team was made
up of Michael P. Murphy, Marcus
Luttrell, Danny Dietz and Matthew Axelson. Luttrell and Axelson were the team’s snipers while Dietz
and Murphy were the spotters.

“They were spotted by anti-coalition sympathizers, who
immediately reported their position to Taliban fighters. A fierce gun-battle
ensued between the four SEALs and a much larger enemy force with superior
tactical position,” the Navy release said. The SEALs radioed for help, and
a responding Chinook helicopter was shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade,
killing eight more SEALs and eight Army Night Stalkers. It was the worst single
combat loss for the SEALs in SEAL history.
Marcus Luttrell was the only survivor of the four man SEAL team.

The location of Danny’s body was unknown for seven days. His
remains were recovered during a combat search and rescue operation on July 4,
2005. Dietz was returned to the United States, where he was interred with full military honors at Ft. Logan National Cemetery in
Denver, CO.

A portion of the citation to
accompany the Navy Cross awarded posthumously to Danny reads:

Petty
Officer Dietz fought valiantly against the numerically superior and
positionally advantaged enemy force. Remaining behind in a hailstorm of enemy
fire, Petty Officer Dietz was wounded by enemy fire. Despite his injuries, he
bravely fought on, valiantly defending his teammates and himself in a harrowing
gunfight, until he was mortally wounded. By his undaunted courage in the face
of heavy enemy fire, and absolute devotion to his teammates, Petty Officer
Dietz will long be remembered for the role he played in the Global War on
Terrorism. Petty Officer Dietz’ courageous and selfless heroism, exceptional
professional skill, and utmost devotion to duty reflected great credit upon him
and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval
Service. He gallantly gave his life for the cause of freedom.

A section of Santa Fe Drive (US Highway 85) between I-25 and
C470 has been named the “Navy Seal Danny Phillip Dietz, Jr. Memorial
Highway.

SSG Jason Wheeler

Jason L. Wheeler,
originally from Kansas City, KS enlisted in the Army while still in high
school—prior to the attacks on 9/11.  He was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division at Ft. Bragg, NC. Right out of boot camp and spent
his entire time in the Army with C-Company 2/505 Parachute Infantry Regimen of
the 82nd.  He completed three overseas tours including nine months in
Afghanistan (2003-2004), 5 months in Iraq (2005), and again to Iraq 2006-2007
(15 months).

 

Of his time in “BK” (Bara-Kout), Afghanistan, Jason recalls the beautiful mountain landscape and his time climbing them.  He can’t forget the thirteen hour trek to the top of one of the mountains (Tora-Bora Mountain Range), but then how it only took them forty-five minutes to get back down to the bottom.  Also, on a particular Quick Reaction Force mission where his unit was supposed to be out for a maximum of two-to-five hours patrolling (and therefore only had minimal supplies in their pack), only for that trip to end up lasting two weeks in the mountains with freezing temperatures at night.  Supplies were finally delivered to them via helicopter. That particular mission is one he will never forget- as he had never been so cold in his life.

During his first deployment to Iraq, Jason spent most of his time performing tower guards, on base in the center of the country.  And although he personally, was
never in too much danger during this deployment, Jason’s cousin, Cory
Mracek–whom he had just met the day they both left for the same deployment,
although with different units– was killed on January 27, 2004 by a roadside
bomb.  His cousin’s death was obviously horrific in itself for Jason’s
family, but having to endure Jason still being at war in Iraq for the final months of the deployment with Cory’s death still so recent, was extremely difficult for Jason’s family and friends.

Jason’s second deployment was to Samarra, Iraq– a city in havoc and considered one of the most dangerous cities in Iraq at the time.  While in Samarra, the city’s
prized Golden Mosque dome, which had been bombed shortly prior to his unit’s
arrival, was again attacked by insurgents who blew up the two minarets on the sides of the Golden dome.  The destruction of this famous Samarra landmark would be, to Iraqi’s, the equivalent of one of our National Landmarks here in the USA being attacked.   But how does one sum up Jason’s second tour of Iraq?  Perhaps all one needs to do is Google “The Samarra Seven” to get a better grasp of what this deployment was really like.  Jason’s unit lost too many young soldiers on this deployment, including a few of Jason’s closest friends, and several other soldiers received serious injuries due to road side bombs, Improvised Explosive Devices, and through direct contact with insurgents.  Some of the events surrounding the Samarra deployment have been picked up by the television program 20/20 and “Saved” a series on Animal Planet, for which both series Jason was interviewed.

Jason doesn’t often talk about the details of his deployments, or some of the incomprehensible experiences he and his men had to endure- but it’s obvious to those who know the Samarra “group” of soldiers that were deployed with Jason, that what they went through has created a lifelong bond that will never be broken and only ‘they’ really can understand and fully relate to each other.

Jason was honorably discharged from the Army in February 2008 and now resides in St. Louis, MO with his wife, Jennifer.  He is finishing his fourth year of college where he is working towards earning his Mechanical Engineering degree.

Cpl Darin Wittenebel

Darin Wittnebel was born and raised in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin.
He graduated from Oconomowoc High School in 2003. He attended Waukesha County
Technical College for 1 1/2 years before joining the Marines in Jan 2005. Darin served as a rifleman with 3/1 India Company.  He was deployed to Iraq 3 times. His
first deployment was Sep ’05 to Mar. ’06.  His 2nd deployment was from
April ’07 to Oct. ’07.  He volunteered to return to Iraq a third time with
a different unit in 2008. Corporal Wittnebel was honorably discharged in Jan 2009.
He currently lives in Pewaukee, Wisconsin and works as a Police Officer for the City of Waukesha.

This picture was taken after his last patrol ever

 

1st LT William Casey

1Lt. Bill Casey, United States Army Signal Corps, served as
the operations officer of the Ban Me Thuot (BMT) Signal Detachment, 459th
Signal Battalion, from October 1968 to October 1969 at Ban Me Thuot, Republic of Vietnam. BMT is in the central highlands of Vietnam located close to the Ho Chi Mine trail where Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia have intersecting boarders.

The mission of the signal detachment was to provide local and long distance telephone services along with special service and teletype circuits for both the American and Vietnamese units in the area. Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV), Special Forces units (B-23 and B-50), Air Force ALO/FACS, and the 155th Assault Helicopter Company were the primary customers as they were engaged in interdicting traffic on the trail. The 4th Infantry Division operated in the area for a time as well as the 23rd ARVN Division.

Day to day activities of the Signal Detachment were mostly routine and could be equated with operating a civilian telephone company in and around a small town anywhere in the USA. On occasion the Viet Cong would break the routine by cutting a major cable or lobbing a few mortars and rockets in and around the detachment compound. Fortunately they were very poor shots.

During his eleven years of active duty, Lt. Casey also served with the Third Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division at Camp Howze, Korea as the signal officer, the Army Electronic Proving Ground at Fort Hauchuca, Arizona, and the Public Affairs Office at Fort Richardson, Alaska. He has been awarded the Bronze Star Medal and three awards of the Army Commendation Medal. He ultimately reached the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Reserve.

Including his time in the army, he had over 35 years experience in the telecommunications business as a telephone company engineer and later as a salesperson for telecom equipment manufacturers. He is now retired.