The Afghan curse strikes the Navy Seals again. The elite corps, which killed Osama bin Laden after a decade-long hunt, has lost one more man in Afghanistan. The incident occurred in mysterious circumstances last December 21, but it has gone almost unnoticed. The 42-year-old commander of the Team Four, Job W. Price, was found dead in a pool of blood. His body was lying in a sleeping bag on his bed. Close to the man was found his gun, a Sig Sauer.
He is the last Seals who has lost his life in Afghanistan, preceded by a long trail of death since May 1, 2011, when a Team Six killed the head of Al Qaeda in Abbottabad. A few months after the terrorist leader had been killed, a team of American soldiers – some of whom belonged to the commandos that had stormed the stronghold where bin Laden had been hiding – died after the transport helicopter on which he was moving crashed in the mountains due to a failure.
Commander Price had recently completed the mission to train Afghan troops and hand over some outposts to the Afghan army after freeing the area from the presence of the Taliban. A hard task that had costed the lives of four members of the Team of the Seals. The commander and his team had to go back home to Virginia for Christmas. That morning there had to be a meeting with an Afghan general but since the latter was not coming, the men went to his room at the Urzugan base. There they found Price dead. The photo of the nine-year-old daughter was no longer on the desk, but near the cot and in Price’s trouser pocket there was a report on the death of an Afghan child which had occurred a few earlier, just outside the base because of an explosion.
“I cannot imagine my son acting this way: no note, no e-mail, phone messages, there was no reason to think about suicide,” said his father, Harry Price, during an interview at his home in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. The NCIS, the Naval Investigative Service opened an investigation. Other Seals of Team4 argue, however, that it has been a long time since the mood of their commander had changed. After their colleagues had died, Price became more gloomy, closed. He was experiencing that situation as a defeat. The Navy seals are a body of super soldiers, but after 11 years of war in high-risk missions, even the hardest men can have a breakdown.
Job W. Price had been on eleven missions in Afghanistan. A typical American young man, football, college, followed first by the Air Force Academy and then by the Navy and the Seals. Inside the family, he was an affable and joking husband and father, but at work he was extremely focused. Yet, something over there in Afghanistan has worn his strength out. As it happens to many other people. The Pentagon knows it well, considering that it declared last year that there had been more suicides than victims at the hands of the Taliban.