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October 29, 2006

D.J. Dietz – You Will Never Be Forgotten

by @ 1:12 am. Filed under Troop Support, True Heroes

Friday, September 29, President Bush gave a speech to the Reserve Officers Association on the occasion of the visits by President Karzai of Afghanistan, and President Musharraf of Pakistan. He praised the efforts of both leaders in the War on Terror and the commitment and bravery of U.S. troops, including two Navy SEALs who were posthumously honored recently with the Navy Cross, the Nation’s second highest military award.

I think of two Navy SEALs named Matthew Axelson and Danny Dietz. In June of 2005, they were part of a SEAL team operating deep in the mountains of Afghanistan on a mission to kill or capture a Taliban leader. They were discovered, and they were soon surrounded in a mountain ravine by 30 to 40 Taliban fighters. During the firefight that ensued, Axelson urged an injured teammate to escape, and he provided cover before suffering a mortal wound. Fighting nearby, his partner Dietz was also mortally wounded, but he too stood his ground and kept firing until finally, he finally died.

Because of the courage of Petty Officers Axelson and Dietz, their wounded teammate made it out alive. For their heroism, these two Petty Officers were awarded the Navy Cross. But I want you to hear what Petty Officer Dietz’s wife said about her husband and his comrades in arms. She said, “Danny and his brothers went toward evil and ran forward and gave their last breath.”

Warrior D.J.

It’s difficult to find words to adequately describe someone whose bravery and dedication go above and beyond anything you’d likely see in your daily life, let alone in your entire life. What makes a man into a hero? What gives him the courage to voluntarily be dropped into a nightmare with no hope of waking up to find it was only a dream? The only way out is to finish the job, and he knows it doesn’t always end with the good guys coming home safe and sound. Sometimes, no matter how much you’ve trained or how well you’ve planned, the monsters win. What kind of man looks at those lousy odds and says “that’s for me”?

We can have confidence in the outcome of the war on terror — because our nation is determined. We’ve done this kind of hard work before, and we have succeeded. And we can be confident because we’ve got incredible men and women who wear our nation’s uniform. I am constantly amazed at the incredible courage that our fellow citizens who wear the uniform show on a regular basis. –George W. Bush

Those incredible citizens were encouraged by friends and loved ones and mentored by the best Americans trained in the past, but first they were raised and taught by incredible parents. The following is a heartfelt tribute by a mother to her warrior son.

You Will Never Be Forgotten.
By Cindy Dietz
Mother of Petty Officer 2nd Class, Navy Seal, Seal Delivery Team Two Danny Phillip Dietz Jr.
January 26, 1980 – June 28, 2005

On June 28, 2005 we lost our hero – beloved son, brother, brother-in-law, grandson, and husband. He will forever be in our hearts and souls until we meet again in the heavens above.

We want D.J. to be remembered for the amazing and caring and full of life person he was and is. He always strived to be the best in everything he did and achieved everything to the best of his abilities. D.J. was very strong willed and that is who he needed to be to become the hero we all have come to admire and love.


D.J. and his sister Tiffany could have been twins. They were very close and they shared the kind of unique, private way of communicating that such a bond creates. He was a very protective but very loving older brother. They were always together not only in childhood but were inseparable in their teen years as well.

D.J. and Tiffany loved their little brother Eric. They very much babied him most of the time, but would sometimes gang up on him thinking they were only making him tough. Eric looked up to D.J. and he was definitely his role model while growing up.


D.J. came home from one of his deployments when Eric was in a terrible car accident. He broke his neck in the same type of injury as Christopher Reeve. The medical staff let D.J. stay with his brother, and D.J. did not leave Eric’s bedside the whole time he was in intensive care. We were told he would never walk again but Eric kept telling his brother “I will walk again,” and after his surgery he did. We never questioned what D.J. told his little brother but we believe whatever it was he gave him the strength to walk again.

Eric is now going to run a marathon in honor of his brother D.J., something only his brother and God above can see him through with all the family and friends supporting him.

D.J. was our first born. We learned through him the true meaning of love. He was such a joy to us and we felt blessed with such a beautiful and loving infant. Through his childhood, teen and adult years we as parents were thankful to our heavenly father for giving him to us and though we were not perfect parents, we did the best we could in raising such an amazing hero. We are very proud of our son’s accomplishments and thankful for the time, though cut short, he was here on earth. The love we shared was and is the true meaning of what love is all about.

D.J. loved his Grandma Dee and Grandpa Jim, and their tremendous love for D.J. will always be with him.

D.J. married his soul mate March 14, 2003. Although their life together was short they shared a fairytale love that not many of us in a lifetime get to share.


Agnieszka has become a close friend to the Dietz family. She has written her own tribute to D.J. and his family.

Extraordinary Gallantry and Valor
By Agnieszka O., family friend

Navy Cross Medal, Silver Star Medal, Purple Heart Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Good Conduct Award, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Expert Pistol and Expert Rifle Medal.

Many knew him as Danny, but for family and many friends he was D.J.

I have never met D.J., but I feel like I know him in some way. I know him through his parents , Cindy and Dan, his brother Eric, his sister Tiffany and her husband Alex, his grandmother, aunts and uncles, family members, friends as well as pictures and video clips.

On June 28 this year family and friends celebrated D.J.’s life in a private memorial service in Denver, CO. The memorial service was a moving tribute to the HERO who, like his father Dan, wanted to serve his country and joined the Navy. Dan Dietz Sr. served in the Navy during the Vietnam War and provided an early inspiration for D.J. to become a Navy SEAL. They also shared the love of martial arts. Dan has a black belt in Taekwon-Do and started to teach D.J. when he was a toddler. D.J. also liked boxing and won the Armed Forces Boxing Championship representing the Navy team.


On September 13, the Dietz family traveled to Washington D.C. to attend a special presentation ceremony at the United States Naval Memorial next to the “Lone Sailor” statue. Petty Officer 2nd Class Danny Dietz Jr. and his Navy SEAL brother, Petty Officer 2nd Class Matt Axelson, were posthumously awarded the Navy Cross, the Nation’s second highest Military Award for valor and gallantry. The medals were the fourth and fifth to be awarded to Navy SEALs since 2001.

Navy Cross in Presentation

D.J. was one of the four Navy SEALs inserted into the hostile territory close to Asadabad, Afghanistan during Operation Red Wing. D.J.’s specialty on the team was communication. After the team’s hiding position was compromised, they engaged in a fierce battle against overwhelming numbers of Taliban militia. They radioed for help and helicopters were dispatched to extract the team. By the end of that day, 28 of June 2005, two of D.J.’s teammates on the ground, Matt Axelson and Mike Murphy were KIA, one of the SEALs was able to escape, and eight Army Night Stalkers and eight Navy SEALS on board the Chinook helicopter perished in the rugged mountains of South Afghanistan.

D.J. gave it all to his team. He fought till the end.

The SEAL Ethos says:
“My loyalty to Country and Team is beyond reproach. I humbly serve as a guardian to my fellow Americans always ready to defend those who are unable to defend themselves.”

D.J paid the ultimate price to protect his teammates and his country.

On Monday August 18, Littleton Boulevard in Littleton Colorado was temporarily renamed in honor of D.J. to Danny Dietz Drive. The sign will be in place for 10 days. The City of Littleton is planning to unveil a permanent memorial in honor of DJ in one of the Littleton parks next year.

Street dedication

Eric is going to run the 31st Marine Corps Marathon in honor of his older brother D.J. The marathon will be held on Sunday, October 29, 2006 at Fort Meyer, Arlington, VA, near the Pentagon. Eric has never run in a marathon before but he has been diligently training the past several months — it will be very emotional for Eric but I know he’ll be able to complete the race.

The family site at T.A.P.S. is here.

My six-year-old son, Adam, really wanted to run a marathon in memory of DJ as well. Adam is going to run the Marine Corps Marathon Healthy Kids’ Fun Run on Saturday, October 28th. Eric took some time off with his own training to run with Adam. Adam is proud to run in memory of DJ.

Together with the City of Littleton, the Dietz family is raising money for the memorial statue of D.J.

Tax-Deductible contributions can be mailed to:

City of Littleton Finance Department
Navy SEAL Danny Dietz Memorial Fund
2255 West Berry Ave.
Littleton, CO 80165

The Dietz family is also developing a web site in a memory of their son at

The President’s conclusion to his speech:

We live in freedom because of the courage of men like Matthew and Danny. And we will honor their sacrifice by completing the mission. From Afghanistan and Iraq to Africa and Southeast Asia, we are engaged in a struggle against violent extremists — a struggle which will help determine the destiny of the civilized world. We’ve borne these responsibilities before, and we have seen our faith in freedom vindicated by history. In this young century, a new generation of Americans is being called to defend liberty — and once again the cause of liberty and peace will prevail.

American Hero

No one can replace a man like D.J. Dietz. He was unique and will be fondly remembered by all those lives he touched.

Additional reading:
Blackfive, Axelson and Dietz to receive Navy Cross
Navy NewsStand, Two SEALs Receive Posthumous Navy Cross Awards
Hampton Roads, Beach SEAL honored for his sacrifice in Afghanistan

Navy Cross award given on September 13, 2006.


The Navy Cross citation.

This is a video tribute to D.J. created by Agnieszka.

July 5, 2007

The Memorial Statue in Littleton, CO was unveiled July 4, 2007. Slapstick Politics has a very nice post about it with pictures and links.

83 Responses to “D.J. Dietz – You Will Never Be Forgotten”



  2. Rob H Says:

    Danny, you will never die in my heart and in the hearts of my wife and two children. Your spirit is not capable of death. Your body is not here, your spirit prevails in all of us, just a little bit. All men die, not every man truly lives. I pray that we truly live as you did. I am better because of you. My son and daugheter are better. My wife is better because of you. We love you, we love your family. We think of you often. We will never forget. On my deathbed, I will remember a handful of people. You will be one.

  3. thoughts from a team guy Says:

    you guys did really good with this website, im glad people still take time out to leave comments on a posting like this, its something i never usually do myself. but i wanted to tell you, for whats its worth, the guys here at Seal Team 2 havent forgotten him, or any one else. i didnt see any other team guys comments on here so i thougth it fitting that i should leave one. we werent at the same team, he was at SDV 2 i was at team 2, but that doesnt mean a thing, he was still a brother, and i still to this day pray for his wife, after seeing her at the memorial service on little creek. i have never been more choaked up by service than i was that day. what maria said that day will stay with me for the rest of my life. i wont forget it as long as i live. i dont think i have ever felt like that before. i hope i never feel like that again. maria, no one has forgotten him, dont ever let yourself think that. and we are still doing everything we can to take it to them. i know youve heard hundreds of team guys give there condolences over the last 2 and half years, in fact im sure your sick of us, but i wanted to let you know that i still pray for you personally and his family. to this very day. i wont begin to think that comforts you in anyway, but i feel like you need to know it. we wont ever forget you guys. we love you.

    take care

    Thanks for leaving this comment, team guy. I believe DJ is still watching over you guys and is very proud of his brothers. -GN

  4. Doug Says:

    I left for the Navy the excat same day Danny did. In fact we spent the whole day at MEPS together and then flew to Chicago. I remeebr sitting and talking with him about what his rate was and what mine was gonna be. I rememebr bits and pieces of the conversation but the one thing he said thats sticks in my mind was when he said he was gonna be a SEAL. I said “wow, I couldn’t imagine doiing that for a living.” Danny’s reply was, “I am either gonna die in BUDS or I am gonna be SEAL.” Not many people get to me but when he said that there was a though im ky mind that this kid was gonna be a warrior and he was. He seemed to me like the type of person that could do anything he wanted to do. We got to boot camp and were put in different divisions and the only other time I saw him was on liberty weekend with his girlfriend. I didnt get a chance to talk with him or meet her but I knew it was her because she came to the airport before we left with a couple other people which i believe were his mom, bro and sister. The next time I heard anything about him was when he was killed.
    He was the a warrior, shipmate and the definition of what we do everyday. People like Danny set a bar that cannot be raised. He was the first peron I met when I started my career but definitly will not be one I forget

  5. Cathy Chasse Says:

    I am reading Sole Survivor by Marcus Luttrell and felt compelled to access some of the websites dedicated to these brave young men involved in this harrowing mission. Doing so has allowed me to reach deep inside myself, almost as if I know them each personally as I read about their lives and families as well as their couragous battle with the Taliban forces on that mountainside that fateful day in June. We lost our dear cousin Master Sgt. Philip Albert on a mission in Afganistan and feel the pain and heatache felt by the families of these fine young men. It is because of them and others like them that we are able to live peaceful and productive lives in this great country. May God hold them in the palm of his hand.

  6. R. Emery Says:

    If you could look up in a dictionary at the definition of a “real man” it would list the name Daniel “DJ” Dietz and the other comrades like him who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Those rare breeds like Daniel raise the bar on what a man should be. I never had the honor of meeting him, but a glimpse into his life has motivated me to be the best man I can be. I will never forget the name Daniel Dietz and the price he paid for my freedom for as long as I live. Anytime I look at that American flag waving in the wind, I will think of Daniel and warriors like him and be reminded of how proud I am to be an American. Thank You Daniel for your Service on behalf of me and my family. A Big SALUTE from a fellow American.

  7. Paul M. Says:

    Like many others I was led to finding out more about P.O. Dietz, while reading Lone Survivor. All our men and women in uniform should be honored and saluted, but the SEALs hold a place that goes even beyond. This tribute is a beautiful and fitting memorial that exemplifies the highest individual character qualities and standard of service to the greatest nation. God bless P.O. Dietz, his family, and his SEAL family.

  8. Rickee F. Says:

    I have the pleasure of knowing DJ’s sister Tiffany. I never got to meet Danny, but have met the Dietz family. All of them are wonderful people. I am very honored to know this family. They have done a wonderful job with all their kids. To Eric the few opportunities I have seen you it was obvious what a fine young man you’ve turned out to be. Your older brother would be proud of you. I have a 6 year old son and plan to tell him about P.O. Dietz and explain how important he was to all of us, and the sacrifice he made to help keep us free. He is a definate hero and a man of honor. With people like Danny fighting for our country I am honored to call my self an American. Thank You Danny for your service and sacrifice. You will never be forgotten!

  9. badkarma Says:

    I’m glad Danny was an American!

  10. Andrew Says:

    Thanks for posting this. Alot of times the war(s) fade into the background of regular civilian life, but short films like this really bring it home. We really need to bring down these crazy Islamists.

    Dietz seemed quite the warrior, and a fellow shipmate. I heard that the lone survivor actually has a book out about the whole ordeal, too.

    Thanks again.

  11. Jane Says:

    Please post video on You Tube. It should be seen by more people.

  12. Seraph Says:

    Rest easy soldier. RIP.

  13. Saul Says:

    Thank you for your service and wonderful family. You are a true American.

  14. BB Says:

    I am very impressed from this story. His name will be forever in the part of brave man of this country. I profoundly pay respects for this fine courage and bravery.

  15. cengiz dogan Says:

    i was randomly browsing through live leak and came accross a video where i happened to see the i.d. of the young man and googles his name which brought me to this page. i must express one thought and that is, death will come to us all but how we die will make a difference. will we die in believing and persuing something we believe. most of us take our lives for granted. we complain about tiny things that go wrong in our day to day lives. only way we get to know what’s happening in the real world is by searching. trying to understand what takes place in the world. and unless we can put a personal face to the story, we don;y understand it how we really should. D.J, dietz has left his legacy behind him. may his soul rest in peace.

  16. Mac Says:

    You died for the free world so other can live in freedom and peace.
    What can be more distinguished than that?
    You´re a true hero. Not only in the US.
    We will always remember brave people like you, even if we didnt know each other by person.
    Rest in peace.

    1rst Amphibious battalion.
    Swedish Royal Marines

  17. DENNDOGG Says:

    I recently read the book about this battle and also saw the talibutt video and am amazed by the bravery of all these heros. I was moved to tears by the book and again by the video. If I had 1 wish it would be to travel back in time and be there with those heros. Maybe one more gun blazing down range would of gave the team enough help to survive. Its to bad you had to go so soon D.J. you were a blessing to the world but atleast men of your calinber make a permenent mark on this world and your legacy will live thousands of years. R.I.P. D.J.

  18. Paul Horn Says:

    I want to thank Danny and all the TEAM guys, the Dietz family. I constantly look at my wife and my 3yr old son and I know where our freedom comes from, I also want to express my gratitude to these men, I know if they didnt do what they do that evil would be here. Thank you again to all who serve and the family’s

  19. Proud Marine Mom Dee Says:

    I find myself searching for pictures and articles of Afghanistan. The reason…my son, a Marine, is heading there within the month. I am terrified, as I am sure your mother, father and family were of your deployment-related missions. I thank God for men like yourself. You and many like you, deserve more than word here can say. But know that I know the my son will carry on and take the fight back to the enemy that killed you Petty Officer Dietz and your commrades. May you rest in peace. God bless your family, friends and follow military brothers.

  20. Swissgirl Says:

    I heard about that story some month ago watching some video about afghanistan and the story of Dany and the others touched my heart. I live in Switzerland and as maybe some of you know my country has an army but our politic is to always keep a full neutrality and never involve into any war or conflict.
    The book Lone survivor and the Taliban video make me understand the context of the battlefield and these guys were amazing warriors. I don’t know why but i am thinking about the DASY (dany axel suddist yankee team) fast every day since many month even I live far away from usa – afghanistan and never knew any of them.
    DJ’s family can be proud of him and I hope to be able to met Dany in the heaven. I think Dany’s story makes me understand that people like him are every day giving their life for the peace and freedom in USA but also other country like Switzerland.
    Danny, I really thank you ! RIP

    Thanks for the kind comment! –GN

  21. Dianna Says:

    everyone once in a while you run across the type of person that makes you want to get up off your butt and do something good. Danny Dietz had that effect on me. Thank you for your service. I think all of those guys were born to be amazing strong heroes. I hope his wife is doing well.

  22. Semper Gratus Blog Archive D J Dietz You Will Never Be | garden statues Says:

    […] Semper Gratus Blog Archive D J Dietz You Will Never Be Posted by root 7 minutes ago ( A statue to honor him i hope will show at least to some people the men and colleen bowen says april 21st 2007 at 2 48 pm thanks for the kind comment gn dianna says may 31st 2009 at 6 22 pm powered by wordpress support n to act in a secondary or subordinat Discuss  |  Bury |  News | Semper Gratus Blog Archive D J Dietz You Will Never Be […]

  23. Will Says:

    I fly C-130s for the Air Force and was airborn in NE Afghanistan at the time of the firefight in Jun 05. I air dropped ammo,food, and water to Marines searching for Danny in the days following. Danny Dietz, Axelson, Murphy, and my fellow Texan Luttrell are supreme heros!! To the families: my sons are only 7 and 4 and they know all about Danny. I will continue to tell them about his bravery…thus Danny will live forever. His character, bravery, and patriotism will be told for many generations!!!

    Thank You, Will!!! One team, one fight. –GN

  24. mulin Says:

    Venerable warriors, honor you deserve! Justice will ultimately prevail over evil! D.J. Dietz You are the real heroes!

  25. Valerie Rueckert Says:

    To Danny Dietz family: Words cannot express my gratitude to your family for your unbelievable sacrifice for my freedom & the freedom of all Americans! I’ve read Lone Survivor, so I know every detail of your SEAL’s sacrifice.THANK YOU! God bless you & you are all in my prayers!!

  26. frank the snake Says:

    honor to navy seals warriors from italy.

  27. Paul Says:

    Lets all go back to 6-28-05 and remember all our brothers, and remember what we promised ” never to forget” I see these men as mighty men of God fighting a battle to keep America safe from what we really dont want to see, thank you TEAM guys and all your families for your hard work and sacrifice given daily.God bles

  28. Cyndi Faller Says:

    After hearing the news tonight that Bin Laden was finally caught, Danny’s life was not lost in vain. He is, and always will be, a hero to family & friends.

  29. J.R.Tolan Says:

    I would love to read more about how hard Dietz and Axelson fought and lived, They both should have gotten the MOH also, We read so much about Luttrell and some about Lt. Murphy but not much about these Two true Hero’s.

    I haven’t read his biography yet, but you might find more info there and on his Facebook page, Seal of Honor.

    I agree with you that all 4 of them were amazing people that we will never forget.

  30. HM52 Says:

    I agree J.R., I always thought D should have been awarded M.O.H.
    He was last to fall back covering his team. A true B.A.M.F.
    This may be a little out there but to me he’s like the George Harrison of the fab 4.
    Never forget
    Thanks to all who served.
    I’m Vietnamese and I have a great life cause of guys like Danny. Look ahead and one day an Afghan and Iraqi will say the same.

  31. Robert Says:

    I do not have words to express how I feel towards Danny, Ax and Mike… I think of the word heroism and I believe they all stood for what it means. To stand firmly, in the face of danger knowing it is not going to turn out well, takes me to a place I cannot describe. I believe in my heart Danny and Ax deserve the C.M.H. they truly represent the American combat soldier. God bless them and their families.

  32. Shayne Says:

    This is such a beautiful tribute. Thank you for generously sharing a little bit of who Danny was and is. I would want to see the video tribute as made by Agnieszka but I can’t see to view it. The video doesn’t exist. Is this available on youtube? 🙂

  33. Tax Says:

    Do you have a post like this for Winter pictures? We are taknig pictures in the fall but they are going to be used for Christmas pictures. I have a hunter green/dark gray outfit I was thinking of using for my son, so I was wondering if you know of any palettes that might go with that for wintery pictures?

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