VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – A service member assigned to SEAL Team 8 died following an incident during training.
Military officials tell WAVY that 43-year-old Cmdr. Brian Bourgeois died on Dec. 7 at Norfolk Sentara General Hospital after sustaining injuries during training on Saturday in Virginia Beach.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Bourgeois family – and we will ensure our community remains in support of and in relationship with Brian’s family and his children, for life,” said Rear Adm. H.W. Howard III, commander, Naval Special Warfare Command. “Brian was one of our very best leaders, who possessed all the attributes that make our force effective. We will miss his charismatic leadership and faithful stewardship of our standard. His legacy carries on in teammates he served with, led, and mentored.”
Officials are still working to investigate the incident, however, initial indications show that the tragedy occurred during a fast-rope training evolution.
The SEAL Team 8 executive officer has temporarily assumed command.
“We are working with SEAL Team 8 to provide every form of support we possibly can to Brian’s family and teammates,” said Capt. Donald G. Wetherbee, commodore, Naval Special Warfare Group 2. “An incident like this weighs heavily on us all. Brian was as tough as they come, an outstanding leader, and a committed father, husband and friend. This is a great loss to everyone who knew him. He will be greatly missed.”
Bourgeois received his commission from the United States Naval Academy in May 2001 and humbly served the Navy and Naval Special Warfare community for over 20 years.
Seventeen Navy SEALs have died in training incidents since 2001, reports Business Insider. Training, which the Navy says is “designed to push you to your physical and mental limits,” lasts at leasts two and a half years.
SEAL Team 8’s geographic focus is the Caribbean, Africa and the Mediterranean, according to Navy Times.