August 6th was a day that will live in infamy. On that fateful morning in the Wardak Province of Afghanistan, a Chinook helicopter was shot down. The resulting crash killed all 38 people on board—25 American special operations personnel, five United States Army National Guard and Army Reserve crewmen, seven Afghan commandos, and one Afghan interpreter—as well as a U.S. military working dog.
And one among the dead was Aaron Vaughn.
Since he was eight years old, Aaron dreamed of becoming a Navy SEAL. He had overcome several debilitating knee injuries and risen to graduate his BUDS class with the honorary distinction of having completed every evolution first time, every time…and he was also now a member of the DEVGRU SEAL Team Six.
The baddest of the bada$$es.
The toughest of the tough.
This was a helicopter full of such warriors and their support crew. So when this bird went down, it took more than a couple handfuls of America’s best, including 15 members of the elite SEAL Team Six.
But what the enemy meant for evil, God intended for good.
Because, you see, Aaron was a man on mission. He may have been a member of America’s most elite fighting force, but he was on a far greater adventure than what the Navy had in mind. Aaron was a rock solid believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and his momma and daddy were one tough titanium pair. They have since made it their life’s ambition to speak out on every veteran’s issue and stir up a movement in this country that will turn the temperature from luke warm to red-hot. The first thing Karen and Billy tell every group that gathers to hear them speak is the gospel that Aaron loved and lived so deeply.
In the now famous words of WW2 Japanese Emperor Yamamoto:
“I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”
The enemy only succeeded in waking a sleeping giant when he messed with the Vaughn family.
Aaron’s mother, Karen Vaughn, and I have become more than just friends or acquaintances over the last year…we have become sisters embroiled in a battle not just for the sake of our families but for the faith in the promise this great nation holds. We pray for each other and we fight like hell in the heavenlies over the ugliness that has embittered our nation. On this, the fourth anniversary of Aaron’s death, would you share this post far and wide so that everyone you know would stop for a minute, lift their eyes to heaven and say a prayer for Aaron’s parents, his beautiful widow Kimberly, and his sweet babies Chamberlain and Reagan? Would you share this post so that millions would know of the dear price that was paid for the freedom of the multitudes, and so that Aaron’s name and sacrifice would be honored today? I can not think of a better way to thank the Vaughn Family for all they have endured on our behalf than to never let the world forget that men like Aaron are out there on our front lines, paying and willing to pay with their own lives for our way of life. For our freedom.
And on a far more personal note, let me just share that as our family has walked through some trying challenges over the last year, it’s been the photo collage of every fallen serviceman that died with Aaron, the photo of his mother and I together when we first met…that has pushed me to endure, to fight harder. When I think of the combined loss of life just wrapped up in that one crash– those sons, husbands, fathers, brothers…and the catastrophic holes left in nearly two dozen families, I think to myself– what right have I to even contemplate retreat in my own personal struggles? What kind of cowardly existence could I possibly live when faced with such incredible cost on behalf of myself and my family? Those faces greet me every morning as I put on my warpaint (makeup) and continue to fight the good fight of faith in my family, on this website, and through the platform using whatever means God gives us to shine the grace and love of the Jesus that Aaron so loved.
May we all live on mission like Aaron Vaughn. And may we never forget the sacrifice so many precious Gold Star Families have made that such great opportunities may endure in this beautiful country.
God bless you Vaughn Family.
God Bless You loved ones of Extortion 17 fallen heroes.
And may God Bless America!
This post is dedicated to the fallen of Extortion 17, the faithful heroes of our beloved country…Say a prayer for the families of these great men:
SGT Alexander J. Bennett, SPC Spencer Duncan, CWO Bryan J. Nichols, CWO David R. Carter, SSG Patrick D. Hamburger, TSgt John W. Brown, SSgt Andrew W. Harvell, TSgt Daniel L. Zerbe, PO1 (SEAL) Darrick C. Benson, CPO (SEAL) Brian R. Bill, PO1 (SEAL) Christopher G. Campbell, PO1 Jared W. Day, PO1 John Douangdara & Navy SEAL Dog “Bart”, CPO (SEAL) John W. Faas, CPO (SEAL) Kevin A. Houston, Lt. Cmdr. (SEAL) Jonas B. Kelsall, MCPO (SEAL) Louis J. Langlais, CPO (SEAL) Matthew D. Mason, CPO (SEAL) Stephen M. Mills, CPO Nicholas H. Null, PO1 (SEAL) Jesse D. Pittman, SCPO (SEAL) Thomas A. Ratzlaff, CPO (SEAL) Robert J. Reeves, CPO (SEAL) Heath M. Robinson, PO2 (SEAL) Nicholas P. Spehar, PO1 Michael J. Strange, PO1 (SEAL) Jon T. Tumilson, PO1 (SEAL) Aaron C. Vaughn, SCPO Kraig M. Vickers, and PO1 (SEAL) Jason R. Workman