— -- A Navy SEAL who died during a parachute demonstration was identified today as Remington Peters, a 27-year-old “expert” Naval parachutists who enlisted in 2008, according to the Navy.
"Words cannot begin to express our devastation and heartbreak over the passing of our courageous warrior," his family said in a statement released today. "His accomplishments far outweigh his years. Anyone that has ever had the pleasure of knowing Remi could attest to his fierce loyalty to his friends, family, and his country.
"We are so grateful for all that he taught us, and all the love he gave us in his 27 wonderful years. Today, we honor our selfless, humble, and quiet professional,” the statement concluded.
The SEAL, who had been a member of the Navy’s parachute team for a little more than a year, was honored at a Memorial Day service today at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City. He was a native of Colorado.
His parachute failed to open properly during a jump that was part of a Fleet Week event Sunday at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey. He landed in the Hudson River. The Coast Guard and the Jersey City Fire Department marine unit responded immediately and took him to the Jersey Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 1:10 p.m.
In a statement released late Monday, the Navy’s Special Warfare Center attributed the accident to an “equipment malfunction,” but it said the specific nature and cause is still unknown. It said an investigation into the accident is currently underway.
Peters, a veteran of two combat deployments, had more 900 Naval parachute jumps under his belt.
He received more than a dozen medals and awards during his service, including a Combat Action medal, a National Defense Service medal and a Global War on Terrorism Service medal.
"This young special officer's death is an all too real reminder of the hazards our men and women face when building the skills necessary to defend this great nation," the commander of the U.S. fleet forces, Adm. Phil Davidson said during the ceremony. "Our thoughts and prayers are with him, his family and loved ones and his team this Memorial Day."
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio asked for a moment of silence for the fallen SEAL, who was part of the Navy's elite parachute team, the Leap Frogs.
"But unfortunately, as we know, as Fleet Week ends, it ends with deep, deep sorrow," de Blasio said. "And I know on the behalf of all 8 1/2 million New Yorkers, we are feeling sadness, we are feeling sympathy and solidarity with the family of the Navy SEAL we lost just yesterday. We're feeling sympathy not just for his birth family but for his larger family, the men and women of the U.S. Navy."
De Blasio added, "It's a shock to see this loss, but our solidarity with the SEALs is strong."
The fallen service member's name is being withheld until his family has been notified, the Navy said in a statement on Sunday.
"Our hearts and prayers go out to his family, and I ask for all of your prayers for the Navy SEAL community, who lost a true patriot today," said Rear Adm. Jack Scorby, the commander of the Navy's mid-Atlantic region, in a statement yesterday.