SEAL Team 8 CO dies in east coast training incident

Cmdt. Brian Bourgeois died Dec. 7 from injuries sustained in a training incident Dec. 4. U.S. Navy Photo

The commanding officer of SEAL Team 8 died Tuesday from injuries sustained during a training incident, the Navy announced today.

Cmdt. Brian Bourgeois, 43, died at Norfolk Sentara General Hospital in Norfolk, Va., according to a statement from Naval Special Warfare Command after injuries sustained in a Dec. 4 training accident near Virginia Beach.

Details of the training accident are under investigation, although initial findings suggest Bourgeois was injured during a fast rope training course, the statement said.

The SEAL Team 8 executive officer temporarily took command, the Navy said.

Naval Special Warfare Group 2 is working with the SEAL Team to support its members and Bourgeois’ family, Capt. Donald Wetherbee said in the statement.

“An incident like this weighs heavily on all of us,” Wetherbee said in the statement. “Brian was as tough as can be, an outstanding leader and a committed father, husband and friend. This is a great loss to all who knew him. He will be sorely missed.”

Naval Special Warfare Command will maintain this support and relationship with Bourgeois’ family for life, Commander Rear Admiral HW Howard said in the statement.

“Brian was one of our finest leaders, possessing all of the attributes that make our force effective,” Howard said in the statement. “His charismatic leadership and faithful stewardship of our standard will be missed. His legacy lives on in the teammates with whom he served, led and mentored.

Bourgeois graduated and commissioned from the Naval Academy in May 2001, according to his Navy biography. He served aboard the USS Black Falcon (MHC-58) after spending a year teaching at the Naval Academy Preparatory School and Surface Warfare Officer School.

He returned to Surface Warfare Officer School after his two-year tour, then entered Naval Special Warfare Basic Training in August 2004.

He joined his first special warfare unit in February 2006. He joined his last special warfare unit on November 9, 2020. Bourgeois was promoted to commander on September 1, 2017.

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