SEAL Team 8 commander dies after Virginia training accident

The commanding officer of the Navy’s elite SEAL Team 8 has died from injuries sustained in a training incident on Virginia’s coast last week, the service announced Wednesday.

Cmdr. Brian Bourgeois, 43, died Tuesday at Norfolk Sentara General Hospital in Norfolk, Va., “after sustaining injuries during training on Dec. 4 in Virginia Beach,” according to a statement from Naval Special Warfare Command.

Details of the accident are under investigation, but initial findings show that Bourgeois was injured “during a fast-rope training evolution,” a drill done from an airborne helicopter.

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The SEAL Team 8 executive officer has since temporarily assumed command of the special operations team. 

Naval Special Warfare has committed to supporting Bourgeois’s family and his teammates following the tragedy, Capt. Donald Wetherbee said in the release.

“An incident like this weighs heavily on us all,” Wetherbee said. “Brian was as tough as they come, an outstanding leader, and a committed father, husband and friend. This is a great loss to everyone who knew him. He will be greatly missed.”

Bourgeois served in the Navy for more than 20 years after receiving his commission from the United States Naval Academy in May 2001. He first joined a Special Warfare Unit in February 2006.