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The U.S. Navy has confirmed the tragic loss of two SEAL operators, identified as Navy Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Christopher Chambers, 37, and Navy Special Warfare Operator 2nd Class Nathan Gage Ingram, 27, during a mission on January 11. These operators went missing while attempting to board a ship carrying Iranian weapons to Houthi rebels near Somalia.
Despite an extensive search operation, described by Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh as an “expansive search operation” using resources from the U.S., Japan, and Spain over “more than 21,000 square miles,” the sailors were not found.
Chambers and Ingram were part of a SEAL team operating from the USS Lewis B. Puller, as stated in a U.S. Central Command release, which mentioned they were “supported by helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles.” The circumstances of their disappearance involved one SEAL entering the heavy seas, followed by his teammate, as reported by The Associated Press. However, the Navy’s statement did not specify which of the two SEALs entered the water first.
The operation led to the seizure of a boat carrying “propulsion, guidance and warheads for Houthi medium-range ballistic missiles and anti-ship cruise missiles, as well as air defense-associated components,” according to Central Command.
Chambers, who enlisted in 2012, had been awarded various honors, including the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Combat “C.” Ingram, who enlisted in 2019, had received the Global War on Terror service medals and a Good Conduct medal.
Capt. Blake Chaney, commander of Naval Special Warfare Group 1, in the Navy’s statement, honored the two men: “Chris and Gage selflessly served their country with unwavering professionalism and exceptional capabilities.” He acknowledged the profound impact of this loss on the Navy Special Warfare community, their families, and the nation. Singh indicated that while there will be no pause in operations, “there’s certainly going to be an investigation into what exactly happened.”