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Extortion 17

Early in the moonless, pitch-black hours of August 6, 2011, a U.S. Army CH-47D Chinook, call sign “Extortion 17” (pronounced “one seven”) entered the western opening of eastern Afghanistan’s Tangi Valley, which lies roughly 40 miles southwest of Kabul. On board were two pilots, three crewmen, and a strike force built around members of SEAL Team 6. They were en-route to bolster an American-led special operations ground operation that required more troops. As they flew past a small village at the narrowest point in the valley, two enemy fighters — completely unknown to American or coalition forces — who happened to be at the right place at an opportune time and heard the approaching helicopter, shot down the helicopter with rocket-propelled grenades.

Many enemy fighters in Afghanistan at that time attempted shootdowns, but only a small handful had ever inflicted any damage. This would be one of those rare, tragic moments.

One of three rocket-propelled grenades struck one of the blades of the aft rotor assembly of the tandem rotor helicopter, severing more than ten feet of it. The catastrophic imbalance caused extreme gyroscopic forces to rip the helicopter apart and kill all onboard within a fraction of a second.

Extortion 17 plummeted to the floor of the Tangi Valley and erupted in a fireball that could be seen tens of miles away. All 38 people on board died — thirty Americans and eight Afghans. Additionally, one American military working dog perished. This was the greatest single incident loss of life in the history of the U.S. war in Afghanistan, in the history of U.S. Special Operations, in the history of the Navy SEALs, and the history of SEAL Team Six.

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Opportunity One (OP1) is a charitable foundation dedicated to maximizing successful veteran re-entry into their communities, and enhancing their ability to continue their service to those same communities and the nation as a whole.

Initiated and led by veterans, OP1 offers an immediate solution to the “now what” moment that is commiserated after discharge. VTROC is committed to, organically and through strategic alliances, providing housing​, education, and financial assistance as well as any additional services required to satisfy the challenges impacting veterans’ post-military service.

Acting as a confluence for veteran-led initiatives, OP1 is changing the conversation about military service members and enabling their contributions to our collective economy and society. With a mission to provide or facilitate the tools and resources required to ensure successful military transitions and foster the realization of our military members’ life goals by guiding them through a critical phase in their lives as they transition from military to civilian life.