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Search Continues for Two Navy SEALs Missing From Night Mission Off Coast of Somalia

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One SEAL immediately jumped in to save the first who had fallen. Both disappeared amid the waves, an official said. “It was an incredible act of loyalty and courage,” the official said with a breaking voice. 

by Susan Katz Keating

The hunt for two SEALs who are missing in waters off the coast of Somalia remains a search and rescue mission, a defense official told Soldier of Fortune on Sunday.

“Search and rescue operations are still ongoing and I do not have anything else to share at this time,” the defense official said Jan. 14, while communicating on background.

The Pentagon has not issued any statement or news regarding the missing sailors.

The U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), however, said Friday that two sailors were missing while conducting operations off the coast of Somalia. While CENTCOM did not say that the sailors are SEALs, defense officials elsewhere said that they are.

The SEALs launched the operation during a lunar phase known as the new moon, when the nighttime skies are darkest. Under those conditions, the highly trained SEALs embarked on a maritime interdiction operation (MIO) during rough seas.

In those conditions, the SEALs attempted to climb aboard a vessel off the coast of Somalia, a civilian defense official told Soldier of Fortune. Climbing up a caving latter, one SEAL was knocked off by a high wave.

A second SEAL immediately jumped in to save the first. Both disappeared amid the turbulent waves, the civilian official said.

“It was an incredible act of loyalty and courage,” the official said with a breaking voice. 

The official statement from CENTCOM noted that the missing sailors were “forward-deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet (C5F) area of operations,” in order to support a wide variety of missions.

“Search and rescue operations are currently ongoing to locate the two sailors,” CENTCOM statement said, adding that it would not release additional information until the search mission is complete.

“Out of respect for the families affected, we will not release further information on the missing personnel at this time,” CENTCOM wrote. 

This is a developing story.

About Susan Katz Keating

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