LITTLETON, CO, US
PO2, SDV TEAM TWO, VIRGINIA BEACH, VA
06/26/2005, ASADABAD, AFGHANISTAN
Danny Dietz Jr. was born on January 26, 1980 in Aurora, Colorado the son of Danny Phillip Sr and Cindy Dietz and brother to Tiffany Bitz and Eric Dietz. He was a 1999 graduate of Heritage High School (Littleton, Colorado). He earned his black belt in Taekwondo from the Korean Academy of Taekwondo.
He enlisted in the Navy in 1999, earned his SEAL trident in 2001 and was subsequently assigned to SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team Two in Virginia Beach, VA. There he met and married his wife Maria L. Dietz in March 2003.
In April 2005, Dietz deployed with his Special Reconnaissance element to Afghanistan to support Naval Special Warfare Squadron TEN and the prosecution of the Global War on Terrorism. A larger than life-size bronze memorial of Danny was created by sculptor Robert Henderson of Canon City, Co. The South Wing of the Pacific Beacon Apartments at Naval Station San Diego is named Dietz Hall as well.
On June 28, 2005, SEAL Team 10 was assigned to kill or capture a high ranking Taliban leader in the Hindu-Kush mountains. The SEAL team was made up of Michael P. Murphy, Marcus Luttrell, Danny Dietz and Matthew Axelson. Luttrell and Axelson were the team’s snipers while Dietz and Murphy were the spotters.
“They 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,” the Navy release said. The SEALs radioed for help, and a responding Chinook helicopter was shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade, killing eight more SEALs and eight Army NightStalkers. It was the worst single combat loss for the SEALs in SEAL history.
Dietz’s wife, Maria L. Dietz, said in a statement that he “was not just my husband, but he was my other half, my friend, my role model and my hero.”
Recalling when her husband deployed in April, she wrote, “The same day he left for Afghanistan, as tears rolled down my cheeks, he told me with sparkles in his eyes, ‘All the training I have (undergone) for years is going to pay off with this trip, and I am going to do something special for this country and for my team.”’
Heritage teachers remembered Dietz visiting in full uniform after becoming a SEAL, said Diane Leiker, a school spokeswoman. He played football his senior year and spent time lifting weights and swimming because he realized strength and swimming would be important in realizing his goal of joining the Navy and becoming a SEAL, she said.
Outside Dietz’s parents’ home in Littleton — where a yellow ribbon was wrapped around a tree — neighbors signed a card of condolence. “God bless you and help you in this difficult time,” one person wrote on the white card. “We are sorry. Words can’t express,” read another.