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Fri, Feb 24, 2023

Accident Claims Naval Special Warfare Operator

… That Others May Be Free

Aero-News Network is saddened to report Chief Special Warfare Operator Michael T. Ernst of the United States Naval Special Warfare Command (USNSWC) lost his life in a 19 February 2023 military free-fall training accident in Marana, Arizona.

A Massachusetts native, CSWO Ernst was assigned to a U.S. East Coast-based Naval Special Warfare unit.

Rear Admiral Keith Davids, who heads-up Naval Special Warfare Command, stated: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Ernst family. Mike was an exceptional teammate. He was a dedicated NSW Sailor who applied his talents and skills towards some of our nation’s hardest challenges, while selflessly mentoring his teammates. Mike and his family will always be part of the NSW family, and he will never be forgotten.”

In the years since his 2009 enlistment, CSWO Ernst earned numerous awards and decorations, to include a Silver Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, and three Combat Action Ribbons.

The USN declined to offer additional comment pertaining to CSWO Ernst’s death insomuch as the service’s investigation of the incident is ongoing.

The United States Naval Special Warfare Command (USNSWC), known also as (NAVSPECWARCOM and WARCOM), is the naval component of United States Special Operations Command—the unified command tasked with overseeing and conducting U.S. special operations and missions.

Established in 1987 at San Diego, California’s Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, WARCOM’s mission is to provide leadership, doctrinal guidance, resources, and oversight to special operations carried out in maritime (open ocean/deep-water) and littoral (near-shore/shallow-water) environments. WARCOM specializes in a broad range of tactical areas, including unconventional warfare, direct action, counterterrorism, special reconnaissance, and personnel recovery; and is organized around (primarily) eight Navy SEAL teams, three Special Boat Teams, and various supporting commands, totaling approximately 9,200 personnel.

WARCOM units can operate independently, as part of U.S. Navy carrier battle groups and amphibious ready groups, or integrated with other U.S. special operations forces. By dint of the USN’s ships, submarines, and overseas facilities, WARCOM forces can be deployed rapidly around the globe.



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