Danny Dietz was born on January 26, 1980, in Aurora, Colorado. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on August 30, 1999, and completed basic training at NTC Great Lakes, Illinois, in November 1999. After attending Gunner's Mate "A" School at NAS Pensacola, Florida, Dietz attended Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, California, from January 2000 to January 2001, followed by basic airborne training at Fort Benning, Georgia, during February and March 2001. He next attended SEAL Qualification Training from March to June 2001, and then SEAL Delivery Vehicle Training at Naval Support Activity Panama City, Florida, from August to November 2001. Petty Officer Dietz served with SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team TWO at Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Virginia, from November 2001 until he was killed in action while deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom on June 28, 2005. He had served in Afghanistan since April 2005, and was participating in Operation Red Wings as part of a 4-man reconnaissance mission at the time of his death. Danny Dietz was buried at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver, Colorado.
His Navy Cross Citation reads:
For extraordinary heroism in actions against the enemy while serving in a four-man Special Reconnaissance element with SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team ONE, Naval Special Warfare Task unit, Afghanistan from 27 to 28 June 2005. Petty Officer Dietz demonstrated extraordinary heroism in the face of grave danger in the vicinity of Asadabad, Konar Province, Afghanistan. Operating in the middle of an enemy-controlled area, in extremely rugged terrain, his Special Reconnaissance element was tasked with locating a high-level Anti-Coalition Militia leader, in support of a follow-on direct action mission to disrupt enemy activity. On 28 June 2005, the element was spotted by Anti-Coalition Militia sympathizers, who immediately revealed their position to the militia fighters. As a result, the element directly encountered the enemy. Demonstrating exceptional resolve and fully understanding the gravity of the situation and his responsibility to his teammates, Petty Officer Dietz fought valiantly against the numerically superior and positionally advantaged enemy force. Remaining behind in a hailstorm of enemy fire, Petty Officer Dietz was wounded by enemy fire. Despite his injuries, he bravely fought on, valiantly defending his teammates and himself in a harrowing gunfight, until he was mortally wounded. By his undaunted courage in the face of heavy enemy fire, and absolute devotion to his teammates, Petty Officer Dietz will long be remembered for the role he played in the Global War on Terrorism. Petty Officer Dietz' courageous and selfless heroism, exceptional professional skill, and utmost devotion to duty reflected great credit upon him and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for the cause of freedom.