Gold Star Parents Press for the Truth About Their Son as New Film, ‘Fallen Angel Call Sign: Extortion 17,’ Honors the Lives Lost

 Shocking New Documentary Is Available on SalemNOW

August 16, 2021

ATLANTA — It’s a phone call no parent ever wants to get. However, the unthinkable happened to Bill and Karen Vaughn ten years ago; they got a call that their beloved son Aaron had died overseas. Over a decade later, Billy and Karen still mourn the death of their hero son. They still want answers to their desperate, anguished questions about what really happened.

Ten years ago, 17 U.S Navy SEALs, most from the storied SEAL Team Six—along with five Navy support personnel, three Air Force Pararescue Operators, and the five-man U.S. Army flight crew—set off to aid an Army Ranger platoon in reported pursuit of a high-value target. That terrible day—Aug. 6, 2011—30 American heroes, including Navy SEAL Aaron Vaughn, made the ultimate sacrifice when their U.S. Army helicopter exploded over the Tangi River Valley in Afghanistan. All on board were killed. But why has the mission and its awful aftermath been so masked in mystery?

Now comes “Fallen Angel Call Sign: Extortion 17,” a stunning new documentary that reveals what actually happened in the greatest single-incident loss of life in the history of the U.S. war in Afghanistan, the Navy SEALs, and U.S. Special Operations. “Fallen Angel” debuted on SalemNOW, Salem Media’s streaming platform, after its release earlier this month by RPM Films and Triple Horse Studios. The film is available for rental or purchase atthis link.

As Billy Vaughn, father of Aaron Vaughn, said during a recent “Fox & Friends” appearance, “People are going to learn that there was definitely a cover-up. We don’t know why, but senior military leadership and the Pentagon have lied about some of the things that happened. They’ve particularly lied about the black box. There is so much evidence in this documentary about the black box. There’ll be other evidence coming out.” He also said poignantly that his fallen son was “a believer in God, family, and country.”

For years, Billy and Karen Vaughn—and many others—have wondered: Why was the black box missing from the crash site after a Taliban-controlled rocket shot the U.S. Army helicopter out of the sky? Why did it take 17 minutes to fly a 10-minute mission? Why was the fire control officer of the AC-130 Gunship flying above denied permission to engage the enemy? Now, as military personnel finally come forward, so do revealing answers.

Billy Vaughn is the Gold Star father of Special Operations Chief (SEAL) Aaron Carson Vaughn (DEVGRU), one of America’s most elite warriors—one of the 300. He was engaged kinetically in the Global War on Terror and his heart beat passionately for the republic he loved. On Aug. 6, 2011, he, along with 29 other fearless American warriors, stepped into a CH-47D Chinook chopper in the black of night and headed to a mission from which they would never return.

As Billy Vaughn and his wife, Karen, began searching for answers, their eyes were opened to vile atrocities being played out on America’s military. They came face-to-face with their worst nightmare: American heroes shouldn’t have died that night. The downing of Extortion 17 was at best unnecessary and at worst a negligent, reckless loss of life. Political games, criminal Rules of Engagement, and Washington’s wanton lack of regard for the battles our fearless warriors face on a nightly basis finally culminated in the greatest one-day loss of life in the history of Naval Special Warfare. Though Billy Vaughn cannot be engaged in this war kinetically as his son was, he feels the urgent need to be engaged culturally.

Karen Vaughn, the Gold Star mother of Aaron Vaughn, has been outspoken on behalf of her son. The day her son’s life ended on Aug. 6, 2011, hers began again. She is a powerful spokesperson for not only our defenders still on foreign soil as they attempt to secure peace around the globe, but also as an advocate for a better, stronger, more resilient America. Karen Vaughn has gone through the halls of Congress, appeared in national press conferences, and been featured on multiple television sets and dozens of radio programs. She has also taken to large stages across the country as a keynote speaker and was a guest speaker position on the opening night of the 2016 Republican National Convention. Billy and Karen Vaughn have been married for nearly 37 years and believe that their greatest accomplishment on this earth was raising their three children: Aaron, Tara, and Ana.

Don Brown is author of “Call Sign Extortion 17: The Shoot-Down of SEAL Team Six,” the 2015 nonfiction military exposé and national best-seller on which this project is based. A former U.S. Navy JAG officer and the author of 15 books on the U.S. military, Brown is also an attorney, perhaps best known for representing Lt. Clint Lorance, the U.S. Army paratrooper sentenced to 20 years imprisonment by the Obama administration stemming from a firefight on an Afghanistan battlefield. President Donald J. Trump pardoned Lt. Lorance on Nov. 15, 2019; Brown’s book, “Travesty of Justice,” tells that story. Brown has been a featured speaker at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and the Richard Nixon Presidential Library, and has appeared nationally on Fox News, One America News, “The Larry Elder Show,” “The David Webb Show,” “On Point with Tomi Lahren,” and many other media outlets. He has also written numerous op-eds for various national media outlets, including The New York Post, The Washington Times, Fox News, The American Thinker, and The Western Journal.

For more information about the new film “Fallen Angel,” produced by RPM Films and Triple Horse Studios and currently streaming on SalemNOW, visit its website at


To interview Billy Vaughn, Karen Vaughn, or Don Brown, contact Hamilton Strategies,, Jeff Tolson, 610.584.1096, ext. 108, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.