posted on Aug, 6 2015 @ 03:02 PM
Four years ago, Extortion 17 was shot down while attempting to insert a quick reaction force in Afghanistan. It was the deadliest crash in the war,
and for SOCOM. This is a great writeup about that terrible day.
Extortion 16 and 17 had already inserted a force into Juy Zarin, hunting for Qari Tahir and his fighters. Both aircraft returned to the FOB to wait to
remove wounded, fly reinforcements in, or whatever else was needed.
Both aircraft were standard CH-47Ds, and Extortion 17 was flown by National Guard pilots, not MH-47s flown by 160th SOAR. The pilot of 17 was one of
the most experienced in the military, and an instructor in Colorado, teaching pilots high altitude operations in CH-47s.
When the decision was made to send the IRF, they were going to a different LZ, that could only accommodate one aircraft at a time. The commander of
the mission decided to load the entire force on Extortion 17, with 16 flying empty as escort.
Upon arriving at the LZ, Rangers on the ground reported the area was clear, so 17 slowed to land. During this time, a group of fighters exited a
nearby building and fired 2 RPGs. One missed, the other hit the aft rotor, severing 10 feet of blade. This unbalanced the rotor, tearing the entire
assembly off the aircraft. The forward rotor failed, as a result of overloading. Extortion 17 tumbled into a ravine and exploded on impact, killing
all 38 on board.