Safety SEALs

Though SEAL missions are usually of the super-double-secret ilk, recent deadly accidents have received quite a bit of warranted attention and pushed Navy officials to halt ops and take a closer look at its risky business. 

SEALs die, and it seems we rarely hear much about it, possibly because of the nature of what we mortals assume to be “The Unit”-like and Jack Bauer-esque missions. But three training deaths, one during a live-fire exercise and more perplexing, two parachute mishaps at the same training site less than one month apart have given everyone pause. 

The parachute accidents occurred March 6 and Feb. 13 at a training area 30 miles outside Tucson, Ariz. The close combat, live-fire training took place at the Mid-South Institute of Self Defense Shooting in Lake Cormorant, Miss. (Since 2005 this outfit only has been working with government and law enforcement agencies. We’re sure the money is pretty good. Where else would you train for this stuff except maybe at gunslinger headquarters — Big, Bad Blackwater in Moyock, N.C.?)  

During roughly the same period, the SEALs suffered three combat deaths. Two men reportedly were killed by small-arms fire in Iraq Feb. 4, and the first fatality in this tragic string for the Navy occurred Dec. 11, 2007. Not many details for us, the clearanceless masses, at this time. 

An increase in optempo, would up the opportunities for mishaps, possibly making an increase in the number of fatalities statistically reasonable. (Though, this is not always the case. As the Joint IED Defeat Organization honchos have shown, a significant increase in IED activity does not correspond to a similar increase in casualties. More on that later.) 

A run of bad luck? Coincidence? Regardless, the show stoppers were the parachute training fatalities. What are the odds of two parachute mishaps for the SEALs (an organization reportedly numbering just over 2,400) at the same training site less than a month apart? 

If it can happen to some of the best, it can happen to anybody, which makes answers to these questions crucial.

Recent Posts