A soldier died in a drowning accident Tuesday at the Army’s combat diving school in Key West, Florida, according to Army officials.
The deceased soldier was assigned to 10th Special Forces Group, according to press releases from the Army Combat Readiness Center and the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, commonly known as SWCS.
The SWCS press release and an Army official confirmed to Army Times that the training death occurred at the Army’s Special Forces Underwater Operations School, which is home to the service’s combat diver qualification courses. The school is located at Naval Air Station Key West and is part of SWCS.
The CRC has deployed a safety investigation team to take lead in the death investigation, CRC spokesperson Michael Negard said, also specifying that the death was a drowning.
The soldier who died was a staff sergeant, according to the SWCS release.
“The Staff Sergeant was a student in the Special Forces Combat Diver Qualification Course, and was participating in a conditioning exercise in the pool, which stresses the students’ cardio, respiratory and muscular endurance,” the release said.
“During the training event, the Soldier submerged and did not resurface. The cadre immediately entered the pool and found him unresponsive,” read the release. “The Dive Medical Officer attempted to resuscitate him, and he was transported to the Lower Keys Medical Center Emergency Room where he was pronounced dead following full medical intervention.”
In the release, SWCS officials described the course as “one of the most physically demanding courses within the Army” with “stringent safety protocols.”
SWCS will provide support counselors as needed for students and cadre at the dive school.
10th Group is headquartered at Fort Carson, Colorado, and has a battalion permanently forward-deployed in Germany.
Officials from 10th Group and 1st Special Forces Command did not immediately respond to inquiries from Army Times related to the accident.
Davis Winkie is a senior reporter covering the Army, specializing in accountability reporting, personnel issues and military justice. He joined Military Times in 2020. Davis studied history at Vanderbilt University and UNC-Chapel Hill, writing a master's thesis about how the Cold War-era Defense Department influenced Hollywood's WWII movies.