Two Navy SEALs have gone missing off the coast of Somalia. The members of the elite unit known for their rigorous training and high-risk missions were conducting a nighttime boarding operation on Thursday when the incident occurred.
U.S. officials said the mission involved approaching a suspicious vessel in the Gulf of Aden. The specifics of the mission remain under wraps, but it’s understood that one SEAL was swept away by the ocean’s waves while scaling the vessel. Demonstrating the unwavering bravery characteristic of the SEALs, his teammate immediately dove into the treacherous waters in a rescue attempt. Unfortunately, both men were quickly lost to the sea.
— Jack Poso 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) January 13, 2024
This tragic event occurred amidst heightened U.S. military activity in the region. The U.S. has been increasing operations against Iranian-backed Houthi fighters in Yemen, aiming to protect commercial ships in the Red Sea from attacks. Just days before the SEALs’ mission, U.S. and allied forces had conducted strikes on Houthi-linked targets in Yemen. The SEALs’ mission, however, was not directly related to these operations nor the recent seizure of the oil tanker St. Nikolas by Iran.
As the search and rescue operation continues, the warm waters of the Gulf of Aden offer a glimmer of hope for the SEALs’ survival. The U.S. Navy, along with its allies, has deployed ships and aircraft in an extensive effort to locate the missing commandos. U.S. Central Command has confirmed that the SEALs were forward-deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area, a zone known for its strategic importance and volatile security situation.
The SEALs’ mission highlights the ongoing challenges U.S. forces face in securing international waters. In addition to countering threats from state actors like Iran, the U.S. Navy regularly intercepts weapons shipments to Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen and combats piracy, a persistent issue off the Somali coast. These operations are crucial for maintaining the safety of commercial shipping lanes and deterring hostile actions in the region.
As the U.S. military community and the nation await further news, this incident serves as a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by our service members. The courage and commitment of the SEALs, who willingly face danger to protect our interests and uphold international security, are emblematic of the best of American values.