Special Forces soldier drowns during underwater combat training

Special Forces soldier drowns in Key West pool during underwater combat training, reportedly the military’s toughest course

  • The soldier, whose identity has not yet been released, drowned while training at Special Forces Underwater Operations School at a Key West Army facility.
  • The soldier was a member of Colorado’s 10th Special Forces Unit
  • “During the training event, the soldier was submerged and never resurfaced. The frame immediately went into the pool and did not find him,” an army press release said
  • The seven-week training is considered the most difficult in the entire military branch, and two-thirds of elite soldiers chosen to participate drop out.
  • Graduates of the course join a special underwater unit that sneaks into locations from the water to perform covert missions










A Special Forces staff sergeant has drowned during underwater combat training in Key West, Florida.

The deceased soldier, who has not yet been identified, was a staff sergeant from the 10th Special Forces Group, police said. Army times.

He took part in grueling underwater combat training on Tuesday at the Army Combat Readiness Center and the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School — reportedly the toughest course in the military.

His death is the second at the facility in five years.

“During the training event, the soldier was submerged and never resurfaced. The frame immediately entered the pool and did not find him,” the facility said.

The latest release called the training “one of the most physically demanding courses in the military.”

One-third of the trainees, chosen from the Army’s top Green Berets and Rangers, dropped out of training midway, according to Men’s health.

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The unidentified soldier died during a conditioning exercise that “emphasizes the students’ cardio, respiratory and muscular endurance” (file image at the Army Combat Readiness Center and the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School)

“During the training event, the Soldier went into hiding and never resurfaced.  The box immediately went into the pool and did not find him,

“During the training event, the Soldier went into hiding and never resurfaced. The box immediately went into the pool and did not find him,” according to press releases from the Army Combat Readiness Center and the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School.

It also has some of the strictest security protocols, according to the release. The CRC has launched a security investigation at Naval Air Station Key West, where the death occurred, according to Representative Michael Negard.

‘The brain has special circuits to warn you that you are dying and to cause panic. Key West teaches you to turn them off,” wrote Green Beret Mark Miller of the experience.

“If you have any trace of claustrophobia or fear of drowning, the smart instructors will find it. They’ll hit that button over and over until you ignore or stop it forever.”

Staff Sergeant David Whitcher died while training at the Special Forces Underwater Operations School in 2016

Staff Sergeant David Whitcher died while training at the Special Forces Underwater Operations School in 2016

Students learn to use heavy closed-circuit diving equipment, which produces no bubbles and is therefore clandestine, for secret missions underwater – for example, infiltrating a beach landing site undetected.

In one of the most daunting exercises of the course, the ‘One Man Confidence Swim’, divers must wear a blackout mask and be able to reassemble their breathing apparatus after it has been thoroughly disassembled by instructors.

In 2016, New Hampshire staff sergeant David Whitcher drowned during a training exercise at the facility, according to the Army times.

Neither representatives of the 10th Special Forces Group nor the 1st Special Forces Command were available for comment.

“If you have any trace of claustrophobia or fear of drowning, the smart instructors will find it.  They'll hit that button over and over until you ignore or stop it forever.”

“If you have any trace of claustrophobia or fear of drowning, the smart instructors will find it. They’ll hit that button over and over until you ignore or stop it forever.”

Students learn to use heavy closed-circuit diving equipment, which produces no bubbles and is therefore clandestine, for secret missions underwater - for example, infiltrating a beach landing site undetected.

Students learn to use heavy closed-circuit diving equipment, which produces no bubbles and is therefore clandestine, for secret missions underwater – for example, infiltrating a beach landing site undetected.

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