Background

On August 6, 2011, the Taliban shot down a CH-47 Chinook helicopter in Afghanistan, call sign Extortion 17, carrying a Special Operations forces (SOF) team of 30 American warriors and a military working dog, along with seven Afghan commandos and a civilian interpreter. All perished in what was the largest single-day loss of life in Operation Enduring Freedom and in the history of U.S. Naval Special Warfare. Will Thomas, a schoolboy from Virginia moved by the courage of the fallen and a commitment to aid their loved ones, launched Operation Hawkeye (OHe) to honor the 8.6.2011 heroes and rally support for their families, through sport. In 2013 he expanded the mission to encompass fallen warriors of all branches of SOF, and to support those left behind in the wake of their passing. OHe unites the general public with the SOF community to close an awareness gap regarding the sacrifices of SOF warriors and needs of their families. The mission honors the fallen, informs others of their heroism, and advances actions that support America’s elite warriors and their families. OHe works closely with and augments the efforts of organizations such as the Navy SEAL Foundation, Air Commando Association Foundation, That Others May Live Foundation, Red Circle Foundation, MARSOC Foundation, and others. The mission also engages key elements of the nation’s athletics and tactical communities. Mission team members include enterprises of every scale – from community establishments to national businesses – as well as media figures and writers.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What inspired the mission name “Operation Hawkeye”? The mission name, “Operation Hawkeye”, is drawn from the name of Jon Tumilson’s faithful canine, Hawkeye, as well as by the skill of shooting marksmanship and by the character “Hawkeye”, of Cooper’s novel, Last of the Mohicans.
What inspired the “Operation Hawkeye” logo? The logo for Operation Hawkeye is inspired by the profile of mission team shooter Will Thomas, laid over a red ribbon, honoring the sacrifices of the US Special Operations forces community, and the commitment of the mission team to remember such service and heroism.
How does OHe complement and augment the efforts of other organizations? The core objectives of Operation Hawkeye can be summarized in three words: honor; inform; act. With regard the first, “honor”, OHe works with social media partners and memorials to honor the fallen across every branch of SOF. Working with social media partners, mission enterprises, writers, publications, bloggers, SOF museums and associations, OHe strives to inform others of the heroism, sacrifice, and needs of the SOF community. Finally, it facilitates actions, financial and nonfinancial, that demonstrate impactful support of the SOF community. When an SOF warrior falls and his loved ones need support, OHe mission members work in partnership with mission partner SOF organizations to identify and provide the support and assistance they need.
Does Operation Hawkeye have any religious or political affiliations? No. The mission is not affiliated with any particular faith or political agenda. It is a team devoted to honoring the fallen, informing others of their heroism and of the needs of loved ones left behind.
How can I participate in Operation Hawkeye? Operation Hawkeye is structured so that any individual that wishes to honor America’s fallen SOF warfighters and aid their loved ones can do so. Some of the ways in which individuals can participate in the mission are highlighted below.
  • “Like” the mission Facebook page
  • Send a goodwill message through OHe MAIL
  • Place a donation in connection with mission operations
  • Use your personal talent, and devote your time, to assist with mission tasks and operations
How can my enterprise participate in Operation Hawkeye? Operation Hawkeye is structured so that any enterprise or organization, whatever the size or location, that wishes to honor America’s fallen SOF warfighters and aid their loved ones can do so. Some of the ways in which community establishments and major enterprises can support the SOF community through the mission are highlighted below.
  • “Like” the OHe mission Facebook page
  • Hold, sponsor, or participate in events designed to raise awareness about the mission and rally financial support for the cause
  • Assist OHe with outreach at major events
  • Donate to mission teammate charities