Navy SEAL Danny P. Dietz was part of a four-man reconnaissance team tasked to kill or capture Ahmad Shah during Operation Red Wings.
On Colorado’s highways, there are many road-side signs that announce the naming of the highways. If you pass through Littleton, Colorado, there is a highway sign that might catch your attention: Navy SEAL Danny Dietz Memorial Highway. This sign stands to remind the residents of Littleton how “the price of freedom is not free,” said state Sen. Mike Kopp. Navy SEAL Petty Officer Danny P. Dietz was honored with two highway signs and a bronze statue in Colorado for his sacrifice during the war in Afghanistan.
Dietz was born in Aurora, Colorado, but grew up in Littleton. He attended Heritage High School, and he also attended the Korean Academy of Taekwondo, where he earned a black belt. His family noted how joining the military was a big dream for him. Shortly after graduating from high school in 1999, Dietz enlisted in the Navy.
Two years later, he earned his SEAL Trident. Shortly after this, Dietz was assigned to SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team Two in Virginia Beach, Virginia. In 2003, he deployed to Afghanistan. Dietz was sent with his special reconnaissance team to help support Seal Team 10.
June 2005 marked one of the worst single combat losses in SEAL history. Dietz and SEAL Team 10 were sent on a mission to capture or kill a local militia leader associated with the Taliban. They had landed in the Hindu-Kush Mountains to start their search. While waiting in the mountains, they were ambushed by Taliban forces. Their position had been compromised earlier when some goat herders had accidentally stumbled upon them. Dietz tried to radio their base for instructions but was unable to make contact.
The Taliban forces outnumbered Dietz and his fellow SEALs. Despite being outnumbered, Dietz and his team fought hard against the Taliban. During the fight, SEAL Team 10 leader Michael P. Murphy sent out a call for help.
A Chinook helicopter carrying eight SEALs and eight Army Night Stalkers was sent to help SEAL Team 10 on the ground. However, tragedy struck when a rocket-propelled grenade hit the Chinook and killed all the men aboard. SEAL Team 10 was forced to face the Taliban without backup.
Despite being shot several times, Dietz fired upon the enemy as his teammate Marcus Luttrell carried him away from the gunfight. As the team retreated, Dietz was killed.
The SEAL Team 10 mission has been adapted into the film Lone Survivor.
Dietz posthumously received the Navy Cross, the Purple Heart, the Combat Action Ribbon and the Afghanistan Campaign Medal.
We honor his service.
Writers: Misha Grace, Calvin Wong
Editors: Essence McPherson, Rachel Heimann
Fact Checker: Adeline Sov, Brett Raffish
Graphics: Brett Blandford, Grace Yang