SEAL 8 team commander died Tuesday following training accident

The Navy SEAL, who died Tuesday after being injured during fast rope training last week, has been identified as the SEAL 8 team commander, Cmdr. Brian Bourgeois.

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

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

“An incident like this takes a heavy toll on all of us,” Captain Donald Wetherbee, Commodore of Naval Special Warfare Group 2, said in a statement. “Brian was as tough as they come, an exceptional leader and a committed father, husband and friend. It is a great loss to all who knew him. He will be sorely missed.

Wetherbee said the command was providing support to Bourgeois’s family and other members of the unit.

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

While details of the crash are still under investigation, the command said the findings would be made available “at the appropriate time.”

Brian’s wife and family were with him when he died, Rear Admiral HW Howard, commander of Naval Special Warfare Command, said in a message to the community.

“Our hearts and prayers are with the Bourgeois family – and we will ensure that our community remains in support and connection with Brian’s family and his five children, for life,” he wrote.

“Brian was one of our best leaders who had all the attributes to make our force effective,” Howard said in an official statement. “His charismatic leadership and steadfast management of our standard will be missed. His legacy continues with the teammates with whom he has served, led and mentored. “

Bourgeois attended the United States Naval Academy, was commissioned in May 2001, and continued to serve in the special warfare naval community for more than two decades.

His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star with “V” Combat Device and the Combat Action Ribbon.

Navy records show he became commander in 2017 and joined the SEAL 8 team in November 2020.

Geoff is a senior Navy reporter for the Military Times. He has covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was recently a reporter for the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes all kinds of advice at geoffz@militarytimes.com.

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