A gifted athlete who was slated to commission in three months as a cryptologic warfare officer, U.S. Naval Academy Midshipman 1st Class David Forney died Thursday evening after he was discovered passed out in Bancroft Hall, officials announced early Saturday.
Forney, 22, of Walkersville, Maryland, was a left guard on the Navy football team’s offensive line.
The cause of his death is being investigated but foul play is not suspected.
“The entire Naval Academy family – the Brigade of Midshipmen, the faculty, staff, and coaches – are heartbroken over the tragic and unexpected loss of Midshipman David Forney,” said Vice Adm. Sean Buck, the 63rd superintendent of the service academy, in a prepared statement emailed to Navy Times shortly after midnight Saturday.
“On behalf of the Naval Academy family, my wife, Joanne, and I extend our deepest condolences and heartfelt sympathies to the Forney family, their friends, as well as to David’s extended Naval Academy family.”
A fellow midshipman discovered Forney unresponsive in his room, according to the Navy. A midshipman certified in CPR tried to resuscitate him and Forney was transported by emergency responders to Anne Arundel Medical Center.
He was pronounced dead there at 11:28 p.m. Thursday.
“Words cannot express our pain and sorrow,” said Navy head football coach Ken Niumatalolo in the statement. “First and foremost, our deepest condolences to the Forney family. The Navy Football Brotherhood is not a team, we are a family. We are devastated to have lost one of our brothers.
"We all loved – and will always love – David. We pray for strength during this most difficult time.”
Forney’s death is the second tragic loss to rock the Annapolis campus this month.
On Feb. 8, Midshipman 3rd Class Duke Carrillo, 21, of Flower Mound, Texas, collapsed during the 1 ½-mile run portion of the semi-annual Physical Readiness Test.
He also was pronounced dead at Anne Arundel Medical Center.
A 2015 graduate of Georgetown Preparatory School, Forney completed a year at the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Newport, Rhode Island, before reporting to the Annapolis campus for the Class of 2020′s Induction Day on June 30, 2016.
A member of the 9th Company and a political science major, he was scheduled to graduate and commission in May.
In their statement, Navy football officer representatives Navy Capt. Timika Lindsay and Marine Corps Col. Jeffrey Smitherman called Forney a “hard charger on and off the field,” a bright young leader gifted with passion and perseverance, “which enabled him not only to see the game, but also inspire and encourage others to become better players and midshipmen.”
Although he didn’t play on the varsity squad in 2016, Forney made his debut in Navy’s 2017 opener at Florida Atlantic.
A 6-foot, 3-inch lineman with a listed playing weight of 305 pounds, he excelled that year on special teams and emerged in 2018 as an important member of Navy’s O-line rotation, capable of lining up on the left side or at center.
Midshipman 1st Class David Forney is survived by parents Erika and Rick and siblings Chris, Rebekah, and Erik.
Prine came to Navy Times after stints at the San Diego Union-Tribune and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He served in the Marine Corps and the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. His awards include the Joseph Galloway Award for Distinguished Reporting on the military, a first prize from Investigative Reporters & Editors and the Combat Infantryman Badge.