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Special Forces soldier drowns during combat dive training in Florida

students participate in pool training during the Combat Dive Qualification Course at the Special Forces Underwater Operations School in Key West, Fla. (Army photo by Maj. Dave Butler/Released)
July 29, 2021

A soldier assigned to the 10th Special Forces Group drowned on Tuesday during diving training at Naval Air Station Key West in Florida.

The Army Combat Readiness Center (CRC) and the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School (SWCS) disclosed the death and identified the unnamed soldier as a staff sergeant with the 10th Special Forces Group a statement reported by Army Times on Wednesday.

“The Staff Sergeant was a student in the Special Forces Combat Diver Qualification Course, and was participating in a conditioning exercise in the pool, which stresses the students’ cardio, respiratory and muscular endurance,” the statement said. “During the training event, the Soldier submerged and did not resurface. The cadre immediately entered the pool and found him unresponsive. The Dive Medical Officer attempted to resuscitate him, and he was transported to the Lower Keys Medical Center Emergency Room where he was pronounced dead following full medical intervention.”

The Army CRC has sent a safety investigation team to lead the investigation of the drowning death, CRC spokesman Michael Negard said. Army Times reported Negard specified that the death was a drowning.

The 10th Special Forces Group did not immediately respond to an American Military News request for comment.

The 10th Special Forces Group is based out of Fort Carson, Colorado.

The military has seen several other deaths stemming from water training events in recent months.

Military.com reported a 2nd Infantry Division soldier died in June, 10 days after what officials described as a medical incident during combat water survival training in South Korea.

A sailor died in April after a high-risk pool training event at the Aviation Rescue Swimmer School in Pensacola, Florida.

Another soldier died in March of this year during a still unspecified training event at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, while participating in the “Swamp Phase” of the Army’s Ranger school. The “Swamp Phase” of Ranger School includes in training coastal swamp environments, including waterborne and small boat operations and instruction on how to navigate water obstacles and maneuver through swamps.

Air Force Times reported an airman assigned to the Special Tactics Training Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Florida drowned during a 2,000-yard training swim in March of 2020. An investigative team found that, in that incident, the typical buddy system was not followed.