The Operation Enduring Freedom is a high point in the history of the US Navy SEALs. A military plan launched by the United States and its allies as part of the war on terror against the Al-Qaeda and its affiliated terrorist groups, the Operation Enduring Freedom saw the largest number of Navy SEALs units to date deployed in strategic missions in Afghanistan. These Navy SEAL missions became crucial in the successes that the United States have met so far in this widespread military operation.
There are many Navy SEAL missions conducted in Afghanistan that were considered key points in the war on terror. Below is a brief description of the most notable Navy SEAL missions under Operation Enduring Freedom.
Establishment of Camp Rhino
Camp Rhino is the first forward-operating land base that was captured by United States troops in Afghanistan. The capture of this base on November 2001 is also the longest amphibious raid conducted by Navy SEALs to date. It took four days for Navy SEALs units to observe the base and its airstrip in order to secure it for the incoming Marine troops.
Capturing and securing this base for the Marines is also considered as one of the most efficient Navy SEAL missions ever conducted in Afghanistan. That is because there were no casualties suffered and not even a shot was fired by the Navy SEALs in conducting this mission. Camp Rhino became the first foothold of the United States troops in Afghanistan.
Task Force K-Bar
Task Force K-Bar, officially known as the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-South, is a combined force composed of Special Forces teams from seven different countries other than the United States. The leader of this task force is a captain of the Navy SEALs, Captain Robert Harward.
The units comprising Task Force K-Bar were among the first ground assault teams that fought in the invasion of Afghanistan. From October 2001 to March 2002, this task force completed more than 40 reconnaissance and direct action missions south of Afghanistan. The task force was responsible for capturing the Taliban leader Mullah Khairullah Kahirkhawa as well as for finding large caches of weapons and supplies stashed in caves in the Zhawar Kili Valley.
Operation Red Wing
Operation Red Wing was a Navy SEAL mission conducted in the Kunar Province on June 28, 2005, with the goal of capturing or killing a high-ranking leader of the Taliban. This operation was technically a failure and represented the largest loss of life to date in the invasion of Afghanistan but it nonetheless highlighted the brand of bravery and selflessness possessed by members of the Navy SEALs.
The operation was conducted by a patrol team composed of four Navy SEALs: Lt. Michael P. Murphy, Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Danny Dietz, Sonar Technician 2nd Class Matthew Axelson, and Petty Officer 1st Class Marcus Luttrell. They were ambushed by a much larger Taliban force. Murphy exposed himself to gunfire in order to radio for backup. He was indeed shot in the back and was forced to drop the transmitter he was using. Still, he managed to pick it up and complete the transmission.
Murphy, Axelson and Dietz were killed in that ambush while Luttrell was knocked unconscious. When the backup that Murphy called in came, the helicopter bearing them was shot down by the Taliban, killing all the 16 soldiers boarded in it. Luttrell was later rescued and the remains of those who died in the mission were recovered.
For his service to the country in the war on terror despite facing certain death, Murphy was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously. The other Navy SEALs in his team were given the Navy Cross.
This Article is written by James Kara Murat