Saturday, April 4, 2009

Navy SEAL Dietz Honored by General Assembly

A Littleton man who died in Afghanistan while serving as a U.S. Navy SEAL will have a stretch of South Santa Fe Drive named in his honor.

Petty Officer Danny Dietz, who graduated from Heritage High School, died in combat in 2005. He was killed in action while his unit was engaged in a battle with elements of the Taliban.

Dietz, who was a communications specialist, was part of a SEAL team assigned to capture a Taliban leader in the Hindu-Kush mountains on June 28, 2005.

According to a U.S. Navy press release issued after Dietz' death, the members of the SEAL team "were spotted by anti-coalition sympathizers, who immediately reported their position to Taliban fighters. A fierce gun-battle ensued between the four SEALs and a much larger enemy force with superior tactical position."

A Chinook helicopter called in to assist Dietz and three other SEALs was shot down, resulting in the death of eight other SEAL members and eight Army soldiers.

Dietz' hometown erected a statue in his honor in 2007. Dietz was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross in 2006.

The Navy Cross, which along with its counterparts in the Army and Air Force is a medal awarded for "extreme gallantry" in combat with an armed enemy, ranks second in significance to the Congressional Medal of Honor.

The naming of the section of Santa Fe Drive between C-470 and I-25 was authorized by means of a joint resolution. That stretch of the road will be known as Petty Officer Danny Dietz Memorial Highway.