Navy SEAL From MD Dies Trying To Save Partner During Raid: Officials
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MARYLAND — A Maryland Navy SEAL was declared dead Sunday, 10 days after he went missing at sea trying to rescue a team member who fell into the Arabian Sea off the coast of Somalia, authorities said Monday.
Search and rescue efforts to locate Navy Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Christopher J. Chambers of Maryland and Navy Special Warfare Operator 2nd Class Nathan Gage Ingram of Texas ended Jan. 21.
The men were members of the U.S. Navy’s SEAL Team 3, which was boarding an unflagged ship that was carrying illicit Iranian-made weapons to Yemen, the Associated Press reported. Chambers and Ingram, both assigned to a Naval Special Warfare unit, were lost at sea during a night-time seizure of a vessel illegally moving advanced lethal aid from Iran to resupply Houthi forces in Yemen.
“Maryland and the nation have lost a hero. Special Operator First Class Christopher J. Chambers wasn't just a distinguished Navy SEAL, he was a true patriot in every beautiful sense of the word," Gov. Wes Moore said in a statement Monday night. "He put his life on the line for our safety and security, and we will never forget his ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.
"My heart breaks for the friends and family of Special Operator Chambers, as well as all who served alongside him," Moore said. "We must keep them in our thoughts and our prayers."
The governor confirmed Chambers was from Maryland, but did not specify his hometown; Navy officials have not released that information.
The AP reported as Ingram climbed the ladder onto the boat in high seas, he slipped, falling into a gap between the vessel and the SEALs’ combatant craft. As he went under, Chambers jumped into the water to try to save him, according to U.S. officials familiar with the incident.
Officials told the AP Chambers acted on an instinct honed by years of training to aid a teammate. Weighed down by their body armor, weapons and heavy equipment, the two SEALs sank into the water and died.
President Joe Biden said in a statement that, “Jill and I are mourning the tragic deaths of two of America’s finest — Navy SEALs who were lost at sea while executing a mission off the coast of East Africa last week. … These SEALs represented the very best of our country, pledging their lives to protect their fellow Americans. Our hearts go out to the family members, loved ones, friends, and shipmates who are grieving for these two brave Americans. Our entire country stands with you. We will never fail to honor their service, their legacy, and their sacrifice."
Chambers and Ingram were exceptional warriors, cherished teammates, and dear friends to many within the Naval Special Warfare community, said Capt. Blake L. Chaney, commander, Naval Special Warfare Group 1, in a statement.
“Chris and Gage selflessly served their country with unwavering professionalism and exceptional capabilities," Chaney said. "This loss is devastating for NSW, our families, the special operations community, and across the nation."
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