In the end of June in 2005, an MH-47 Chinook helicopter was shot down killing eight Navy SEALs and the other eight service members aboard. The helicopter was racing to support a four-man . deep behind enemy lines in the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan.
The operation, known as Operation Red Wings was immortalized in the book, and later a film, Lone Survivor. The downed helicopter was carrying SEALs from SEAL Team 10, who were assigned as the quick reaction force for the operation and were dispatched after it was known that operations’s SEAL reconnaissance and surveillance team was ambushed.
The quick reaction force launched with two MH-47 Special Operations Aircraft (SOAR) of the 160th, two UH-60 conventional Army aviation Black Hawk helicopters, and two AH-64 Apache attack helicopters.
During an attempt to insert SEALs who were riding in one of the MH-47 helicopters, one of the Taliban fighters fired an RPG-7 rocket propelled grenade, which struck the transmission below the rear rotor assembly, causing the aircraft to immediately plummet to the ground.
Of the sixteen killed, one was Navy Chief Fire Controlman (SEAL) Jacques J. Fontan from Virginia Beach, Virginia.
A close friend and fellow service member, David Wilkinson, found a unique way to honor his SEAL friend after his death.
After serving in the Navy for 26 years, Chief Petty Officer Wilkinson left in 2013, but suffered from PTSD. To help him with his disability, Wilkinson was assigned a service dog from TADSAW (Train a Dog Save a Warrior), a Texas 501(c)(3) not for profit organization.
David Wilkinson named his dog Jacques in memory of his fallen friend. Since then, Jacques has been honoring the fallen SEAL with his service vest and meeting other vets on the road.
Wilkinson’s motorcycle is outfitted with a sidecar so Jacques is never left behind.
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