Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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Operation Enduring Freedom 


Operation Enduring Freedom

Navy SEALs (Sea, Air, Land) operating in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. From left to right: Sonar Technician (Surface) 2nd Class (SEAL) Matthew G. Axelson, 29, of Cupertino, Calif; Senior Chief Information Systems Technician (SEAL) Daniel R. Healy, 36, of Exeter, N.H.; Quartermaster 2nd Class (SEAL) James Suh, 28, of Deerfield Beach, Fla.; Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class (SEAL) Marcus Luttrell; Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class (SEAL) Eric S. Patton, 22, of Boulder City, Nev.; Lt. (SEAL) Michael P. Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, N.Y. With the exception of the lone survivor, Luttrell, all were killed June 28, 2005 by enemy forces while supporting Operation Redwing. (U.S. Navy Photo)

 

In response to the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people, Operation Enduring Freedom officially began 7 October 2001 with American and British bombing strikes against al-Qaeda and Taliban forces in Afghanistan. Initially, the Taliban was removed from power and al-Qaeda was seriously crippled, but forces continually dealt with a stubborn Taliban insurgency, infrastructure rebuilding and corruption among the Afghan National Army, Afghan National Police, and Afghan Border Police.

On 2 May 2011, U.S. Navy SEALS launched a raid on Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, killing the al-Qaeda leader and mastermind of the September 11th terrorist’s attacks (O’Rourke). Operation Enduring Freedom officially ended 28 December 2014, although coalition forces remain on the ground to assist with training Afghan security forces (Torreon).

The U.S. Navy had three Medal of Honor recipients during Operation Enduring Freedom, all Navy SEALS, Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Edward C. Byers Jr. and Master Chief Petty Officer Britt Slabinski.

The links below showcase NHHC’s online holdings pertaining to Operation Enduring Freedom.

References

O’Rourke, Ronald. 2015. “Navy Irregular Warfare and Counterterrorism Operations: Background and Issues for Congress.” Congressional Research Report for Congress (November 6): 1.

Torreon, Barbara. 2016. “U.S. Periods of War and Dates of Recent Conflicts.” Congressional Research Report for Congress (September 29): 6–7.

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Guided Missile Destroyer

The guided-missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones (DDG-53) fires a Tomahawk missile against the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, October 7, 2001. (U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 1st Class Ted Banks, 140619-N-ZZ999-167)
Published: Wed Oct 09 15:23:39 EDT 2019