PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — From Hampton Roads to Annapolis and beyond, a tight knit community is remembering Cmdr. Brian Bourgeois, who died Tuesday following an accident that took place in Virginia Beach.
More than 20 years ago, #13 Brian Bourgeois was a safety and Justin Jordan was a linebacker for the Midshipmen.
“He was from Louisiana, I was from Mississippi — sort of the two southern redneck boys on the team,” said Jordan in a Zoom interview.
Jordan joined the U.S. Marine Corps after graduation from the Naval Academy in 2001; Bourgeois was destined for special operations with the Navy.
Over the years, the bond became family-like. When Jordan received a text message over the weekend, he knew the news was not good.
“When I got the text Sunday morning saying ‘I need you to call me right away,’ those texts were all too familiar of a feeling all over again. It was just gut-wrenching,” said Jordan.
Bourgeois, the commanding officer of SEAL Team 8, was injured Saturday during a fast rope training evolution.
Former congressman Scott Taylor, who is also a former Navy SEAL, told 10 On Your Side in the special operations community, training can be more dangerous than war.
“It’s definitely dangerous and you would use fast-roping as an insertion method, so if a helicopter is coming in and for example, if you were going into a jungle or on top of a submarine somewhere where the helicopter can’t land. It’s a massive tragedy; not just for the SEAL community but for the Hampton Roads community altogether,” said Taylor.
While NCIS investigates, loved ones across the country are preparing to celebrate the man friends called Boosze. The celebration begins Saturday at the Army-Navy game.
The Leap frogs are going to kick things off; they are going to run out with the SEAL Team 8 flag.
“It’s going to be a big party and, hopefully, it will be accompanied by a Navy win,” said Jordan.
When the Midshipmen storm the field, Cmdr. Bourgeois’ number 13 jersey will be represented.
“It will be a blue 13 jersey with two SEAL team patches and a gold helmet will be on the sidelines. And also through the supportive help of the community, Brian’s family will be at the stadium. Brian’s wife, his kids, his mom and dad, and some other extended family will be there as we celebrate the life of this great patriot and this great American hero,” he said.
He continued: “He’s just one of the greatest human beings you have ever met in your life… He had a way of lighting up a room. He just had this way infectious personality that everybody wanted to gravitate to and he has a way of putting you at ease in the most difficult situations.”
Bourgeois is survived by a wife and five children. Fundraisers are underway online to assist the family.
The “All In All The Time Foundation,” a non-profit which provides immediate response to the needs of the Naval Special Warfare community, has created a Bourgeois Family Fund. Go to this link to make a donation in support of the family. There’s also a GoFundMe page for the family, and a Facebook fundraiser organized by the Navy Football Brotherhood Inc.