SEAL Team 8 CO Dies in East Coast Training Incident

December 8, 2021 1:10 PM
Cmdr. Brian Bourgeois died Dec. 7 from injuries sustained during a training incident on Dec. 4. US Navy Photo

The commanding officer of SEAL Team 8 died Tuesday from injuries sustained in a training incident, the Navy announced today.

Cmdr. Brian Bourgeois, 43, died at Norfolk Sentara General Hospital in Norfolk, Va., according to a release from Naval Special Warfare Command after injuries sustained in a Dec. 4 training mishap near Virginia Beach.

The details about the training accident are under investigation, although initial findings suggest Bourgeois was injured during a fast-rope training evolution, according to the release.

The SEAL Team 8 executive officer has assumed command temporarily, the Navy said.

Naval Special Warfare Group 2 is working with the SEAL team to support its members and Bourgeois’ family, Capt. Donald Wetherbee said in the release.

“An incident like this weighs heavily on us all,” Wetherbee said in the release. “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.”

The Naval Special Warfare Command will maintain that support and relationship with Bourgeois’ family for life, commander Rear Adm. H.W. Howard said in the release.

“Brian was one of our very best leaders, who possessed all the attributes that make our force effective,” Howard said in the release. “We will miss his charismatic leadership and faithful stewardship of our standard. His legacy carries on in teammates he served with, led, and mentored.”

Bourgeois graduated and commissioned from the Naval Academy in May 2001, according to his Navy biography. He served aboard USS Black Hawk (MHC-58) after spending a year teaching at the Naval Academy Preparatory School and attending Surface Warfare Officer School.

He returned to Surface Warfare Officer School after his two-year tour, and then entered Naval Basic Special Warfare Training in August 2004.

He joined his first Special Warfare Unit in February 2006. He joined his last Special Warfare Unit on Nov. 9, 2020. Bourgeois was promoted to commander on Sept. 1, 2017.

Heather Mongilio

Heather Mongilio

Heather Mongilio is a reporter with USNI News. She has a master’s degree in science journalism and has covered local courts, crime, health, military affairs and the Naval Academy.
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