VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - A Virginia Beach based Navy SEAL died during a practice parachute jump in Arizona. Special Warfare Operator, Chief Brett Shadle, was a member of the elite SEAL TEAM six. Shadle collided with another SEAL during a free fall. He was 31 years old.
WAVY.com spoke to Shadle's family and friends about his life, and the family he leaves behind.
When news of Chief Brett Shadle's death reached his hometown of Elizabethville, Pennsylvania his family could hardly believe it.
"It was just very hard to believe especially since he was here in the states," Shadle's cousin James Stoneroad said. "With all the dangerous places he's been in you would think the states would be a safe place and you wouldn't have to worry."
"I know he wasn't deployed so I was just dumbfounded and speechless," Shadle former's high school basketball coach Tom Hain said.
Navy officials say Chief Shadle was doing routine free-fall training at a facility in Arizona on Thursday when he collided mid-air with another locally based Seal. The other Seal involved in the accident is in stable condition. Shadle was a member of the Elite Seal Team Six, the team credited with killing Osama Bin Laden. Shadle's former basketball coach Hain says Shadle died doing the what always dreamt of. Hain told WAVY.com Shadle wanted to be a Navy Seal since he was in the eighth grade.
"He had a brother who was five years older who was a Seal so it was in his blood," Hain said. He had his heart set on it."
Hain say Shadle's father was also a Marine, and heavily involved in the community in Elizabethville. Shadle's hometown is now mourning his loss. Just three weeks ago Coach Hain says Shadle celebrated a birthday and was rejoicing in happier times with his parents who came to visit him in Virginia Beach.
"They had just had a group celebration for all the birthday parties. His son just turned one recently. His daughter was turning three and Brett turned 31," Hain said.
Shadle was an E-8, Special Warfare Operator Chief , and acquired several honors during his career including two bronze stars with valor.
"Even though he had a family he loved he put himself in harm's way," Hain said. "He certainly is going to be missed and the community is very sad to hear of his passing."
Hain says Shadle's mother and father are in Hampton Roads planning his memorial service. Family members say there will be a ceremony for Shadle on Thursday. Shadle's cousin says he wanted buried in the Arlington National Cemetery. It is not clear if that will happen.
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