SEAL Team 8 commander died Tuesday following training accident

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The Navy SEAL who died Tuesday after being injured in a fast-rope training event last week has been identified as the commanding officer of SEAL Team 8, Cmdr. Brian Bourgeois.

Naval Special Warfare Command has released few other details so far on what happened, but Bourgeois, 43, was injured during the training evolution Saturday in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

He was taken to Norfolk Sentara General Hospital following the accident and died there.

“An incident like this weighs heavily on us all,” Capt. Donald Wetherbee, commodore for Naval Special Warfare Group 2, said in a statement. “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.”

Wetherbee said that the command is providing support to Bourgeois’s family and fellow unit members.

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SEAL Team 8′s executive officer has temporarily assumed command of the Virginia-based unit, according to the command, which did not identify the officer, citing operational security.

While the details of the accident remain under investigation, the command said the findings will be made available “at the appropriate time.”

Brian’s wife and family were with him when he passed, said Rear Adm. H.W. Howard, the commanding officer of Naval Special Warfare Command, in a message to the community.

“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 five children, for life,” he wrote.

“Brian was one of our very best leaders, who possessed all the attributes to make our force effective,” Howard said in an official statement. “We will miss his charismatic leadership and faithful stewardship of our standard. His legacy carries on in teammates he served with, led and mentored.”

Bourgeois attended the U.S. Naval Academy, was commissioned in May 2001 and went on to serve in the naval special warfare community for more than two decades.

His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star with Combat “V” device and the combat action ribbon.

Navy records show he made commander in 2017 and joined SEAL Team 8 in November 2020.

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