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Prospective Navy SEAL Dies During Pool Exercise On First Week Of Training

May 11, 2016

Navy officials have confirmed that a prospective Navy SEAL died last week during an introductory training pool exercise in California last week.


Seaman James Derek Lovelace of Crestview, Florida, died on Friday during his first week of training after showing signs that he was having trouble swimming.

During the familiarization exercise, Lovelace was pulled from the water and taken to a civilian hospital, Naval Special Warfare Center spokesman Lt. Trevor Davids said on Tuesday.

In a statement, the Navy said, “He was aided to the edge of the pool by instructors where he then lost consciousness. Resuscitation efforts and first aid at the scene were unsuccessful.” During the exercise, Lovelace and Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training Class 319 had to tread water in camouflage uniforms and dive masks.

“We scale that student-instructor ratio based on training,” Davids said. “If we see someone having difficulty, we scale up the student-instructor ratio.”

CNN reported that Capt. Jay Hennessey, commanding officer of the Naval Special Warfare Center said, “though Derek was very new to our community, he selflessly answered his nation’s call to defend freedom and protect this country.”

Lovelace joined the Navy six months ago and graduated basic training on Jan. 28, 2016, in Great Lakes, Illinois.

An investigation by Naval Special Warfare Command is currently underway to determine the cause of his death.