KIA June 28, 2005
Operation Enduring Freedom
Assigned to SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team TWO, Virginia Beach, Virginia
Died June 28, 2005 when his SEAL reconnaissance team was ambushed by overwhelming Taliban forces in Kunar Province. Three of the original four-man SEAL squad (Danny Dietz, Matthew Axelson and Michael Murphy) were killed in the firefight. A fourth squad member (Marcus Luttrell) survived. The full description of this action is described in the book Lone Survivor, written by Marcus Luttrell.
Danny Dietz enlisted in the Navy after graduating high school in 1999 with the goal to become a member of the elite Navy SEALs and had been training throughout his teenage years, playing football, lifting weights, as well as earning his black belt in Taekwondo to achieve his goal. He told his wife as he left for deployment, “All the training I have [undergone] for years is going to pay off with this trip, and I am going to do something special for this country and for my team.”
Dietz deployed to Afghanistan in April 2005 as part of a four-man SEAL reconnaissance team to support Naval Special Warfare’s prosecution of the Global War on Terror. The team secretly infiltrated into the Hindu-Kush mountains along the Pakistan border in late June. Led by LT Michael P. Murphy, the unit was reportedly tracking a high-ranking terrorist leader near 10,000-foot peaks when it was ambushed by overwhelming Taliban forces.
A Quick Reaction Force immediately mobilized in a daring daytime mission to reinforce the SEAL squad. Eight Navy SEALs and eight Army Night Stalker commandos perished when their MH-47 helicopter was hit by an RPG and crashed. It was the deadliest attack against the U.S. in Afghanistan and the largest loss of life to date for the Navy SEALs.
Dietz’s remains were found during a combat search and rescue operation July 4, 2005.
For their heroic actions that day, Michael Murphy was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Danny Dietz and Matthew Axelson were posthumously awarded the second highest citation for valor, the Navy Cross.
PO2 Danny P. Dietz was 25 years old from Littleton, Colorado
Original portrait was presented August 11, 2011 to his parents and siblings during a special event held in Littleton, Colorado