Slideshow: Americans killed in Afghanistan helicopter attack

Slideshow: Americans killed in Afghanistan helicopter attack

Top of his class. Quarterback. Team captain. John Faas' football coach had encouraged the natural-born leader to consider applying to a service academy to become a military officer, but Faas had decided in middle school that he wanted to become a Navy SEAL. The 31-year-old from Minneapolis never wavered about his goal, joining the elite fighting force and becoming a chief petty officer. "This is where John felt he was called," said Ron Monson, the football coach at Minnehaha Academy, a private Christian school in Minneapolis where Faas graduated as the 1998 class valedictorian. The coach said Faas never showed bravado and didn't fit the Hollywood stereotype of a SEAL. Instead, the son of Gretchen and Robert Faas of Minneapolis, was the guy who always stood up for his fellow students. "John was a man of unquestionable integrity and courage, as were those he served with," his family said in a statement. "He became a SEAL to serve his country and to make the world a better place for those less fortunate."

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ABC News

Posted on August 10, 2011 at 3:24 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 25 at 12:34 PM

The American troops who died aboard a downed helicopter in Afghanistan came to the special forces from far-flung corners of the country, some motivated by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. They were intensely patriotic and talented young men with a love of physical challenges and a passion for the high-risk job they chose.

Thirty Americans and eight Afghans were killed last Saturday when a rocket-propelled grenade fired by a Taliban insurgent downed their Chinook helicopter en route to a combat mission.

The Pentagon on Thursday identified the Americans as 17 members of the elite Navy SEALs, five Naval Special Warfare personnel who support the SEALs, three Air Force Special Operations personnel and an Army helicopter crew of five.

All but two of the SEALs were from SEAL Team 6, the unit that killed Osama bin Laden, although military officials said none of the crash victims was on that mission in Pakistan against the al-Qaida leader.

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