The Navy SEALs again had to say farewell to one of their own after a fatal training accident last Thursday claimed the life of Chief Special Warfare Operator Eric F. Shellenberger.
According to Navy spokesman Scott Williams, Eric Shellenberger was based in Pear City, Hawaii, assigned to SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team One. This is the only team in the military that operates a mini-submarine that is used by the Navy for covert missions into enemy waters, such as intelligence operations and planting explosives on enemy ships. As part of this team, Shellenberger and his unit perform sensitive missions that Williams is not at liberty to discuss.
Outside of duties that involve going into the water, Shellenberger was also part of a team of SEALs who are tasked with the location and elimination of what was termed as “high value targets and terrorist leaders”. He served as Assault Team Leader in Ramadi, Iraq, during 2006-07’s “Sunni Awakening”.
Shellenberger passed away after experiencing problems during a training dive in the waters off Bremerton in Washington State. Shellenberger signaled for an emergency when he encountered difficulties, but he was non-responsive upon reaching the surface and could not be revived, according to Navy Officials. He was brought to the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Keyport, where he died. The Navy is currently investigating the incident.
Eric Shellenberger leaves behind his fiancée, two brothers, his father, mother and stepfather. He had already spent eight years with the marines before enlisting in the Navy in 1999. His career brought him to seven tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan and consisted of executing some of the Armed Forces’ most dangerous missions. Admiral Edward Winters III, Commander of the Naval Special Warfare Command was quoted on the Morning Call, saying that Shellenberger’s loss was “heart-wrenching”. He was 36 years old.