A Navy sailor died on Feb. 19 after a military free fall training accident in Marana, Arizona, according to the Naval Special Warfare Command.

Chief Special Warfare Operator Michael T. Ernst was assigned to a Naval Special Warfare East Coast-based unit, according to a statement sent to Military Times. Ernst was pronounced dead at Banner University Medical Center in Phoenix.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Ernst family,” said Rear Adm. Keith Davids, commander, Naval Special Warfare Command. “Mike was an exceptional teammate. He was a dedicated NSW Sailor who applied his talents and skills towards some of our nation’s hardest challenges, while selflessly mentoring his teammates. Mike and his family will always be part of the NSW family, and he will never be forgotten.”

Ernst enlisted in the Navy in August 2009 and his awards and decorations include a Silver Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, and three Combat Action Ribbons, among many others.

The Navy is investigating the incident and declined to offer additional comment pending a complete investigation.

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