VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — The 11th annual "Extortion 17 Ride" is coming up next weekend.
Motorcyclists will honor and remember the sacrifice of those who lost their lives in combat in Afghanistan.
It was August 6, 2011. An Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter got shot down in the Tangi Valley, Afghanistan. Thirty U.S. troops and a military K-9 dog got killed. It goes down as the worst single loss of life for US Naval Special warfare in history.
Of the 30 Americans, 17 were Navy SEALs, including 15 men from Gold Squadron of the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, popularly called SEAL Team 6.
They're gone. But not forgotten.
At Lendy's Cafe on General Booth Boulevard, motorcyclists will gather this August 6 at 10 a.m., to honor and remember the fallen with the "Extortion 17 Ride"--named after the call sign of the doomed helo.
"Never forget, it's all about the brotherhood, remembering our heroes. That's the main reason. This a ride to remember," said Lendy's owner Kent Von Fetch, Jr.
"I mean, our customer base is 90% military, 90% first responders," he continued. "All those people come in here all the time. Dam Neck base is five minutes that way. Oceana base is five minutes that way. I'm former law enforcement, so the police officers come in here. And the Extortion Ride fell into our laps several years back, and we've just tried to keep that going and keep on remembering."
There's no registration fee or donation required to participate in the ride, but participants and others are encouraged to make a donation.
Proceeds will go to the "All In All The Time" Foundation in support of the Hershel "Woody" Williams Gold Star Memorial being placed in Chesapeake.
On the same day, August 6, the nonprofit organization "31Heroes" will hold its annual "Workout To Remember," which also honors those fallen service members of Extortion 17.
It's taking place at New Realm Brewing, starting at 9 a.m.
The mission of 31Heroes is to raise money and awareness through social and athletic events to support the families of Extortion 17 and honor their legacy by funding the treatment of traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Since its inception, 31Heroes has raised more than $2 million to benefit the families of the service members killed in the Extortion 17 incident.