In Honor of Navy SEAL Chris Chambers
Navy SEAL Chris Chambers
The Stoics' teachings enter our learning at some point in our lives. You may recognize words like humility, patience, courage, wisdom, loyalty, and temperance (to name a few). These virtues are values and redeemable qualities taught to the next generation for thousands of years. Many of the cardinal virtues can be used to describe the type of person Navy SEAL Chris Chambers was. But first, he was a son, a brother, a husband, and a father, and he was completely devoted to his family. None of what I am about to share means as much as his devotion and love for his family and their love for him.
I was blessed to get to know him before he joined the military and became friends with him as he made efforts to visit our training group throughout his 10+ years of service. I know him as a hard-working student, a devoted mentor, a friend, and a loyal teammate (swim buddy). Chris was that man.
Chris the Student: Chris grew up swimming competitively and found himself on the University of Massachusetts and the Maryland Swim Teams during college. Relentless hours of training were nothing new to Chris when he decided to serve and reached out to me in 2010. He was humble enough to realize he needed assistance learning to prepare to get TO and THROUGH SEAL training. Even though he could have joined as an officer after college, he wanted to enlist and become an operator, focusing on his war-fighting craft. He worked on his weaknesses for the next 18 months and was ready to take on SEAL training. BUDS was a challenge, just as it is for everyone else, but he excelled and endured. While going through BUDS as a student, he and a few classmates would do "missions" to the Hell week boats making a long paddle "around the world" and delivering food to them in the cover of darkness. He was a student who had time to help others despite his struggles preparing to get TO and THROUGH training.
Even though he had a few weaknesses that come with a life of swimming primarily, he still helped out many with swimming and water confidence weaknesses. His willingness to help others and be patient with his development was witnessed early in our journey. But, he worked relentlessly to become a better runner, improve calisthenics scores, and add strength and durability.
Chris the Mentor: Since his family is local, Chris would come back during holidays and make a visit to our local training group, do the workout of the day, and take some of the guys about to ship out to breakfast and let them hit him with every question you can think of. He would later find these guys going through BUDS while stationed on the West Coast Teams and hook them up with food/milkshakes after Hell Week. As the Leading Petty Officer (LPO) in his unit, he continued to take care of the "new guys". He was a devoted mentor to others too always making time to "give back".
Chris the Swim Buddy: From the first day of SEAL training, you will quickly learn you never want to be more than an arm's length away from your swim buddy. Instructors' phrases like "Never leave your swim buddy" or questions like "Where is your swim buddy?" were instilled in every BUD/S student for a reason. Your life depends on being reliant on each other. Chris was the ultimate swim buddy throughout his training and deployments. Everyone knew they could rely on Chris to be beside them when danger was near.
|NOTE: Due to the fog of war, new information is coming out of the Pentagon that Chambers fell overboard, and Ingram jumped in after him. Regardless of what happened, it does not change the outcome or the commitment to team over self these two SEALs represent.
Remember: Student, Mentor, Swim Buddy (Teammate)
When describing Chris to others, I can think of no better virtues than being a humble/hard-working student, a selfless and wise mentor, and the most loyal swim buddy/teammate. You can learn a lot from the type of man Chris Chambers was. If you want to better yourself and others around you, remember to be a hard-working but humble student ALWAYS. You never stop learning and growing because you know there is much to learn out there when it comes to perfecting your craft.
As you progress, continue the student mindset, but open your world to become a mentor to others around you. You are only as good as your team as a whole. Chris knew this and constantly gave back to help those on the same journey and within his team.
Organizations that Help Gold Star Families within the SEAL Community:
The bond between SEALs is unbreakable, and in that fateful moment, Chambers and Ingram exemplified the true meaning of the Navy SEAL ethos, "I will never leave a fallen comrade." He fearlessly risked his own life to rescue the overboard SEAL, demonstrating the unwavering dedication and loyalty that defines these elite warriors. Theirs was the ultimate display of camaraderie and sacrifice. Despite the valiant efforts of their teammates and search personnel, both SEALs tragically succumbed to the conditions of the sea, leaving a profound sense of loss and mourning within the community and country.
As we honor the memory of these two brave SEALs, let us pay tribute to their courage, selflessness, and unwavering commitment to each other, their mission, and their country. Theirs is a legacy that will endure, and their sacrifice will never be forgotten. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families, friends, and fellow SEALs as they grieve the loss of two extraordinary individuals who gave their lives in service to our nation. Petty Officer Ingram and Petty Officer Chambers will always be remembered for their courage, dedication, and sacrifice in the line of duty.
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