James Derek Lovelace was attempting to do an exercise called ‘drown proofing’
An underwater training course for Navy SEALs that the Washington Post calls “legendarily difficult” proved fatal Friday for one student at a California naval station. James Derek Lovelace, 21, who had just joined the Navy six months ago and completed basic training in January, was wrapping up the last day of his first week of training in basic underwater demolition/SEAL training, aka BUD/S, when class instructors noticed he was having issues and took him out of the pool, the Virginian-Pilot reports. He lost consciousness and couldn’t be revived at the scene at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado; he was pronounced dead at a local hospital. The training exercise Lovelace was attempting is part of what’s called “drown proofing,” where participants don a camouflage utility uniform and diving masks and then have to tread water and swim, Navy spokesman Lt. Trevor Davids explains. He adds that the cause of Lovelace’s death is still being investigated, per the AP.