Navy SEAL trainee dies during ‘drown proofing’ exercise

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

James Derek Lovelace (US Navy)

SAN DIEGO – A U.S. Navy SEAL trainee died Friday in a swimming exercise during his first week of BUD/S in Coronado, military officials confirmed reported Tuesday.

The 21-year-old sailor, Seaman James Derek Lovelace, was participating in a swimming exercise when a safety observer noticed he was having difficulty, the military said in a release.  He was brought to the edge of the pool where he lost consciousness.  Lovelace was taken to a hospital where he died.

The Virginian-Pilot described the training in which Lovelace died as “drown proofing.”

The military released details about the training exercise stating it’s performed during the first week of training to assess and develop students’ competency, confidence and safety in the water. During the exercise students tread water and swim in a pool while wearing diving masks and a camouflage utility uniform.”

“Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of SN Lovelace,” said Captain Jay Hennessey, Commanding Officer of the Naval Special Warfare Center. “Though Derek was very new to our community, he selflessly answered his nation’s call to defend freedom and protect this country. He will be sorely missed. We share in his family’s grief from this great loss.”

Lovelace’s awards and decorations include the National Defense Ribbon and Sharpshooter Pistol Qualification.

Lovelace of Crestview, Florida joined graduated from basic Navy training in late January. He was a graduate of Faulkner State Community College in Bay Minette, Alabama, according to a Crestview funeral home announcement.

The Navy had not announced Lovelace’s death until contacted by reporters.  A military spokesman said the death was under investigation.

Lovelace’s death happened within days of Coronado-based Navy SEAL Charles Keating getting killed while fighting ISIS in Iraq.