Naval Special Warfare sailor dies after training incident

Naval Special Warfare sailor dies after training incident
File photo of a MH-60R assigned to the Vipers of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 48 lands on the flight deck of guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham. Photo credit U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ashley L. M. VanGuilder

The Navy on Wednesday said the Naval Special Warfare sailor killed in a training accident in Virginia was Electronics Technician 1st Class Ryan DeKorte from Lubbock, Texas.

DeKorte died Monday from injuries received late last week in a helicopter landing incident during an exercise at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story in Virginia. He was 35.

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“Our thoughts and prayers are with the DeKorte family. Ryan was an exceptional teammate, and we mourn his tragic loss,” said Rear Adm. H.W. Howard III, commander of Naval Special Warfare Command. “Ryan was one of our premiere combat support technicians, who possessed all the attributes that make our force combat ready for highly complex and high-risk missions in the nation’s defense."

Howard said DeKorte's "humility, stewardship and commitment to Naval Special Warfare made an indelible mark on his teammates and our community.”

According to a Navy official, the helicopter experienced a hard landing near DeKorte, who was on the ground and not in the aircraft. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to provide details not yet made public.

DeKorte joined the Navy in 2014. After his initial training, he served aboard the USS Jason Dunham, a Navy destroyer, before he was assigned to Naval Special Warfare in 2020.

His identity was withheld until Wednesday due to family notifications.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.