In a recent incident off the coast of Somalia, two U.S. Navy SEALs have been reported missing following a nighttime boarding mission.

According to U.S. officials, the SEALs were involved in an interdiction operation, attempting to climb onto a vessel when one of them was knocked off by high waves.

These SEALs were laden with the weight of duty and gear — weapons, breaching equipment, and the unspoken burden of the unknown. One moment, they were there, scaling the vessel in a dance with danger; the next, swallowed by the merciless waves, a testament to the perilous nature of the job.

Sandboxx | American commandos and Greek Navy SEALs train in the Mediterranean
(Official Navy Photo: SEALs conducting VBSS training. Visit, Board, Search & Seizure)


It’s important to understand that while the SEALs are extensively trained in water operations, the SEAL operators would have been heavily laden with all of the above gear. It’s also common for guys to insert lifejacket foam in their body armor to try and maintain neutral buoyancy in the water, but often times it’s impossible to counter negative bouyancy.

I remember a training mission off the coast of San Diego where one of our guys fell off the ladder with full kit, and he surfaced over a minute later, eyes bulging and out of breath, after sinking over thirty feet. He said he had to pinch his nose and equalize the depth pressure three times before he was able to remove his armor and resurface.

This is why we call it high-risk training.