James Lovelace Dead At 21: US Navy SEALs Mourn Trainee

May 11, 2016 | By Garrett Montgomery More

James Derek Lovelace, a 21-year-old Navy SEAL trainee, died while taking part in a routine exercise. According to a statement issued by the Navy SEAL, Mr. Lovelace died during a pool exercise that was part of his special combat training.

James Lovelace

The death of Navy SEAL trainee James Derek Lovelace is making headlines. On Tuesday, the Navy SEAL shared a sad statement explaining that a 21-year-old trainee by the name of James Derek Lovelace had died during a pool exercise in Coronado, California.

According to officials, on May 6, Mr. Lovelace was taking part in what is described as “special combat training” or Basic Underwater Demolition or BUD/S class when something went terribly wrong. Naval Special Warfare Center spokesman Lt. Trevor Davids said Lovelace, who was dressed in camouflage uniform and a dive mask, started having difficulty breathing during the exercise.

Lovelace was pulled out of the pool, and he lost consciousness, which prompted officials to rush him to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead. It was Lovelace’s first week of in-pool exercises. In a written statement, the Navy said:

“Resuscitation efforts and first aid at the scene were unsuccessful. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital.”

The statement continued:

“The exercise is 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. In the training pool during the evolution, safety observers saw he was having difficulty.”

The Naval Special Warfare Command announced that they are currently investigating Lovelace’s death. Officials have asked the media not to speculate on whether Lovelace suffered from any conditions or the possibility that he was ill at the time of the exercise. A statement from the family read:

“Lovelace was born in Germany in 1994. He enjoyed any activity on the water and played baseball at Crestview High School and Faulkner State Community College in Bay Minette, Alabama. Lovelace joined the Navy and graduated basic training on Jan. 28, 2016, in Great Lakes, Illinois. His awards and decorations include the National Defense Ribbon and Sharpshooter Pistol Qualification.”

Lovelace’s grandmother, Jan Pugh, told The Virginian-Pilot:

“I don’t know what to say. He was wonderful. It was a dream he was chasing out there. He was determined to become a SEAL . We are all just in shock.”

He is survived by his father and two sisters.

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