What to Know:
The United States Navy has identified the two missing SEALs who are presumed dead as Navy Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Christopher J. Chambers and Navy Special Warfare Operator 2nd Class Nathan Gage Ingram.
Chambers and Ingram went missing on January 11 during a nighttime VBSS operation off the coast of Somalia against “a dhow conducting illegal transport of advanced lethal aid from Iran to resupply Houthi forces in Yemen as part of the Houthis’ ongoing campaign of attacks against international merchant shipping.”
While exact details remain unclear, American media outlets have reported that one of the SEALs went overboard due to rough waters and the second jumped in to provide assistance, per protocol. It remains unknown who went into the water first.
USCENTCOM Seizes Iranian Advanced Conventional Weapons Bound for Houthis
On 11 January 2024, while conducting a flag verification, U.S. CENTCOM Navy forces conducted a night-time seizure of a dhow conducting illegal transport of advanced lethal aid from Iran to resupply Houthi… pic.twitter.com/yg4PuTZBh7
— U.S. Central Command (@CENTCOM) January 16, 2024
CENTCOM reported that the operation resulted in the seizure of “Iranian-made ballistic missile and cruise missiles components. Seized items include propulsion, guidance, and warheads for Houthi medium range ballistic missiles (MRBMs) and anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs), as well as air defense associated components. Initial analysis indicates these same weapons have been employed by the Houthis to threaten and attack innocent mariners on international merchant ships transiting in the Red Sea.”
Over the course of 10 days, “airborne and naval platforms from the U.S., Japan, and Spain continuously searched more than 21,000 square miles to locate our missing teammates,” according to CENTCOM. However, on January 21, CENTCOM announced that rescue operations had shifted to recovery efforts, declaring the SEALs as deceased.
It is with heavy hearts that we bid fair winds and following seas to our fallen Shipmates. #NeverForgotten
— U.S. Navy (@USNavy) January 22, 2024
According to the United States Navy:
Chambers enlisted in the Navy on May 17, 2012, and graduated from boot camp at Recruit Training Command Great Lakes, Ill., in July 2012. He served with West Coast-based SEAL units since graduating from SEAL qualification training in Coronado, Calif., in 2014. His awards and decorations include the Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Combat “C,” three Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medals, Army Achievement Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, and other personal and unit awards.
Ingram enlisted in the Navy on Sept. 25, 2019, and graduated from boot camp at Recruit Training Command Great Lakes, Ill., in November 2019. Ingram served with West Coast-based SEAL units since graduating from SEAL qualification training in Coronado, Calif., in 2021. His awards and decorations include various personal and unit awards.
Chambers and Ingram mark the first active duty deaths of American servicemen in support of operations against the Houthis.