ROBERTS, NEIL C.
Name: Neil C. Roberts
Other Personnel in Incident: 6 killed
Source: 2002 POW NETWORK, Reuters News, FOX News.
REMARKS: AFGHANISTAN/OPERATION ANACONDA
Al Qaeda Men Dragged Away U.S. Navy SEAL
SIRKANKEL, Afghanistan (Reuters) - ......The officers said the Navy SEAL, Neil Roberts, 32, was left behind when his Chinook helicopter made a rushed take-off after being hit by a rocket-propelled grenade.
"We saw him on the Predator being dragged off by three al Qaeda men," said Maj. Gen. Frank Hagenbeck, referring to an unmanned reconnaissance plane mounted with a real-time video camera. ...
NORFOLK, Va. AP — The Navy SEAL who was slain after falling out of his stricken helicopter in Afghanistan wrote his wife an open-in-the-event-of-my-death letter in which he assured her: "I died doing what made me happy."
"Although I sacrificed personal freedom and many other things, I got just as much as I gave. My time in the Teams was special," 32-year-old Neil Roberts wrote. "For all the times I was cold, wet, tired, sore, scared, hungry and angry, I had a blast.".......
NOTE: During the daily live Pentagon briefing after the incident, it was stated Roberts was captured and executed after falling off the helicopter. FOX NEWS reports his throat was slashed and he had a bullet in the back of his head - and had been seen running - being chased - by 3 Al Qaeda fighters.
Date: Wed, 13 Mar 2002
Apparently when the helicopter he was being transported in began taking fire
and had to make a radical tactical maneuver to avoid being shot down, 32 year
old Navy Seal, Petty Officer First Class Neil Roberts fell out. Nobody is exactly sure how. When something like that happens there is a lot of
movement, a lot of wind, and a hell of a lot of gravity. When they got closer
to the base and did a head count they were one member shy.
That incident happened in Afghanistan, a long way from the island of Cuba. On
the island of Cuba a couple of hundred captured Al Qaeda prisoners sit in
cells waiting for their lunch. A good Muslim lunch designed to incorporate
their traditional foods and to be respectful of Islam's dietary guidelines.
Just like their breakfasts and their suppers. They eat really good there in
Cuba. Most of them have put on some much needed weight. The weight they lost
while fighting against the soldiers who liberated Afghanistan. Most of them
have been through the camp infirmary. It is a fully functioning Army field
medical hospital where they receive the exact same medical care offered
members of the American military. More treatment, in fact, because in
addition to treating any injuries sustained during their capture, American
specialists have also treated orthopedic and cosmetic injuries sustained in
battle many months - and even years ago. All of the Al Qaeda detainees at
Alliance of Families Newsletter
Bits 'n Pieces
March 16, 2002
Was Navy Seal Neil Roberts Captured and Executed By Al Qaeda - That was the original report by commanders on site. According to first reports, Navy Seal Neil Roberts fell out of his helicopter but survived the fall. He was seen being taken away by Al Qaeda forces and subsequently executed. All this was filmed by an unmanned Predator aircraft. The following is excerpted from a New York Daily News article, by Richard Sisk, dated March 06, 2002 "Navy SEAL who fell from a helicopter during a mountain firefight was captured by Al Qaeda forces as his commanders watched helplessly on a drone's TV screen and later executed, U.S. battle commanders said yesterday."
"We saw him on the Predator being dragged off by three Al Qaeda men," said Maj. Gen. Frank Hagenbeck, who watched the battle in real time by a transmission from a Predator spy drone overhead. Air Force commandos later recovered the body of Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Neil Roberts, 32, after a fierce 14-hour firefight Monday in which seven Americans were killed and two helicopters were lost..."
Pentagon spokespersons in Washington, immediately began to downplay this story saying they would need to investigate the incident before they could comment. According to a March 6th Associated Press article by Pauline Jelinek "Some details of the U.S. forces' deadliest day so far in the war in Afghanistan remain unclear, Pentagon officials said Wednesday, including whether a Navy SEAL was captured and murdered by al-Qaida.
"We may never know," said Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld and the war's commander, Gen. Tommy Franks, were responding to reporters' questions about what they knew about the death of Petty Officer 1st Class Neil Roberts of Woodland, Calif...."
"Asked about reports from a field commander that Roberts had been dragged away by al-Qaida and shot dead, Franks said he wasn't sure. "I think there are a variety of possibilities of the way" Roberts may have died, he said...."
"...Commanders watched as an unmanned Predator surveillance aircraft relayed live video of Roberts being taken away by al-Qaida members, said Maj. Gen. Frank Hagenbeck, commander of the operation to encircle and kill enemy fighters. "We saw him on the Predator being dragged off by three al-Qaida men," said Hagenbeck.
"Roberts apparently survived the fall and was shot on the ground, said Marine Maj. Ralph Mills, speaking for the U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Fla."
"Whether he was taken away to be killed, was already dead when taken away or wounded when taken and died later remains unclear, Franks said Wednesday. "There will be a lot of views on this particular incident," Franks said. "I have talked to three, maybe four people, who were either present or have reviewed the result of this, and it would probably not surprise you that each of the three or four has a different view of what happened."
"He cautioned that first and second reports can often prove wrong. "I'm not sure yet," he said. "And I think, as we work our way through this, we will come to some greater clarity."
"Rumsfeld said details are not the point. "We know a fine American is dead," he said. "It is not whether the bullet hit him from ground fire while he was still in the helicopter or after he fell to the ground ... or after someone came up and shot him again. We may never know that."
The existence of the Predator pictures was revealed by Hagenbeck in Afghanistan and not by Pentagon officials as they described the incident in briefings Monday and Tuesday...."
POW or Not - It is amazing to us that the eyewitness statement of Maj. Gen. Frank Hagenbeck, commander of the operation is not deemed a creditable eyewitness report of the capture of an American POW and his subsequent execution. Perhaps the Pentagon doesn't want to acknowledge a POW under any circumstances or are they isolated personnel or detainees.....
Looks like evidence and eyewitness reports, including the report of the commanding officer, doesn't mean a thing. The more things change.... the more they stay the same....
Date: Thu, 25 Sep 2008 10:12:34 -0500
pass this reply along in response to the inquiry regarding the death
of ABH1(SEAL) Neil C. Roberts
sequence of events leading to the death of ABH1(SEAL) Neil
Christopher Roberts are related in the book “NOT A GOOD DAY TO
DIE” by Sean Naylor. That book, however, includes an incorrect
account of Roberts’ final moments and reports that he was taken
alive/wounded and then shot by his captors. Within a few hours of
the event there were former members of the Naval Special Warfare
community either involved in determining the actual step-by-step
sequence of events, or being kept informed. One of those former NSW
officers is a personal friend of mine, and a former SEAL Team
officer (I must firmly decline to identify him by name, specific
Team affiliation, or service time frame). Because of his status as a
former SEAL Team officer and his “civilian” work for a firm
involved in US security and intelligence matters (again I am not at
liberty to be more specific), my friend attended a closed-door
briefing which included video footage from an unmanned aerial drone
which had been in the vicinity of Takur Ghar in Afghanistan’s
Shahikot Valley when the events took place.
have been numerous, conflicting reports of the actions of that day,
and it is clear that many things went terribly wrong (part of the
reason for an information blackout regarding the events), but
according to what my friend told me, the unmanned aerial drone
footage showed Roberts using his SAW, then his sidearm, and finally
his few grenades against machine gun positions. During that
interaction he was apparently wounded in the legs, which ultimately
reduced his ability to evade, and finally resulted in his being
killed as the result of a bullet which struck him in the head. The
antagonists then moved forward from their cover, firing their
weapons as they moved to ensure that he was dead. Apparently they
felt that the helicopter from which he had “fallen” would
return, and their actions suggested that they intended to use
Roberts’ body as “bait”. The video footage reportedly shows a
limp (dead) Roberts being dragged by three men from where he fell to
a place closer to their machine gun position. His body was searched,
and at least one additional shot was made to his head… maybe more.
friend informed me that it appeared that Roberts had moved
aggressively against the machine gun emplacements, and had accounted
for numerous enemy combatants, before he ran out of ammunition, was
wounded, and then killed by enemy fire. The general consensus of
those men involved in the investigation came to the conclusion that
Roberts had been sure the helo would return for him (as he was
unaware that it was severely damaged) and was attempting to
neutralize guns which might be turned against the returning
aircraft. His heroic actions – alone – had prompted an
examination with an eye to awarding him the CMOH, but due to the
lack of evidence that would normally come from companions on the
ground (and the stipulation that the actions of CMOH recipients must
be observed by a minimum of two others in attendance), that award
was ultimately denied and a Navy Cross was posthumously awarded.
I was heavily involved in exposing SEAL imposters and answering
inquiries about the SEAL Teams, and had been fielding an increasing
number of inquiries similar to yours, my friend gave me a very brief
overview of the sequence of events in an attempt to give me enough
information so that I might provide answers to those inquiries. He
was very clear in his statements to me that Roberts was wounded in
the legs and then killed by a head shot while fighting from sparse
concealment, his dead body was then dragged by three men to a new
location where it was dropped and searched, and a very short time
later his body/head were shot at least once more and possibly
several times At no time did the information I received ever
constitute a revelation of classified information, and I was
admonished to not go into greater detail than I have given you here.
The primary reason for not trying to disseminate information was
that the investigation might result in an award of the CMOH and I
was cautioned that “we don’t want to disrupt that investigation
– let them do their work”.
noted, the initial press reports included statements about Roberts
being captured and then executed, but those quickly and quietly
ceased almost immediately. I suspect, but cannot be certain, that
key individuals were provided with information which resulted in
those public statements not being repeated. I would also note that
there was an immediate clamp-down on all information pertaining to
the events on Takur Ghar which appeared to be intended to keep
outsiders from learning about communications failures between
elements involved in that operation… not to prevent
“embarrassment” to US higher command elements, but to prevent
enemy forces from taking advantage of those failures before they
could be resolved.
too, have many additional questions about those events, and wish
I’d been told more. As I was not present atop Takur Ghar in March
2002, I can relate only what I was told by an individual who was/is
“very highly placed”; ABH1(SEAL) Neil C. Roberts was killed
while fighting alone against overwhelming enemy forces, his dead
body was then dragged to a position where it was apparently intended
to “bait” potential rescuers into the kill zone of waiting
machine gun emplacements. Enemy combatants manhandled his body and
eventually desecrated/mutilated it, including additional gun shots.
Roberts was not “captured” or “detained” or “held”… he
was killed in action (KIA) and his dead body was then put to use by
those who had defeated him.
“gag order” on details of the event have led (and will continue
to lead) many to suspect/claim a conspiracy of silence, a “cover
up”, and/or an effort to “spin” the story to hide the truth of
what happened. I can only say that the former SEAL officer who
provided me with a cursory overview of those events is perhaps the
most scrupulously honest man that I know. His former tasking as a
SEAL officer led to his being involved in the most intimate
evaluation of what occurred at Takur Ghar. He told me that Roberts
was killed in action, and that he was not taken alive. That former
SEAL officer has been totally truthful when discussing combat events
in the past, including accounts of things that did not go right and
events which were not reported to the public, and I must ultimately
rely upon my personal knowledge of his absolutely truthful nature in
the past, and accept his statements as fact. Examination of the
varied accounts from various government officials and military men
in the days and weeks after the events will clearly show that the
story changed with almost every telling; new presumptions are
offered and new “details” were revealed from time to time. Yet
through all of those variants the story which was recounted by my
close friend and former SEAL officer has held up to close scrutiny.
As new “details” are circulated from time to time, I find that
they actually contain information that I was told years ago by my
final grim details may never be known since Roberts was the only
“friendly” on the ground at the time. Although his actions were
seen by an aerial surveillance drone, there was no “audio” and
that video coverage was, by definition, remote. There were no
officers or enlisted men with him, no one to watch and hear what
went on from a ground perspective. In the video from the Predator
his limp body was never seen to move during the time it was being
dragged, mutilated, and desecrated. From the accounts which I have
been given by individual(s) who were involved in investigating the
events, I firmly believe that Roberts was KIA and not