VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP/WAVY) — A Naval Special Warfare sailor died Monday from injuries received late last week during a training exercise at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story in Virginia, the U.S. Navy said Tuesday.
On Wednesday, the Navy identified the sailor as Electronics Technician 1st Class Ryan DeKorte, 35.
DeKorte was assigned to an East Coast-based Naval Special Warfare unit. He was from Lubbock, Texas, and joined the Navy in 2014. He served aboard the USS Jason Dunham before being assigned to Naval Special Warfare in 2020.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the DeKorte family. Ryan was an exceptional teammate, and we mourn his tragic loss. We will stand in support of Ryan’s family forever and will never forget our teammate’s leadership, service and competence,” Rear Adm. H.W. Howard III said, commander, Naval Special Warfare Command.
He continued, “Ryan was one of our premiere combat support technicians, who possessed all the attributes that make our force combat ready for highly complex and high-risk missions in the Nation’s defense. His humility, stewardship and commitment to Naval Special Warfare made an indelible mark on his teammates and our community.”
The Navy said DeKorte was injured after a helicopter landing incident on Thursday.
According to a Navy official, the helicopter experienced a hard landing near DeKorte, who was on the ground and not in the aircraft.
The sailor was taken to the hospital for treatment of injuries but died Monday afternoon. The sailor’s name was withheld until 24 hours after next-of-kin notification was complete in accordance with Navy policy.
The cause of the incident is under investigation.
Three people were initially taken to the hospital following the incident, however, the extent of their injuries was not immediately released.
WAVY flew above the scene, showing a black and red tarp covering the damage. Some pieces of debris were scattered on the pavement.
A Public Affairs Officer (PAO) used the term “hard landing” to describe the incident, generally translating to a pilot still having total or partial control of the aircraft, as opposed to a crash where it is an uncontrolled descent.
The status of all others involved is currently unknown.