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Two local families get tragic news over the weekend when the Defense Department announced that 30 American service members — most of them elite Navy SEALs — died when their helicopter was shot down.

Photo by Associated Press

The chopper had rushed to help Army Rangers who had come under fire. Most of the SEALs who died Saturday were from the same unit that killed bin Laden, although none of the men took part in that mission. There were conflicting accounts late Sunday as to whether the SEAL team had subdued the attackers who had pinned down the Rangers and were departing, or whether they were hit as they tried to land. One official said they had accomplished their mission, but another said the aircraft, a Chinook helicopter, was hit as it approached.

Thirty Americans and eight Afghans — seven commandos and a civilian translator — were killed in the crash, making it the deadliest single loss for U.S. forces in the decade-long war in Afghanistan.

NATO was recovering the remains of the twin rotor Chinook helicopter. A current and a former U.S. official said the Americans included 22 SEALs, including Chief Petty Officer Robert James Reeves and Jonas Kelsall. Both men are graduates of Caddo Magnet High School where they played soccer together.

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