Saturday, August 06, 2011

Navy Master-at-Arms Petty Officer 1st Class (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist) John Douangdara

Remember Our Heroes

Navy Master-at-Arms Petty Officer 1st Class (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist) John Douangdara, 26, of South Sioux City, Neb.

Master-at-Arms Petty Officer 1st Class (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist) John Douangdara was assigned to an East Coast-based SEAL team; died Aug. 6, 2011 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when the CH-47 Chinook helicopter in which he was riding was shot down.

John Douangdara VIRGINIA BEACH - U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class John Douangdara, 26, was killed in action Aug. 6, 2011 in Wardak Province, eastern Afghanistan. He was a native of South Sioux City, Neb. He enlisted in the United States Navy in February 2003. After graduating Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Ill., in April 2003, he reported to his initial service school training at Norfolk. Upon completion of his initial training, he reported to Naval Air Station Sigonella Security Detachment, Sicily in June 2003. In August 2006, he reported to Public/Ordnance Safety Security Force, New London, Groton, Conn. He then reported to his East Coast based SEAL Team in January 2008.

Petty Officer Douangdara's awards include the Bronze Star with "V" device, Joint Service Commendation Medal with "V" Device, Army Commendation Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon (3), Rifle Marksmanship Medal, and the Pistol Marksmanship Medal.

On August 6, 30 service members including a military dog were killed when their Chinook helicopter was shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade in Afghanistan.
Tragically, 22 of those killed were members of the Navy SEALs and several were part of the famous SEAL Team 6 unit that took down Osama bin Laden earlier this year with another military dog named Cairo.

According to, “SEAL Team 6 is divided into numerous detachments that rotate into Afghanistan. The SEALs who killed Bin Laden were handpicked and considered the top members of the unit.” states that SEAL Team 6 member John “Jet Li” Douangdara and his military dog, Bart, were among those who were killed in the attack.

Douangdara worked as the lead dog handler for his unit, reaching the title of Master at Arms.

Both Bart and Douangdara have memorial pages on Facebook, where friends and strangers alike are thanking them for their service.

The Navy SEALs maintain a Facebook page of their own, “Fallen US Navy SEALs,” where people pay their respects and remember those who are lost.

Bart and Douangdara are both listed on the site as part of the unit that was killed while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom

Services will be private. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent to John Douangdara Memorial Fund: Siouxland Federal Credit Union, 3000 Plaza Drive, South Sioux City, NE 68776 H.D. Oliver Funeral Apts., Laskin Road Chapel, is handling arrangements.

Sengchanh Douangdara, the mother of U.S. Navy SEAL John Douangdara, said military officials came to her door at 10 a.m. Saturday to deliver the news of her son's death.

Master at Arms, Class 1 John Douangdara, 26, was a lead dog handler for the elite military unit. *Dog, Bart, died with him.

This was his third time serving in Afghanistan, and he'd also been to Iraq twice.

The 2003 South Sioux City High School graduate was aboard a Chinook helicopter with 37 others when the aircraft was shot down during an anti-Taliban operation in the Tangi Valley.

I didn't even know Johnny was a Navy SEAL," his mother said. "I know that he loved his job, it was a job he chose."

The family's sadness was tempered with pride their brother and son served his country, a country that welcomed these Laotian immigrants 31 years ago.

"We are proud Johnny fought for the country that embraced our family and gave us the opportunity to reach for the American dream," said Chan Follen, the oldest of five children in the family.

The 26-year-old was a 2003 South Sioux City graduate and had just left for Afghanistan in June. He was supposed to be back in October, but on Saturday morning his family found out that would not happen.

Neighbor Linda Schmitz says family was always a top priority for Douangdara, and now they're devastated by his loss.

"His whole family looked up to him too, they were really proud of the fact that he was in the military and had done so well and everybody is just saddened by it. There's just so much grief," said Schmitz.

Douangdara's sister says as unimaginably difficult the situation is, they believe he'd be proud to die for his beliefs, and do so with the men in his unit he thought of as brothers.

John Douangdara will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.

August 14, 2011
Fair winds and following seas shipmate. Your warrior days are now over and peace is yours. ~ Henryk Zaleski USN-Ret, Lake Placid, Florida

Navy Master-at-Arms Petty Officer 1st Class (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist) John Douangdara was killed in action on 8/6/11.

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