Danny Philip Dietz Jr. was born on January 26, 1980 in Aurora, CO the son of Danny Philip Sr and Cindy Dietz. He was a 1999 graduate of Heritage High School (Littleton, CO). He enlisted in the Navy three months after graduation in 1999, earned his SEAL trident in 2001 and was subsequently assigned to SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team Two. In April 2005, Dietz deployed with his Special Reconnaissance element to Afghanistan to support Naval Special Warfare Squadron TEN and the prosecution of the Global War on Terrorism. Danny is survived by his parents Dan Dietz Sr, Cynthia Dietz Marsh, sister Tiffany Bitz and brother Eric Dietz.
Danny Dietz were part of an elite team of four SEALs on a reconnaissance mission tasked with finding a key Taliban leader in mountainous terrain near Asadabad, Afghanistan. On June 28, 2005, they were spotted by anti-coalition sympathizers, who immediately reported their position to Taliban fighters. A fierce gun-battle ensued between the four SEALs and a much larger enemy force with superior tactical position. The SEALs radioed for help, and a responding Chinook helicopter was shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade, killing eight more SEALs and eight Army NightStalkers. It was the worst single combat loss for the SEALs in SEAL history. According to the Navy, "Despite this terrible loss, the SEALS on the ground continued to fight. Although mortally wounded, Axelson and Dietz held their position and fought for the safety of their teammates despite a hail of gunfire. Their actions cost them their lives, but gave one of the other SEALs an opportunity to escape."
The location of Danny’s body was unknown for seven days. His remains were recovered during a combat search and rescue operation on July 4, 2005. Dietz was returned to the US, where he was laid to rest with full military honors at Ft. Logan National Cemetery. His hometown of Littleton, CO honored his memory by erecting a statue of Dietz in uniform holding his rifle, which was unveiled on July 4, 2007.
Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Danny P. Dietz was posthumously awarded the Navy's 2nd highest citation for valor, the Navy Cross, on September 13, 2006.
The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross to Danny P. Dietz, Gunner’s Mate Second Class, United States Navy for services as set forth in the following citation:
"For extraordinary heroism in actions against the enemy while serving in a four-man Special Reconnaissance element with SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team ONE, Naval Special Warfare Task unit, Afghanistan from 27 to 28 June 2005. Petty Officer Dietz demonstrated extraordinary heroism in the face of grave danger in the vicinity of Asadabad, Konar Province, Afghanistan. Operating in the middle of an enemy-controlled area, in extremely rugged terrain, his Special Reconnaissance element was tasked with locating a high-level Anti-Coalition Militia leader, in support of a follow-on direct action mission to disrupt enemy activity. On 28 June 2005, the element was spotted by Anti-Coalition Militia sympathizers, who immediately revealed their position to the militia fighters. As a result, the element directly encountered the enemy. Demonstrating exceptional resolve and fully understanding the gravity of the situation and his responsibility to his teammates, Petty Officer Dietz fought valiantly against the numerically superior and positionally advantaged enemy force. Remaining behind in a hailstorm of enemy fire, Petty Officer Dietz was wounded by enemy fire. Despite his injuries, he bravely fought on, valiantly defending his teammates and himself in a harrowing gunfight, until he was mortally wounded. By his undaunted courage in the face of heavy enemy fire, and absolute devotion to his teammates, Petty Officer Dietz will long be remembered for the role he played in the Global War on Terrorism. Petty Officer Dietz' courageous and selfless heroism, exceptional professional skill, and utmost devotion to duty reflected great credit upon him and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for the cause of freedom."
For information about the Danny Dietz foundation, visit: dannydietzleadershipandtrainin