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Tuesday, February 19 , 2019, 3:42 pm | Fair 55º


Santa Barbara Man Among Troops Killed in Afghan Crash

SBHS graduate and Navy SEAL Louis J. Langlais was one of 30 service members who died when their helicopter was shot down

A Navy SEAL from Santa Barbara is listed among 30 service members killed in a helicopter crash last week while serving in Afghanistan.

Special Warfare Operator Master Chief Petty Officer Louis J. Langlais, 44, died Saturday in Wardak Province, Afghanistan, after his CH-47 Chinook helicopter was shot down by insurgents. The Department of Defense released the names of the deceased Thursday morning. Click here to view the list.

Langlais was a native of Santa Barbara and enlisted in the U.S. Navy in June 1986, according to Lt. Arlo Abrahamson, a public affairs officer for the Naval Special Warfare Group.

Langlais graduated from the Recruit Training Command in San Diego in September 1986 and then reported to the USS Wadsworth, where he served until January 1989. That February, Langlais began SEAL training in Coronado. He graduated eight months later and reported to a West Coast-based SEAL Team until January 1997. He then joined the Navy Parachute Team until February 2000. He then served with several East Coast-based SEAL teams during the next 10 years until his death, according to Abrahamson.

“Early Saturday morning, Aug. 6, Naval Special Warfare suffered a tremendous loss of 22 men while conducting critical special operations combat in Afghanistan,” said Rear Admiral Sean Pybus, Commander, Naval Special Warfare Command. “They cannot be replaced. We will honor their service and sacrifice, and embrace their families as our own, in this time of immeasurable grief. The outpouring of support and sympathy from the armed services, the government, communities and the public is well beyond my ability to properly thank. The Naval Special Warfare Community is deeply humbled and appreciative.”

Langlais’ awards include the Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V” device for valor, a Joint Service Commendation Medal one with Combat “V” device for valor, a Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal and a Combat Action Ribbon, among many others.

Pybus said the SEALs were with U.S. Army aircrew, U.S. Air Force para-rescue and combat controllers, in addition to an Afghan security element, at the time of the crash.

“We grieve for all of them, and admire their teamwork, commitment and courage,” he said. “I have great hope for the future knowing that extraordinary men dedicate themselves completely to the idea and the actions of freedom and security, not only for ourselves but for others. We are truly blessed that such men answer a call to military service at the highest levels of professionalism and capability, but also deeply saddened by their loss.”

Langlais was a 1986 Santa Barbara High School graduate, and his name will now join dozens of others on the memorial plaque in front of the J.R. Richards Auditorium, the Santa Barbara Unified School District said in a statement Thursday.

“At Santa Barbara High School, founded in 1875, some of the history we teach was made by the students we taught,” the plaque states. “The students, alumni, faculty, staff and friends of Santa Barbara High School dedicate this memorial to celebrate the lives and to honor the memory of alumni who gave their lives in the line of duty, in war and in peace, while serving with the armed forces of the United States of America.”

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews.

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