On August 6, 2011, SOC (SEAL) Darrik C. Benson along with 16 other SEAL's and 13 flight crew and special support team members were killed during a daring night operation in the Wardak Province of Afghanistan. Call sign Extortion 17, a Quick Reaction Force was tasked to intercept multiple high value targets in the Tangi Valley when they came under fire from opposition forces. As the helicopter approached the landing zone, an RPG fired by an Afghanistan solder struck the rear main rotor blade causing the helicopter to crash, killing everyone on board. The result was the highest single loss of life ever experienced by the Naval Special Warfare (SEAL) community.
Benson was 28, born in Angwin California, graduated from St. Helena High School in 2001 and enlisted in the Navy a few months later at the age of 17. He was a member of Dev, Group, an East Coast based SEAL Team located in Virginia and is survived by his young son, sister and father.
“We lost our son, brother, uncle, friend and hero. Darrik Benson was killed doing what he loved, fighting for this great Country. He died alongside his friends and teammates, some of the bravest men this world has ever known. Darrik was incredibly brave and determined, with a fierce sense of humor, and had amazing opportunities in life not only because of his strengths and talents, but because of his relentless determination to succeed. He was truly special, not only to our family, but to this Country... We are deeply appreciative of the support we have received from our family, friends, our community of Angwin and the U.S. Navy. Darrik meant the world to us, and there will always be emptiness in our souls.”
"Thinking of you is easy, I do it every day. Missing you is the heartache that never goes away" (unk)