They were expectant dads, astronaut hopefuls and former valedictorians.
The helicopter crash that killed 25 U.S. Special Operations members and five crewmen in Afghanistan on August 6 has left their families heartbroken and leaning on the tight-knit military community.
Of the fallen, 17 were Navy SEALS, five belonged to a Navy Special Warfare unit, five were from the army and three served in the Air Force, according to the Washington Post. All but two of the SEALs were from SEAL Team Six, the unit that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in May. None of the servicemen killed took part in the mission, the Associated Press reported.
As loved ones grieve, the Navy SEAL Foundation offers up support by providing families with funding for memorial services, scholarships for children and spouses and assistance with other financial needs.
The organization is accepting donations through its website. Donors can contribute to the general fund or select the option to support families of the SEALs killed August 6. On the page, contributors can also specify a family's name in the comments section to allocate funds directly. This option is not tax-deductible, according to the charity.
Mobile phone users can also text the word "SEAL" to 90999 to make a $10 donation to the foundation.
In an email sent to the Navy SEAL Foundation's donor base and shared with the Huffington Post, Navy SEAL Foundation Chairman, Vice Adm. Albert Calland, III stressed the importance of supporting families of the fallen:
The loss of the U.S. Navy SEALs in Afghanistan is the kind of news the Navy SEAL Foundation fears-but prepares for in our mission to provide immediate and ongoing support and assistance to the Naval Special Warfare community and their families….These warriors were at the tip of the spear in the global war on terror, exhibiting extraordinary skill, courage, and commitment. It's paramount for the Foundation to support their families here at home.
In addition to the Navy SEALS Foundation, there are other organizations dedicated to helping our fallen heroes.
The Special Operations Warrior Foundation provides surviving children of fallen Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps special operations forces with a full college education (including tuition, books, fees, room and board, and a computer and printer) and gives financial assistance to families of severely wounded special operations warriors.
Fallen SEAL Christopher Campbell requested that if he were to die in the line of duty, that donations be made in his memory to the Wounded Warrior Project. This nonprofit provides rehabilitative services for military members injured on or after Sept. 11 2001.
The Air Force Aid Society provides help to families in emergency situations. The organization helps cover travel, vehicle, funeral, child care, moving and other expenses.
See the full list of service members killed in the crash at the Department of Defense website.
CORRECTION: A previous version of the story incorrectly used the term special forces and cited an incorrect number of Special Operations members who died.
See the slideshow below of fallen Navy SEALs (Photos: AP)
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