The American Navy SEAL whose death in a helicopter crash last month has shaken the US military is believed to have been on a mission to recover a man who had been missing for more than two months.
According to an initial report in The Washington Post, the unidentified Navy SEAL died when his helicopter crashed in the mountains of northern Afghanistan.
The helicopter was a C-130J Hercules, a variant of the Army’s Black Hawk helicopter that was developed in the 1980s and used to operate in Iraq and Afghanistan.
It was carrying a U.S. Marine Corps Special Operations task force, the SEALs’ battalion commander and several other members of the military task force.
The Associated Press has reported that the helicopter’s pilot was Lt.
Col. Mark J. D’Aquino, who had commanded the group during a 2010 mission to capture a senior al-Qaeda leader in Afghanistan.
He was on a night patrol on April 25 when the C-15 crashed.
The pilot was pronounced dead at the scene, and D’Agosta told reporters that he was a former Marine who had previously worked with the SEAL team in Iraq.
D’Aguino was a native of San Diego, and the Associated Press identified him as the first SEAL to die in combat in the United States.
He had previously served in Afghanistan as an infantry officer, according to his family.
The Navy has not yet released a formal statement about the death.