How 2 Navy SEALs Were Lost in the Arabian Sea

Christopher Chambers, 37, and Nathan Gage Ingram, 27, died during a raid
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 23, 2024 10:00 AM CST
Navy SEALs Who Died in Arabian Sea Are Identified
This undated photograph shows what's described as the vessel that carried Iranian-made missile components bound for Yemen's Houthi in the Arabian Sea.   (US Central Command via AP)

Under the darkness of night, in the roiling high seas off the coast of Somalia, members of the US Navy's SEAL Team 3 began to climb aboard an unflagged ship that was carrying illicit Iranian-made weapons to Yemen. As Navy Special Warfare Operator 2nd Class Nathan Gage Ingram began climbing the ladder onto the boat, he slipped, falling into a gap the waves had created between the vessel and the SEALs' combatant craft. As he went under, Navy Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Christopher J. Chambers jumped into the gap to try to save him, according to US officials familiar with the incident. It was an instinctive act, honed by years of training—one teammate going to another's aid. But weighed down by their body armor, weapons, and heavy gear, the two SEALs plunged into the depths of the Arabian Sea and died, said anonymous officials of the Jan. 11 raid, per the AP.

The 11-day search and rescue mission to locate the two SEALs was called off on Sunday and became a recovery effort. And on Monday, the Navy released their names, after their families were notified. "Chris and Gage selflessly served their country with unwavering professionalism and exceptional capabilities," said Capt. Blake Chaney, commander of Naval Special Warfare Group 1, which oversees SEAL Team 3. "This loss is devastating for NSW, our families, the special operations community, and across the nation." The US Navy's 5th Fleet is conducting an investigation into the incident. That probe is expected to examine whether the SEALs were properly equipped and trained for the mission, whether procedures were followed, and any decisions regarding the timing and approval of the raid, including the weather and state of the seas.

According to officials, the commandos launched from the USS Lewis B. Puller, a mobile sea base, and they were backed up by drones and helicopters. They loaded onto small special-operations combat craft driven by naval special warfare crew to get to the boat. It was the type of boarding for which SEALs train routinely, and illegal weapons moving from Iran to Yemen-based Houthis have been a persistent concern, particularly as the rebels continue to target commercial vessels in the region. Chambers, 37, of Maryland, enlisted in the Navy in 2012 and graduated from SEAL training in 2014. His awards include the Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Combat "C" and three Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medals. Ingram, 27, of Texas, enlisted in 2019 and graduated from SEAL training in 2021. More here.

(More Navy SEALs stories.)

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