Navy identifies two SEALS lost at sea off Yemen during Iranian weapons seizure

(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. Navy has identified the two SEALs lost in the waters of the Gulf of Aden during a risky nighttime mission to board a boat carrying Iranian-made missile parts to Yemen.

On Sunday, U.S. Central Command announced the end of an exhaustive 10-day search and rescue operation involving multiple aircraft and surface ships to look for the two missing SEALs over a 21,000 square mile area.

The military is now conducting recovery operations for the two service members, CENTCOM said Sunday night.

The two SEALS were aboard a small Navy craft that was approaching the smuggling boat on the night of Jan. 11, when one of the SEALs fell into rough waters and, following protocol, a second SEAL dove into the water in a rescue attempt, according to officials.

The incident remains under investigation the Navy said Monday.

The two missing SEALs were identified as Navy Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Christopher J. Chambers and Navy Special Warfare Operator 2nd Class Nathan Gage Ingram, both of whom were serving with a U.S. West Coast-based SEAL team.

Chambers, aged 37, enlisted in the Navy on May 17, 2012, and graduated from boot camp at Recruit Training Command Great Lakes, Ill., in July 2012. He had served with west coast-based SEAL units since graduating from SEAL qualification training in Coronado, Calif., in 2014.

Chambers’ awards and decorations include the Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Combat “C,” three Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medals, Army Achievement Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, and other personal and unit awards.

Ingram, aged 27, enlisted in the Navy on Sept. 25, 2019, and graduated from boot camp at Recruit Training Command Great Lakes, Ill., in November 2019. Ingram and had also served with West Coast-based SEAL units since graduating from SEAL qualification training in Coronado, Calif., in 2021. His awards and decorations include various personal and unit awards.

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

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

On Monday, President Biden also issued a statement praising the two Navy sailors.

“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,” said the statement.

Over ten days, the United States military conducted an extensive search and rescue mission. Recovery efforts are still continuing as we grieve this profound loss for our country.,” said Biden.

“These SEALs represented the very best of our country, pledging their lives to protect their fellow Americans,” he added. “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.”

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