“Don’t go to the light!” The image is forever burned into my consciousness: a SEAL instructor at Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training screaming into the face of an unconscious trainee, flat on his back, being administered oxygen beside the training pool in Coronado, California.
Shallow-water blackouts are relatively common at BUD/S, as trainees struggle through underwater evolutions such as the 50-meter underwater swim, underwater knot tying, and pool competency. While instructors and students alike would often chuckle at a trainee once he was pulled from the pool and revived from his blackout, such instances in the pool are no laughing matter.
This fact was sadly and tragically evidenced last week, as two active-duty SEALs in Little Creek, Virginia—SO1 Seth Cody Lewis and SO1 Brett Allen Marihugh—drowned in the Combat Swimmer Training Facility at the Joint Expeditionary Base, Little Creek, while doing some sort of unspecified breath-hold training. As pointed out in an article here at SOFREP, the two were part of the Advanced Training Command (ATC), and were found at the bottom of the pool at 3 p.m. on Friday, April 24th.
As further pointed out in an article in the Norfolk, Virginia-based Virginian Pilot online, a spokesman for Naval Special Warfare Group 2 (NSWG-2) stated that the deaths were being investigated to determine how the accidental drownings occurred.