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Richland Student Media

Richland Student Media

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Richland Chronicle 2/20/24
Richland Chronicle 2/20/24

Two losses too close to home

A somber mood filled the air on Jan. 24 as flags were seen flying at half-staff in honor of Nathan Gage Ingram, one of two Navy SEALs who died over the course of a raid in the Gulf of Aden.

Navy SEAL Special Forces during a joint U.S., Cyprus military drill at Limassol in 2021. (Photo/Associated Press)

Ingram, a native Texan hailing from Roanoke, attended school in Northwest ISD where he graduated in 2014 from Byron Nelson High School in Trophy Club. Gage enlisted in the Navy in 2019 and completed SEAL training in 2021. At the time of his death, he held the rank of Navy special operator 2nd class. In Maryland, flags were also flown at half-staff in honor of Christopher J. Chambers, who also died while Ingram was attempting to rescue him.
In Jan., U.S. Navy SEALs were conducting a raid on an unflagged ship in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia. The ship was carrying Iranian-made weapons and missile components bound for Yemen where they would be used by the Houthi rebels in their ongoing assault of military and cargo ships passing through the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea.
The raid, more accurately described as a VBSS Visit, Board, Search and Seizure, was done at night in pitch-black darkness. The SEALs approached the ship in speedboats and boarded via a rope ladder.
In the process of boarding the ship, Chambers was swallowed by the rough seas, prompting Ingram to dive into the water in an attempt to rescue him. This was in accordance with SEAL protocol. It is assumed that the pair drowned due to a combination of rough waters and the weight of the equipment they donned.
The SEALs were declared missing for 10 days, during which time search and rescue efforts were employed by three different nations in an attempt to find the missing men. The search mission was concluded on Jan. 21. Both men were pronounced dead in a statement by the U.S. Central Command.
Fears of a wider regional conflict involving Iran are growing as Houthi rebels continue to harass and assault merchant and military ships in international waters. As much as 15% of global trade travels through shipping lanes in the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea. The U.S. and other nations have been working to curb their attacks by shooting down missiles and conducting airstrikes in direct retaliation. Since the start of the attacks, the Navy has shot down over 80 Houthi drones, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles, according to CNN.
The Houthis are not the only Iranian backed proxy militia wreaking havoc in the region. Other Iranian proxy militias in the region have been launching attacks on U.S. military bases. Currently, there are around 6,500 American troops stationed in the Middle East.
Since the start of the Israel-Hamas war in early October 2023, more than 160 attacks on U.S. bases have occurred across Iraq, Syria and Jordan.
The most recent, and by far the deadliest, happened Jan. 28 before sunrise when a drone strike killed three U.S. Army soldiers in northeast Jordan. The outpost, known as Tower 22, mistook the hostile drone for a friendly. The Biden administration has vowed to respond to these attacks.

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