Danny Dietz

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Danny Dietz
Danny Dietz.jpg
Danny Dietz in Afghanistan (2005)
Birth name Danny Phillip Dietz, Jr.
Born (1980-01-26)January 26, 1980
Aurora, Colorado
Died June 28, 2005(2005-06-28) (aged 25)
Kunar Province, Afghanistan
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Navy
Years of service 1999–2005
Rank Gunner's Mate 2nd Class
Unit SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team Two, Naval Special Warfare Unit, Afghanistan
Battles/wars

Iraq War War in Afghanistan

Awards Navy Cross
Silver Star
Purple Heart

Gunner's Mate 2nd Class Danny Phillip Dietz, Jr. (January 26, 1980 – June 28, 2005) of Littleton, Colorado was a U.S. Navy SEAL who was posthumously awarded the United States' second highest citation for valor, the Navy Cross, on September 13, 2006.

Biography

Danny Dietz Jr. was born on January 26, 1980 in Aurora, Colorado. He was the husband of Maria ( Patsy ) Dietz, the son of Danny Phillip Sr. and Cindy Dietz, and brother to Tiffany Bitz and Eric Dietz. He was a 1999 graduate of Heritage High School. He earned his black belt in Taekwondo from the Korean Academy of Taekwondo.

Dietz enlisted in the Navy on August 31, 1999. Following his graduating from Recruit Training Command, Naval Station Great Lakes, on November 27, 1999, he completed Gunner's Mate "A" School at the Naval Air Technical Training Center in Pensacola, Florida. From there he transferred to Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training and graduated with Class 232 in 2001. Dietz went on to attend the Basic Airborne Course at Fort Benning in Georgia, then SEAL Qualification Training and SEAL Delivery Vehicle Training. Immediately upon checking in at SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team 2 in Virginia Beach, Virginia, on November 8, 2001, he was assigned to Task Unit Bravo as the secondary SDV pilot and the Ordnance and Engineering Department head.1 In Virginia Beach, Dietz met and married his wife, Maria L. Dietz, in March 2003. In April 2005, Dietz deployed with his Special Reconnaissance element to Afghanistan to support Naval Special Warfare Squadron TEN in the prosecution of the Global War on Terrorism.

His larger than lifesize bronze memorial in Littleton, Colorado was created by sculptor Robert Henderson of Canon City, Colorado. The South Wing of the Pacific Beacon Apartments at Naval Station San Diego is named Dietz Hall as well.

Operation Red Wings

Dietz was part of an elite team of four SEALs on a reconnaissance mission "tasked with finding a key Taliban leader in mountainous terrain near Asadabad, Afghanistan," according to a Navy news release.

On June 28, 2005, SEAL Team 10 was assigned to kill or capture a high ranking Taliban leader in the Hindu Kush mountains. The SEAL team was made up of Michael P. Murphy, Marcus Luttrell, Danny Dietz and Matthew Axelson. Luttrell and Axelson were the team's snipers while Dietz and Murphy were the spotters.

"They were spotted by anti-Coalition sympathizers, who immediately reported their position to Taliban fighters. A fierce gun-battle ensued between the four SEALs and a much larger enemy force with superior tactical position," the Navy release said. The SEALs radioed for help, and a responding Chinook helicopter was shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade, killing eight more SEALs and eight Army Night Stalkers. It was the second worst single combat loss for the SEALs in SEAL history. Dietz was the first casualty of the battle, and was killed before the helicopter's arrival.2

Posthumous awards

The statue of Danny Dietz in Berry Park in Littleton, Colorado

The location of Dietz's body was unknown for seven days. His remains were recovered during a combat search and rescue operation on July 4, 2005. Dietz was returned to the United States, where he was interred with full military honors. His hometown of Littleton, Colorado honored his memory by erecting a statue of Dietz in uniform holding his rifle, which was unveiled on July 4, 2007. This was not without controversy however. Local parents, suggesting that the statue of Dietz glorified violence, tried to have the statue altered. The statue, they argued, was three blocks from a school. The Littleton city council stated that 150 emails and letters were received in support of keeping the memorial as is, there was only one in favor of changing it.3 After an even larger backlash against the parents group, the monument was erected with Dietz holding his service weapon as intended.4

For extraordinary heroism in actions against the enemy while serving in a four-man Special Reconnaissance element with SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team ONE, Naval Special Warfare Task unit, Afghanistan from 27 to 28 June 2005. Petty Officer Dietz demonstrated extraordinary heroism in the face of grave danger in the vicinity of Asadabad, Kunar Province, Afghanistan. Operating in the middle of an enemy-controlled area, in extremely rugged terrain, his Special Reconnaissance element was tasked with locating a high-level Anti-Coalition Militia leader, in support of a follow-on direct action mission to disrupt enemy activity. On 28 June 2005, the element was spotted by Anti-Coalition Militia sympathizers, who immediately revealed their position to the militia fighters. As a result, the element directly encountered the enemy. Demonstrating exceptional resolve and fully understanding the gravity of the situation and his responsibility to his teammates, Petty Officer Dietz fought valiantly against the numerically superior and positionally advantaged enemy force. Remaining behind in a hailstorm of enemy fire, Petty Officer Dietz was wounded by enemy fire. Despite his injuries, he bravely fought on, valiantly defending his teammates and himself in a harrowing gunfight, until he was mortally wounded. By his undaunted courage in the face of heavy enemy fire, and absolute devotion to his teammates, Petty Officer Dietz will long be remembered for the role he played in the Global War on Terrorism. Petty Officer Dietz' courageous and selfless heroism, exceptional professional skill, and utmost devotion to duty reflected great credit upon him and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for the cause of freedom.

A section of Santa Fe Drive (US Highway 85) between I-25 and C470 has been named the "Navy Seal Danny Phillip Dietz, Jr. Memorial Highway."5

Military awards

A gold image depicting an eagle perched on an anchor, clutching a trident with one claw and a gun in the other.
A navy blue military ribbon with one thick vertical white stripe in the center.
A multicolored military ribbon. From left to right the color pattern is; thin blue stripe, thin white strip, thick blue stripe, thinck white stripe, thick red stripe, thick white stripe, thick blue stripe, thin white strip, thin blue stripe. A purple military ribbon with a thick white line at each end A green military ribbon with a thick orange stripe near each end of the ribbon
A multicolored military ribbon. From left to right the color pattern is; very thick blue stripe, very thick yellow stripe, thin red stripe, thick white stripe, thin blue stripe, very thick yellow stripe, very thick red stripe A red military ribbon A multicolored military ribbon. From left to right the color pattern is; very thick red stripe, thin white stripe, thin blue stripe, thin white stripe, thin red stripe, very thick gold stripe, thin red stripe, thin white stripe, thin blue stripe, thin white stripe, very thick red stripe.
A multicolored military ribbon. From left to right the color pattern is; thin green stripe, thick red stripe, black stripe, very thick white stripe, thin red stripe, thin white stripe, thin black stripe, think white stripe, thin red stripe, very thick white stripe, black stripe, thick red stripe, think green stripe. A light blue military ribbon with a two bands of navy blue, white, navy blue stripes. Two yellow stripes inside the those bands, and a vertical center thick red stripe A dark blue military ribbon with a thick yellow stripe, thick red stripe, space and then a white stripe, then mirrored on the other side
A multicolored military ribbon. From left to right the color pattern is; thick green stripe, thick red stripe, thick yellow stripe, thin blue stripe, very thick aqua stripe, thin blue stripe, thick yellow stripe, thick red stripe, think green stripe. A dark blue military ribbon with three thin green stripes. One stripe is in the center of the ribbon and the other two are at near the edge of the ribbon. The is a large silver E centered in the ribbon. A dark blue military ribbon with 2 think green lines, one at each end of the ribbon with a large silver E centered on the ribbon.
A gold image of a parachute with wings.
Special Warfare Insignia6n 1
1st row Navy Cross
2nd row Silver Star Purple Heart Medal Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal
3rd row Combat Action Ribbon Navy Good Conduct Medal National Defense Service Medal
4th row Afghanistan Campaign Medal Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
5th row Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon Navy Rifle Marksmanship Medal
w/ expert device
Navy Pistol Marksmanship Medal
w/ expert device
Navy and Marine Corps Parachutist Insignia

In media

In the 2013 film Lone Survivor, Dietz is portrayed by actor Emile Hirsch.7

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Applies to all awards listed in the table.

References

  1. ^ SEAL of Honor: Operation Red Wings and the Life of Lt. Michael P. Murphy, USN by Gary Williams (pg. 135)
  2. ^ [1]dead link
  3. ^ http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2007/apr/6/20070406-115248-9955r/print/
  4. ^ "Navy SEAL Honored with Hometown Statue Dedication". United States Central Command. Archived from the original on 2007-10-08. Retrieved 2007-07-17. 
  5. ^ "Danny Dietz, Jr. Memorial Highway dedicated". 9News.com. Retrieved 2011-05-08. 
  6. ^ "Danny Dietz Biography". Navyseals.com. Retrieved 2012-08-04. 
  7. ^ http://www.joblo.com/movie-news/first-set-pics-from-peter-bergs-lone-survivor-shows-off-mark-wahlberg-eric-bana-and-emile-hirsch-in-uniform

Sources

External links


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