Navy SEAL dies in parachute training accident in Arizona
Stars and Stripes February 23, 2023
A Navy SEAL was killed Sunday in a military free-fall parachute mishap in Arizona, according to multiple media outlets.
Chief Special Warfare Operator Michael Ernst died while training in Marana, Ariz., according to a Wednesday report by the Navy Times, which cited a statement from Naval Special Warfare Command.
The San Diego-based command did not respond Wednesday to phone and email messages from Stars and Stripes.
The Massachusetts native, assigned to an East Coast naval special warfare unit, was pronounced dead at Banner University Medical Center in Phoenix, according to the Navy statement, which was also cited by local news station KOLD and USNI News.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Ernst family,” Rear Adm. Keith Davids, the Naval Special Warfare commander, said in the statement.
“Mike was an exceptional teammate,” Davids said. “He was a dedicated NSW Sailor who applied his talents and skills towards some of our nation’s hardest challenges, while selflessly mentoring his teammates. Mike and his family will always be part of the NSW family, and he will never be forgotten.”
Ernst enlisted in August 2009. His awards and decorations include a Silver Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal and three Combat Action Ribbons, according to Navy Times.
The Navy declined to provide additional comment pending a complete investigation, the reports said.
There have been several fatal parachute accidents involving Navy SEALs in the past decade.
In May 2017, for example, Petty Officer 1st Class Remington Peters, 27, died after his parachute malfunctioned while performing with the Navy’s Leap Frogs parachute team over Liberty State Park, N.J.