Navy IDs SEAL killed in Ariz. parachuting accident
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — The U.S. military on Saturday identified a member of the Navy’s SEAL Team 6 who died during parachute training in southern Arizona.
Navy officials said Special Warfare Operator Chief Brett D. Shadle of Elizabethville, Pa., died when he and another SEAL collided in midair Thursday. Shadle was taken to University of Arizona Medical Center in Tucson, where he was pronounced dead.
Officials described Shadle as a highly decorated SEAL who had earned multiple Bronze Star Medals with Valor and several service ribbons. While details about his deployments were secret, officials confirmed the 31-year-old Shadle had served in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Shadle enlisted in the Navy in July 2000. The following year he completed his SEAL training and was assigned to his first unit in early 2002.
Shadle and a fellow SEAL were practicing “routine military free-fall training” when the accident occurred Thursday afternoon, said U.S. Special Operations Command spokesman Kenneth McGraw. The SEALs collided in midair and landed in separate areas.
The command has a parachute testing and training facility at the Pinal Airpark in Marana, McGraw said. Training programs are operated there year-round.
The area is in rugged desert terrain northeast of Tucson.
The other SEAL — an unidentified E-6 petty officer first class — remained in stable condition Saturday at the Tucson hospital.
Military officials said the accident was under investigation.
The Navy’s SEAL Team 6 gained international attention when it was revealed that members of the top secret unit had carried out a raid in Pakistan in 2011 in which Osama bin Laden was killed.
Team 6 was hit hard later that same year when 22 SEALs from the special unit were killed when the helicopter they were riding in was apparently hit by an insurgent’s rocket-propelled grenade. None of those killed on the helicopter was part of the bin Laden raid. Their deaths marked the nation’s single deadliest day of the decade-long war in Afghanistan.
Associated Press writer Susan Montoya Bryan in Albuquerque, N.M., contributed to this report.