The Department of Defense has yet to release the names of the 30 U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan this weekend in the single deadliest helicopter crash of the Afghanistan war. But as the families of service members are notified of the tragic event, a growing profile of the elite soldiers killed in the crash is becoming public knowledge as the families speak with local media. Of the 30 soldiers killed, 22 were Navy SEALs and most were members of SEAL Team 6, the unit responsible for killing Osama bin Laden in May (though none of the fallen soldiers participated in the Abbottabad raid, according to the military). Up until now, none of the names of members of SEAL Team 6 have been declassified. According to National Journal's Marc Ambinder, when members of the elite unit die, the Defense Department often issues a cover story—"generally, they were killed in training accidents in eastern Afghanistan. That’s the code." But the details of the helicopter crash have become public and the families of the soldiers are speaking out. Here are the broad strokes of some of the men who died this weekend (a number of them Navy SEALs but not members of Team 6). You can follow the links to learn more about each one. The current list is incomplete as reports continue to come in about the tragedy.
Aaron Carson Vaughn A member of SEAL Team 6 from Tennessee. According to North Carolina affiliate Fox 8, "Vaughn's family members say he was a proud father." His grandmother Geneva Green Vaughn said "I'm very proud of him. He was such a good boy, and he loved his country enough to put his life on the line." He's survived by his wife, a two-year-old son, and a two-month old daughter.