Special Forces soldier drowns during training in Key West

Special Forces soldier drowns during training in Key West
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A U.S. Army Special Forces soldier died this week in a drowning accident while undergoing training at the force’s underwater operations school in Key West, Fla., according to school and military officials. 

Staff Sgt. Micah E. Walker, originally from Peyton, Colo., completed the Special Forces qualification course in January as a Special Forces medical sergeant. In March, he was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), which falls under the 1st Special Forces Command, according to a press release shared with The Hill. 

The U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School said in another release that Walker was a student in the Special Forces combat diver qualification course and on Tuesday “was participating in a conditioning exercise in the pool, which stresses the students’ cardio, respiratory and muscular endurance.” 

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“During the training event, the Soldier submerged and did not resurface,” the school said, adding that “the cadre immediately entered the pool and found him unresponsive.” 

After a medical officer attempted to resuscitate him, Walker was transported to a local hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. 

“The Combat Diver Qualification Course is one of the most physically demanding courses within the Army,” the school said in its statement. “Stringent safety protocols are in place throughout the training to safeguard both students and cadre.” 

The school added that “in accordance with Army policy,” it will be conducting a full investigation into the accidental death, adding that the soldier’s family “is being cared for by members” of the 10th Special Forces Group. 

The command said in its press release that Walker is survived by his wife and three children. 

“The U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School has arranged for support counselors at the Dive School to meet the needs of the remaining students and cadre,” the school added. 

News of Walker's death was first reported by the Army Times

Walker, who initially joined the Army in 2017, had received several awards and recognitions from his time in the military and while training for the Special Forces, also widely known as the Green Berets.

The 1st Special Forces Command said that Walker had received the Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Special Forces Tab and the Army Basic Parachutist Badge. 

Col. Lucas VanAntwerp, commander of the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), said in a statement, “Micah was an exceptional Special Forces Operator, a loving husband, and father.” 

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife and children, his parents, and his teammates,” he added. “We grieve with the family and stand ready to honor Micah’s service and his legacy.”