WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. officials are revising their preliminary conclusions about what happened to two Navy SEALs who died during a mission board an unflagged ship carrying illicit Iranian-made weapons in Yemen.
Based on further review and interviews with personnel involved in the operations, U.S. officials said Wednesday that Navy Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Christopher J. Chambers boarded the boat on Jan. 11 and slipped into the space that high waves had created between the ship and the SEAL gunship. As Chambers fell, Navy Special Warfare Operator 2nd Class Nathan Gage Ingram stepped in to try to save him, according to U.S. officials with knowledge of what happened.
Immediately afterward, U.S. officials indicated that Ingram had fallen into the affair and that Chambers had followed him. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing review of the mission, said the change was based on new information gathered.
Chambers and Ingram were lost at sea, efforts to find and rescue them having failed.
In a statement, the Naval Special Warfare Command said an investigation was continuing to gather more information about what happened.
The US Navy’s 5th Fleet is investigating. This investigation is expected to examine whether the SEALs were properly equipped and trained for the mission, whether procedures were followed, and whether decisions regarding the timing and approval of the raid, including weather and sea conditions, were been taken.
Chambers, 37, from Maryland, enlisted in the Navy in 2012 and graduated from SEAL training in 2014. Ingram, 27, from Texas, enlisted in 2019 and graduated from SEAL training in 2021.