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President Obama honors US soldiers killed in Afghan chopper crash

August 9, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
The remains of the 30 U.S. soldiers killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan arrived at a Delaware air force base on Tuesday.

President Barack Obama arrived at Dover Air Force Base to honor the fallen soldiers in the deadliest single incident in the decade-long war. His unscheduled afternoon trip was kept secret to ensure the security of his helicopter flight to Delaware.

A Pentagon spokesperson said the press was not allowed at the military's "dignified transfer" ceremony at Dover because the badly damaged remains are mingled and not all identified.

The Chinook chopper was shot down by Taliban insurgents armed with a rocket grenade Saturday afternoon in the eastern Wardak province. 22 Navy SEAL personnel were among the fallen, as well as eight Afghan soldiers.

The SEALs killed were part of the unit that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, but none of the SEALs took part in the mission.

The Defense Department still has not released the names of the soldiers due to the sensitivity of the issue. However, families of the soldiers have spoken publically about their deaths.

The devastating loss comes just ahead of the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on America that prompted the war in Afghanistan.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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