KIA August 6, 2011
Operation Enduring Freedom
Assigned to an East Coast-based SEAL team
On August 6, 2011, a CH-47 Chinook military helicopter, call sign Extortion 17, was shot down while transporting a Quick Reaction Force team attempting to reinforce an engaged unit of Army Rangers. The resulting crash killed all 38 people on board — 22 Navy SEALs and Naval Special Warfare support personnel, three Air Force Special Operations forces, five Army National Guard and Army Reserve crewmen, seven Afghan commandos, and one Afghan interpreter — as well as a U.S. military working dog. This is considered the worst loss of U.S Military life in the Afghanistan campaign, surpassing Operation Red Wings in 2005.
To friends and family, Jon Tumilson, known as JT, died doing what he loved. “If JT had known he was going to be shot down when going to the aid of others he would have went anyway.” Few in Rockford, Iowa knew what Tumilson did as a SEAL. The unit worked top-secret missions, and Tumilson told few tales other than from training. In one section of the training, Tumilson and fellow SEAL recruits were taken airborne, blindfolded and flown in circles until completely disoriented. The plane flew the recruits off shore until they were out of sight of land. They were then ordered to jump out of the plane and find their way back to base.
Tumilson also stood out because of his love for his family and friends. Friends said he would talk about his family for hours if they asked how they were doing. Family and friends said that they learned a lot from Tumilson over the years and they’ll always remember him for his courage, determination and that he would do anything for anyone.
SOC Jon “JT” Tumilson was 35 years old from Rockford, Iowa
Original portrait was presented April 30, 2012 to his family, friends and fellow SEALs during a special event hosted by Marcus Luttrell in Magnolia, Texas.