PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) - Virginia Congressman Scott Rigell came by the WAVY TV 10 studio to discuss Saturday's tragedy. Rigell represents the 2nd District and also serves on the House Armed Services Committee.
A military helicopter was shot down in eastern Afghanistan, killing 31 U.S. special operation troops, most of them from the same elite Navy SEALs unit that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. Seven Afghan commandos were also killed. It was the deadliest single incident for American forces in the decade-long war.
Representative Scott Rigell released the following statement regarding the deaths of U.S. service members in Afghanistan:
"We awoke this morning to the devastating news that 31 American service members died when their helicopter crashed in eastern Afghanistan. This was a 'Joint and Combined Team' with US Army, US Navy, and Afghan Security elements.
"Though details are still forthcoming, we now know that this profound burden has fallen on families in Hampton Roads. With reverence and heavy hearts we pay respectful tribute to their loved ones -- those who served at the tip of the spear in defense of freedom.
"President Franklin Roosevelt prayed this prayer with the American people on D-Day, and I believe it captures the profound sense of loss now blanketing our community:
"…Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom. And for us at home -- fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas -- whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them -- help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice."
"Mindful of the duty we have to the families who are now suffering so greatly, and respectful of their desire for privacy, my staff and I stand ready to assist them in any way we can.
"Teri joins me in this sad hour in extending our deepest condolences and heartfelt sympathy to the families of those who gave the full measure of sacrifice. May God grant them a special measure of comfort at this hour and in the difficult days ahead."
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A parade float caught fire at an Oceanfront parade on Dec. 7, 2013.