Thirty US troops were killed on Friday when their Chinook helicopter was shot out of the sky in a remote Afghan valley, but in a break with Pentagon practice, the identities of the dead service members have not been released.
The dead included 22 members of the elite Navy SEAL commandos and three Air Force special operators, and senior officers overseeing the special forces are reluctant to publicly identify the slain troops, officials said.
“There were concerns expressed by the SOCOM (US Special Operations Command) commander about the safety of the members of the unit and their families and the families of the fallen,” a senior military officer told AFP.
“He’s raised concerns and senior leaders are looking at it right now,” the officer added, requesting anonymity.
But officials noted that the names of dead service members are not classified as secret under US law.
Since the loss of the chopper, several families have come forward and publicly identified their loved ones in television interviews.
Admiral Eric Olson, who formally stepped down as SOCOM chief on Monday, has spoken previously about the need to uphold secrecy to protect the safety of servicemen and their families.
Under the Pentagon’s rules, the identities of dead service members are released publicly 24 hours after families are notified about the death of their loved ones.
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