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Naval Special Warfare sailor killed, 4 more injured in CA crash

Police car lights (Viorel Margineanu/Dreamstime/TNS)
June 06, 2022

A U.S. Naval Special Warfare sailor was killed on Friday and four other sailors were injured when the van they were traveling in for a training exercise crashed.

The U.S. Navy identified the deceased sailor as 29-year-old Electronics Technician 2nd Class John Deltoro. He and four other sailors were returning from training at Camp Billy Machen in Niland, Calif. when the van they were in crashed.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported the van was traveling along Interstate 8 but left the freeway, ran down an embankment, and struck a boulder.

The sailors injured in the accident included a female and three males. The Navy has withheld the names of the injured, in accordance with its policies for such accidents.

The Navy said the four injured sailors were transported for care to regional hospitals. As of Saturday, two of the sailors were in critical condition, while the other two were in stable condition.

The U.S. Navy and the California Highway Patrol are both investigating the cause of the incident.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Deltoro family and our injured teammates,” Rear Adm. H.W. Howard III, the commander of Naval Special Warfare Command, said. “John was one of our best combat support technicians, enabling our force to conduct highly complex and high-risk missions in the Nation’s defense.”

Capt. David Abernathy, the commander of Naval Special Warfare Group 1, said, “John was an exceptional teammate, and we mourn his tragic loss. We will remain in support of John’s family and will never forget his dedication to selfless service.”

Deltoro was a native of Atlanta, Georgia and joined the Navy in 2012.

Naval Special Warfare Group 1 (NSGW-1) is the west coast special warfare group comprised of SEAL Teams 1, 3, 5, and 7. NSGW-1 is based out of Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, in San Diego, Calif.

The deadly crash comes about a month after another Naval Special Warfare support sailor was injured during a helicopter landing mishap. 35-year-old Electronics Technician 1st Class Ryan DeKorte, who was assigned to an east coast-based Naval Special Warfare support unit, was fatally injured when the aircraft he was on experienced an unspecified landing incident.

Another Navy special operations sailor died during a training incident in April at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe Bay. The sailor, identified as Lt. j.g. Aaron Fowler, was assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit One and was participating in the third phase of the Marine Corps Reconnaissance Leaders Course at the time of his death. The course’s third phase takes place in Hawaii and goes through swimming progressions and amphibious operations.

24-year-old Navy SEAL candidate Seaman Kyle Mullen died during “Hell Week” of the Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL (BUD/S) selection course in February. The Navy said Mullen was not active at the time of his death and the cause of his death was being investigated.