US Navy SEAL who went AWOL in 2019 is killed by Russian forces in eastern Ukraine

US Navy SEAL who went AWOL in 2019 is killed by Russian forces while fighting in eastern Ukraine

  • Daniel W. Swift, an American Navy SEAL, was killed Wednesday
  • The former US Special Forces member went AWOL in 2019
  • The US State Department would not confirm the identity but said the American was killed in action

An American Navy SEAL who went AWOL in 2019 was killed this week during Russia’s attack on eastern Ukraine, officials said on Friday.

Daniel W. Swift, a Navy Special Warfare Operator First Class, was killed Wednesday. He died after being injured with a unit attacked by Russia, an official said, TIME reported.

The Navy Absentee Collection and Information Centers said that Swift “has been in active deserter status since March 11, 2019,” according to his service records obtained by the news agency.

Although the US State Department declined to confirm Swift’s identity, it did issue a statement that an American was killed in action.

“We can confirm the recent death of a US citizen fighting in Ukraine,” the statement said. “We are in contact with his family and are providing all the consular support we can. Out of respect for the family’s privacy at this difficult time, we have nothing further to add.”

Daniel W. Swift, a Navy Special Warfare Operator First Class, was killed Wednesday. He died after being injured with a unit attacked by Russia, the official said, TIME reported

Daniel W. Swift, a Navy Special Warfare Operator First Class, was killed Wednesday. He died after being injured with a unit attacked by Russia, the official said, TIME reported

The Navy told the Washington Times that it “cannot speculate as to why the former sailor was in Ukraine,” and gave no further details about his US military history.

Swift, who was from Oregon, was first drafted in 2005. He is the recipient of a number of medals, including the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, and the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, according to his service records to be released.

Although his records do not detail any of his deployments or SEAL teams in which he may have served, a few assignments were listed, including Naval Special Warfare ‘Cold Weather Detachment’ from Kodiak, Arkansas in 2007 and two various assignments in the West Coast-based Special Warfare Unit(s) between July 2007 and January 2014, Time reported.

His last assignment began in August 2017 and was with a West Coast Special Warfare Unit.

Author Ryder Thompson’s A Fall of A Man, out August 2020, tells Swift’s compelling story as a soldier, father and husband.

The book offers some glimpses into Swift’s life, including finding his first love at age 15 – the woman he would eventually marry. His introduction to military life – he started with the BUDS – At the age of 18 basic training as a SEAL for underwater destruction. He was a father of four children and had his first child at the age of 20.

By the age of 30, Swift had served five times as a Navy SEAL in countries including Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen.

“He returned home after serving his country to have everything he tore up,” reads the description of the book, which is available on Amazon.

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Soldiers on the battlefield fighting in Ukraine during the war

Soldiers on the battlefield fighting in Ukraine during the war

According to State Department statements and reports from individual families, Swift is the sixth known American to die in combat in Ukraine since Russia first invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

The US government has stopped Americans from fighting for Ukraine and fears they could be captured and held hostage by Russian forces, NBC News reported.

At least 6,000 people contacted the Ukrainian embassy in Washington at the start of the war for information on how to volunteer in Ukraine.

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Bradford Betz

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