Nightly News | August 06, 2011
LESTER HOLT, anchor: Despite our fascination over their work, Navy SEALs shun publicity and as a rule they don't tell war stories. Still, in the tight-knit stateside communities where they are based, everyone has a pretty good idea of what these quiet heroes are about and the extraordinary dangers they face. And tonight those communities are feeling a very deep sense of loss. NBC 's Miguel Almaguer joins us from outside Coronado , California , now with the latest.
Miguel: Lester , good evening. This is a military community, home to some of the most elite commandos anywhere in the world, but tonight, as you mentioned, this is where loss is being felt. In Coronado , California , where the Navy SEALs train, sorrow and grief.
MIGUEL ALMAGUER reporting: It was devastating, absolutely devastating. And when I first heard it, I wondered if maybe it wasn't in retaliation, if they were aware of who was on board the helicopter.
Unidentified Woman #1: It took me a while for it to sink in. And then when it did, I just felt like I was melting. I didn't know what to say or do.
Unidentified Woman #2: With 30 American troops killed in Afghanistan today, 22 belonged to one family, the Navy SEALs . They are the best of the best , a special operations team so elite, 80 percent of those who began training don't make the cut.
ALMAGUER: We like it when it hurts.
Unidentified Man: The Navy pushes the SEALs beyond the limits. Mental toughness, physical fitness and extreme courage, not just requirements for the job, but a way of life .
ALMAGUER: You can always count on the Navy SEALs to do -- and the special forces to do all the hard jobs.
Mr. KEVIN MARSHALL (Navy Engineer): The SEALs endure more than 30 months of brutal and specialized training. Taught to react quickly in dark environments, plunge from a plane, even for combat under water. They are prepared for anything, able to deploy anywhere.
ALMAGUER: They work in the shadows and the sooner they can step back in the shadows, the happier they are.
Captain RYAN McCOMBIE: Retired Captain Ryan McCombie was a Navy SEAL and served nearly three decades with the military.
ALMAGUER: These young men are national treasures. They're irreplaceable. You don't find them everywhere, so this was -- this was a tragedy for the entire country.
Capt. McCOMBIE: The SEALs are known as silent warriors, but their missions, like the killing of Osama bin Laden , make a clear statement, a group that has also paid the ultimate price.
ALMAGUER: My nephew is over there and any time you hear of any mass killings, this just brings it home and kind of makes you a little bit more nervous about what's going on.
Woman #1: A community used to war, but one that's never suffered a loss like this. While the Navy SEALs have trained here for years, this region is also home to other military branches and tonight, Lester , they, too, are mourning the loss of their troops.
ALMAGUER: Miguel Almaguer in Coronado , thank you.