NORFOLK (NNS) -- Nine military personnel were killed and three others were injured when the helicopter in which they were traveling crashed in Zabul province in Southern Afghanistan, Sept. 21. Personnel on board were supporting a special operations mission.
Three Navy SEALs and one Naval Special Warfare support technician are among the dead. Five U.S. Army air crew members also perished in the crash, and three other coalition personnel are in critical condition at a U.S. medical facility in Afghanistan.
The names of the deceased Navy members are Lt. Brendan Looney, 29, of Owings, Md., Senior Chief Cryptologic Technician David McLendon, 30, of Thomasville, Ga., Special Warfare Operator 2nd Class Adam Smith, 26, of Hurdland, Mo., and Special Warfare Operator 3rd Class Denis Miranda, 24, of Toms River, N.J.
"On behalf of the entire Naval Special Warfare community - we extend our sincerest condolences to all the families of our fallen brothers, our Navy SEALs and support tech, Army air crewmen, and coalition personnel," said Rear Adm. Edward Winters, commander, Naval Special Warfare Command. "Our prayers are with these families during this very difficult time."
Looney graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2004 where he was an all-American for the Navy lacrosse team. Following graduation, he was commissioned as a Naval intelligence officer and accepted a tour with Commander Naval Forces Korea, Detachment Chinhae. In May 2006, he accepted an assignment with an east coast Naval Special Warfare unit, after which he was assigned to Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training in March 2007.
Upon graduation from BUD/S, Looney was assigned to a west coast based SEAL team, where he participated in numerous joint exercises and developed his skills as a special warfare operator. Fellow SEALs described Looney as a skilled SEAL operator who led and motivated the people around him.
McLendon was a Navy cryptologic technician assigned to an east coast Naval Special Warfare unit. He entered the Navy in 1998 and reported to Recruit Training Command at Great Lakes, Ill.
In September of 1998, McLendon attended "CT" A school at Corry Station, Pensacola, Fla. During his 12-year Navy career, McLendon served at various Navy commands in Norfolk, Va., Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and Brunswick, Maine. His fellow service members said they remember McLendon as a consummate Navy professional.
McClendon is survived by his wife and parents.
Smith entered the Navy in October 2004 and attended aviation technical training at Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola, Fla. In March of 2005, Smith was accepted to BUD/S.
After SEAL qualification training, Smith was assigned to an east coast SEAL Team, where he excelled as a special warfare operator, making numerous deployments in support of overseas contingency operations. Smith is described by fellow SEALs as a highly decorated combat veteran and dedicated teammate.
Smith is survived by his mother and father.
Miranda entered the Navy in September 2003 and attended aviation technical training at NAS Pensacola, Fla. After technical school, Miranda was assigned to Patrol Squadron 8 in Jacksonville, Fla. where he worked as a maintenance technician until November, 2006.
He was accepted to BUD/S in early 2007, and after SEAL qualification training, he was assigned to an east coast SEAL team. Teammates described him as a budding superstar with promise of a successful career as a Navy SEAL.
Miranda is survived by his mother and father.
All four Sailors were highly accomplished service members and three were decorated combat veterans. They were recipients of numerous awards and citations.
"These men bravely and unselfishly answered the nation's call to defend freedom and protect the nation and its allies from terrorism," said Winters. "The loss of these brave warriors will only strengthen our resolve in the fight against extremism and terror."
For more news from Naval Special Warfare Group Two, visit www.navy.mil/local/nswgtwo/.