Navy Identifies SEALs Lost During Search And Seizure Mission Near Somalia

The U.S. Navy on Monday identified the two SEALs lost during a mission to seize and destroy smuggled Iranian weapons on Jan. 11.

Navy Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Christopher J. Chambers, 37, and Navy Special Warfare Operator 2nd Class Nathan Gage Ingram, 27, were declared deceased on Sunday after ten days of exhaustive search and rescue efforts, Naval Special Warfare said in a statement. They had gone missing during a night-time raid on an Iranian vessel illegally ferrying missile components to the Houthi rebels in Yemen for the first time.

“We extend our condolences to Chris and Gage’s family, friends, and teammates during this incredibly challenging time. They were exceptional warriors and cherished teammates and dear friends to many within the Naval Special Warfare community,” Capt. Blake L. Chaney, commander, Naval Special Warfare Group 1, said in the statement.

Chambers graduated from SEAL qualification training in Coronado, California, in 2014 after enlisting in 2012, according to the Navy. Ingram had enlisted in 2019 and became a SEAL in 2021.

“Chris and Gage selflessly served their country with unwavering professionalism and exceptional capabilities,” Chaney said in the statement. “This loss is devastating for NSW, our families, the special operations community, and across the nation.”

The incident involving the loss of the SEALs is still under investigation, the Navy said. The mission concluded successfully after the remaining operators in the Gulf of Aden seized Iranian weapons components headed toward the Houthi rebels in Yemen, the military’s Mideast command said.

SEALs operating from the USS Lewis B. Puller carried out the “complex boarding” mission, confiscating components for medium-range ballistic missiles, anti-ship cruise missiles and air defense systems, according to U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM). It was the first time the Navy has taken possession of Iranian-supplied advanced weaponry headed to the Houthi rebels since their assault on international shipping and U.S. Navy assets in the Red Sea began on Nov. 19.

Iranian-supplied weapons fuel the Houthi terrorist’s sustained attacks on international shipping and U.S. Navy vessels in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.

Chambers and Ingram apparently attempted to board the boat from a small special operations combat craft crewed by a special warfare team at around 8 p.m. on Jan. 11, The Associated Press reported, citing a U.S. official. A swell caught one of the SEALs and pulled him into the water, while the second went in after him.

The military is still searching for the remains of the two SEALs, CENTCOM said on Sunday after declaring them deceased.

“The search and rescue operation for the two Navy SEALs reported missing during the boarding of an illicit dhow carrying Iranian advanced conventional weapons Jan. 11 concluded and we are now conducting recovery operations.”

Japan and Spain assisted the U.S. with airborne and naval platform in an “expansive” search over more than 21,000 square miles to locate the SEALs, according to CENTCOM.

By Melinda Davies
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