FACT CHECK: Were 30 Navy SEALs Killed In A March 11 Attack In Afghanistan?

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

A viral Facebook post shared more than 93,000 times claims 30 Navy SEALs died when their helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan on March 11.

Verdict: False

There is no record of 30 SEALs dying in a single incident in Afghanistan on March 11. The claim likely stemmed from an August 2011 helicopter crash that killed 30 members of the U.S. military.

Fact Check:

The Department of Defense (DOD) reports that more than 2,300 U.S. service members have died in Afghanistan since October 2001. The March 12 post urges readers to honor Navy SEALs who allegedly died in the country the previous day.

“I am asking everyone to please take a moment of silence for the United States Navy Seal Team and their families,” the post says. “Their helicopter was shot down yesterday in Afghanistan and they lost 30 members of the team. It would be nice to see this on everyone’s page… even if it’s only for an hour.”

Multiple Facebook users have shared the claim, despite no Navy SEALs perishing in Afghanistan on March 11. An internet search turned up no credible reports of 30 SEALs dying in an alleged March 11 incident. Neither the DOD nor the Department of the Navy have issued press releases.

Media organizations often report on the deaths of American soldiers in Afghanistan. If 30 Navy SEALs had been killed after their helicopter was shot down, it would have been covered by the media, yet no outlets reported on it.

The claim may have stemmed from a real incident that occurred on Aug. 6, 2011, when 30 American service members died in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan’s Wardak province. 17 of those who perished were Navy SEALs, according to the Navy press release.

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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