BOSTON (AP) — The governor of Massachusetts described a Navy SEAL lost in the Arabian Sea during a mission to confiscate Iranian-made weapons from an unflagged ship as a Westfield, Massachusetts native who heroically died trying to rescue a teammate.
During the Jan. 11 raid, Navy Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Christopher J. Chambers jumped into the sea to save a second SEAL who had slipped and fallen under the waves as he tried to climb aboard the unflagged ship. The vessel was carrying illicit Iranian-made weapons to Yemen, according to U.S. officials familiar with the incident. Both of the SEALs involved in the mission went missing.
The 11-day search and rescue mission to locate the two SEALs was called off on Sunday and became a recovery effort. On Monday, the Navy released their names, after their families were notified. The second SEAL was identified as Navy Special Warfare Operator 2nd Class Nathan Gage Ingram.
Chambers, 37, enlisted in the Navy in 2012, and graduated from SEAL training in 2014.
“My deepest sympathies go out to the family, friends and shipmates of Special Operator Chris Chambers, who lost his life while selflessly trying to save his teammate off the coast of East Africa,” Gov. Maura Healey said in a statement Tuesday. “In his heroic life and tragic passing, we recognize the ultimate example of the sacrifice that every servicemember and veteran has offered on behalf of our country."
"We are more determined than ever to honor that sacrifice in our actions as well as our words. I’m keeping the Westfield community and all who knew Chris in my thoughts as Massachusetts mourns another tragic loss," she added.
The two men were part of a team that ultimately boarded the dhow of the ship, and seized an array of Iranian-made weaponry while facing off with 12 crew members, Central Command said.