Navy SEAL officer killed in recreational skydiving accident
According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Navy SEAL Commanding Officer Seth A. Stone died in a recreational skydiving accident in Perris, Calif., on Saturday, September 30, 2017, when his parachute failed to open. The accident happened while Stone was off duty.
Stone, a native of Texas, graduated from Basic Underwater Demolition / SEAL (BUD / S) Class 241 on Nov. 15, 2002, in Coronado, Calif. He began his career in Naval Special Warfare (NSW) with the SEAL THREE team on the West Coast.
Since the crash happened while Stone was off duty, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is investigating the incident, which occurred after Stone jumped from a hot air balloon in the county. from Riverside. His parachute did not open properly and he perished on hitting the ground. We didn’t know why or how his parachute had malfunctioned. The FAA said it typically investigates whether parachutes are properly packed when investigating skydiving accidents.
According to the Union-Tribune, Commander Stone was recently posted to the United States Special Operations Command Pacific (SOCPAC) in Hawaii, a unit made up primarily of personnel from Naval Special Warfare Command (NSWC) in San Diego.
Stone was a decorated SEAL officer in combat, who won two Silver Stars, including one for his actions in 2006 in Ramadi, Iraq. During a firefight on September 29, 2006, Stone and the SEALs under his command were attacked with small arms and rockets. According to the quote from the Silver Star, Stone led a group of SEALs through the shooting at another group of injured SEALs, and then assisted in their evacuation.
During the same firefight, a SEAL serving under Stone’s command – SEAL Petty Officer Second Class Michael Mansoor – threw himself into an enemy grenade to save the lives of the men around him, and was killed in the process. Mansoor was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his action.
Commander Stone also received a Bronze Star with a “V” device for bravery and the Navy Medal of Honor. He received his commission from the US Naval Academy in 1999, then became a Surface Warfare Officer before being accepted into BUD / S and becoming a SEAL Officer.
Sadly, Stone is only the last Navy SEAL to be killed in a skydiving accident. The last SEAL killed in such an incident was Special Warfare Operator 1st Class (SO1) Remington J. Peters, a member of the Leap Frogs, who also died of a parachute malfunction on May 28, 2017. Leap Frogs identify themselves as the “United States Navy Parachute Team” and are typically made up of SEALs and other Navy Special Operations personnel.
A military time report of February 2017 pointed out that 11 special operations personnel had died in parachute training accidents between 2011 and 2016. Since 2004, in addition, 21 US SOF personnel have died in parachuting training accidents.
Image courtesy of MC3 Michelle L. Kapica / US Navy.
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