A Mass Casualty event is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. When a military unit sustains so many injuries that it can no longer support itself, it becomes what is known as a Mass-Cas event. This doesn’t happen very often, thankfully, although we know of some other examples where casualties became overwhelming, such as Operation Gothic Serpent or the Extortion 17 crash.
One such event happened Saturday night to 3rd Ranger Battalion during a night operation in Southern Afghanistan.
A Ranger Platoon infiltrated the objective area by helicopter and soon came under attack. The details are still vague and we won’t speculate or armchair quarterback from a distance. We do know that the Rangers were hit both by command detonated Improvised Explosive Devices (IED’s) and enemy combatants wearing suicide vests.
Four friendlies were killed in the blast, two Rangers and two enablers. Others were critically wounded during the series of detonations, many of them still in intensive care with serious injuries. The numbers of Wounded in Action are worse than anything I’ve heard in recent years.
While the media has reported on Sunday that Delta Force flawlessly executed a capture operation in Libya, and SEAL Team Six wisely aborted their mission in Somalia without taking casualties, the 75th Ranger Regiment was not so fortunate that same weekend. The New York Times reported on the casualties but rightly withheld the details until the families could be notified. The names have not been released by SOCOM, and we ask that people not post any names until after that time.
There is a tradition in the Ranger Regiment that new soldiers each get assigned an Airborne Ranger in the Sky. They wear a KIA bracelet on their wrist for that Ranger in order to remember where the unit has been, what made it what it is, and to serve as a stark reminder for them to remember that, “Recognizing that I volunteered as a Ranger, fully knowing the hazards of my chosen profession, I will always endeavor to uphold the prestige, honor, and high esprit de corps of my Ranger Regiment.”
My Airborne Ranger in the Sky was PFC Roy Brown who was killed in Panama during Operation Just Cause. As the war in Afghanistan draws to a close, we are sad to write that future Rangers who report in to the 75th Ranger Regiment will have a few more Airborne Rangers in the Sky to wear KIA bracelets for.
Update: Names of the fallen released.