Military Wiki
Neil C. Roberts
Buried at York, Pennsylvania
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1992-2002
Rank PO1 NOGC.png Petty Officer First Class
Unit United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group
Battles/wars Enduring Freedom
Operation Anaconda
Battle of Takur Ghar
Awards Bronze Star
Joint Service Achievement Medal
Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal
Army Achievement Medal
Joint Meritorious Unit Award
Meritorious Unit Commendation
Navy "E" Ribbon
Good Conduct Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Southwest Asia Service Medal
Armed Forces Service Medal
Sea Service Deployment Ribbon
NATO Medal

Neil Roberts (August 16, 1969 – March 4, 2002) was a US Navy SEAL, the first SEAL to die in combat in Afghanistan.


Roberts joined the United States Navy after graduation from high school, where he excelled in football and wrestling. He became a Navy SEAL in 1992. In March 2002, Roberts participated in the opening phase of Operation Anaconda, the U.S.-led offensive in the high mountains of eastern Afghanistan to surround and destroy a large group of al-Qaeda fighters.[1]

Roberts was poised to exit the ramp of a MH-47 Chinook helicopter on a nighttime insertion, when the aircraft was hit by rocket-propelled grenades and machine-gun fire, cutting hydraulic and oil lines.[2] He slipped on some oil as the helicopter took off and was thrown from the helicopter, dropping about 5 to 10 feet to the snowy ground below.Roberts was armed with a M249 SAW, pistol and several hand grenades. Roberts survived at least 30 minutes before he was shot and killed at close range. Roberts was the first Navy SEAL to die in Afghanistan, and the first to die in combat since 1989.[1]

Rescue forces, unaware of his fate, retook the ridge at a cost of several American lives. The U.S. military now calls that part of Takur Ghar Mountain, “Roberts Ridge”.[1][2] In 2004, Chris Reeve Knives dedicated a knife model to his memory known as the Neil Roberts Warrior.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 " Memorial". Retrieved 2008-03-05. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Schmitt, Eric (May 25, 2002). "U.S. Review of a Deadly Afghanistan Battle Finds Lapses". The New York Times. 


  • MacPherson, Malcolm (2006). Roberts Ridge: A Story of Courage and Sacrifice on Takur Ghar Mountain, Afghanistan. Dell. ISBN 0553586807. 
  • Naylor, Sean (March 2006). Not a Good Day to Die: The Untold Story of Operation Anaconda. Berkley Trade. ISBN 0425207870. 

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