By Douglas J. Hagmann
I am writing as the father of four adult children. Although I have lost many loved ones during the half-century-plus of my life, including a close family member to a brutal murder, I know the pain of loss.
But I don’t know the pain of losing a son or daughter, and I thank God that He has so far spared me such anguish and grief. A quote by Dwight Eisenhower perhaps says is best: “There’s no tragedy in life like the death of a child. Things never get back to the way they were.”
While the death of a son or daughter would itself be devastating, having their death mired in a web of unanswered questions, deceit, and even outright lies by people we were taught to trust would be intolerable, especially when no one is being held accountable for such a tragic loss. I have just described the agonizing world in which Charles Strange and his family now live.
Charles Strange is the father of fallen Seal Team 6 hero Michael J. Strange, who was one of 30 Americans who lost their lives under mysterious circumstances in the dark of night in Afghanistan on August 6, 2011. It was a mere 93 days after Seal Team 6 was “outed” by Vice President Joseph Biden and then Defense Secretary Leon Panetta for being responsible for the reported killing of Osama bin Laden. After being identified to the world by our own government, Michael Strange and his fellow comrades were killed as they rode in a 1960’s era Chinook helicopter – directly into an ambush.
The circumstances surrounding nearly every aspect of Seal Team 6 following the May, 2011 reported killing of Osama bin Laden are shrouded in mystery, contradictions, and outright deception. It was in June of 2011, a month after the raid by Seal Team 6 and two months before his death that Michael Strange visited his family. As a father, I have gone over the account of Michael’s visit as detailed by Charles Strange many times in my own mind, putting myself in his position and mulling the telltale signs that something was wrong. Something was very wrong, for instead of the jovial son he had known, Michael’s June 2011 birthday visit was more of a somber occasion. Instead of joking about parties and pleasantries, Michael Strange wanted his dad to know that his “affairs” were in order.
Guided by the military oath of silence, Michael could not tell his dad what he knew, or even what he felt. After speaking with other family members of Seal Team 6, Charles Strange learned that other team members telegraphed their similar concerns to their loved ones. The more Charles Strange investigated, inquired and sought answers like any loving father would, the more he knew himself that something was indeed wrong.
Charles Strange recalls the ramp ceremony at Dover Air Force Base for his son, where an Islamic Imam presided over Muslim prayers of the American dead. In the traumatic fog that enveloped him, he did not fully realize at that time that this Imam was damning his son and the souls of others in the name of Islam. Although some still contend that this was not the case at all and a translation error prompted this urban legend that will not die, the evidence I’ve uncovered tells a much different story. It is an account that is inconsistent with the “acceptable” version of events, and one of many disturbing events that surround the dead of Seal Team 6.
Furthermore, the investigative report supplied to Charles Strange that contained details about the incident and his son’s death has prompted more questions than answers, as was the in-person briefing held in December of 2011 by military brass. As if to add insult to injury, or death, in this case, Mr. Strange received a binder of documents that were supposed to answer the questions of a grieving family. The problem, however, is that upon returning home and opening the binder, Mr. Strange found that the binder contents to be completely unreadable. The typed words were merely ghostly impressions on each of the multiple pages, allegedly due to an unresolved printing problem. When he confronted the U.S. military about this, they apologized, adding that the original copy was “destroyed” and no legible replacements were possible.
There was, however, a disc in the package that contained a wealth of information from which Charles Strange and his wife used as a starting point in their quest for the truth. The information contained on that disc again raised more questions than answers, and it became evident that the truth was being withheld from the families of the fallen, as well as the American people. The families of the fallen heroes were being mocked in the tragedy, as every American continues to be today.
Since the death of his son, the indefatigable Charles Strange has been on a crusade to learn the truth about exactly what happened on the night of August 6, 2011… about what happened to his son and the 29 others aboard the helicopter, including Bart, a canine in service for our country. They made the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf, and the very least we can do for them is to ferret out the complete truth about the circumstances surrounding their untimely deaths.
As a father of a young man robbed of a promising future, Charles Strange wants answers. As a father of a young man who gave his life in the service of his country, he deserves answers, not only for himself and his family, but for Michael. As citizens of the United States, we must stand firmly beside Charles Strange and demand answers as well, and we must not quit until we get to the bottom of this very troubling incident, regardless of the walls put up in front of us.
It should be unsettling for every patriotic American, every parent, and everyone with a family member now serving our country to learn that seeking the truth has its consequences. As he reported to a Philadelphia television station, Charles Strange is demanding accountability despite the apparent blowback that such actions cause. It appears that someone in our own government wants to deter Mr. Strange from learning the truth, or least find out what he knows.
“Somebody has to be held accountable for my son’s death. Thirty brave Americans, the biggest loss in the Afghan war. And that’s when I started asking questions, that’s when my phone got tapped.” Charles Strange has heard tapping noises while on the telephone, and has been getting “odd texts” shortly after his son’s death. He contacted his telephone service provider who told him that “somebody [is] listening in from the United States, and someone from Afghanistan.”
There is so much more to this story. There are lies upon lies coming from the very top of this “regime” that it becomes insulting not only to the family of Michael Strange and the 29 other brave Americans, but to every American who cares about the fate of our nation. There must be accountability, regardless of where and how far up the chain of command it leads. Anything less would be an unforgivable affront to Michael Strange, his family, all the families of Seal Team 6, and every man or woman of our armed forces.
We must not stop searching for the truth, and assist Charles Strange and his family by demanding answers and not stopping until the truth is uncovered. I believe that Michael would have wanted it that way.
I am proud to state that Charles Strange is one of my heroes – as a father, and as a once proud American. I believe that his unbridled tenacity will result in exposing the lies that exist within the tangled tale of Seal Team 6. I, for one, am proud to be in his company, and will stand beside him and assist his efforts to bring those responsible for this dark moment in American history to the justice they deserve.
Charles Strange will be a very special guest on The Hagmann & Hagmann Report tonight, August 28, 2013 beginning at 8:00 p.m. ET to tell more about his experiences since the death of his son. Click here to listen live.