Navy SEAL killed in free-fall parachute training accident in Arizona
A US Navy SEAL has died following a free-fall parachute training exercise accident in Arizona.
According to a statement by the Naval Special Warfare Command to Fox News, Chief Special Warfare Opera Michael Ernst was taken to Banner University Medical Center, Phoenix, where he was pronounced dead on Sunday, February 19, after a tragic training accident at Marana’s airfield.
The Navy is still investigating the cause of the accident and said that it would not be appropriate to comment further on the tragedy until a complete report has been completed.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Ernst family,” Rear Adm. Keith Davids, the leader of Naval Special Warfare Command, said.
Ernst was attached to a Naval Special Warfare East Coast-based unit during the time of the accident.
Ernst joined the Navy in August 2009 and would join the SEAL community three years later.
During his military tenure, Enrst was awarded a Silver Star — the third highest award for valor a military member can receive for gallantry during combat, a Defense Meritorious Service Medal, and three Combat Action Ribbons — having been in combat situations in three different theaters of war.
“Mike was an exceptional teammate. 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,” Adm. Keith Davids said.
Ernst leaves behind his wife and two children, ages 5 and 2.