A decorated US Navy SEAL passed away in Arizona as a result of an accident that occurred during a training exercise for free-fall parachute use. Following the event, Chief Special Warfare Operator Michael Ernst was declared deceased at a hospital in Phoenix, according to the Naval Special Warfare Command.
In addition to the NATO Medal, the Joint Commendation Medal (with Combat Device), Army Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (3 awards), Army Achievement Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (3 awards), and NATO Medal, Ernst received the Silver Star, the third-highest award given by the country for bravery
U.S. Navy Chief Special Warfare Operator Michael Ernst (SEAL) has died during a parachute training exercise. May the Lord welcome him home with open arms and comfort his family and friends 🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/SXp4Kpfdml— Douglas M. Ducote Sr. (@RealDMDucoteSr) February 23, 2023
Navy Special Warfare Command’s commander, Rear Adm. Keith Davids, remarked, “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.”
Ernst was a native of Massachusetts. He joined the Navy in 2009.
At the time of the parachute training accident, he was a member of a naval special warfare squadron stationed on the East Coast.
Navy SEAL killed in free-fall parachute accident in Arizona https://t.co/6MqE0SYjAC— Fox News (@FoxNews) February 23, 2023
According to the Naval Special Warfare Command in Coronado, California, the incident occurred while Chief Special Warfare Operator Michael T. Ernst was taking part in parachute training at an airstrip in Marana, which is northwest of Tucson.
After being transported to Banner University Medical Center in Phoenix, Ernst, a member of a naval special combat unit stationed on the East Coast, was pronounced dead not long after 2 o’clock, according to a statement from command officials.