SEAL Team 1 commanding officer Robert “Bobby” Ramirez was found dead in his San Diego area home on December nineteenth at the age of forty-seven. He is survived by his wife, Anne, and their four children. Naval Special Warfare Command officials have announced in a statement that there is no suspicion of foul play in the high-profile SEAL’s death. However, an investigation by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department remains ongoing. His cause of death has not been immediately disclosed.
Accolades & Rememberance
Captain David Abernathy, Commander of Naval Special Warfare Group 1 (who oversees all four Coronado-based SEAL Teams), said in a statement to Navy Times, “Bobby was an outstanding leader, devoted husband, and father, and a good friend to us all. This is a devastating loss to our community and all who knew him. We will remain in support of Bobby’s family, friends and teammates during this extremely difficult time.”
Ramirez enlisted in the Navy in 1996 and was commissioned as an officer in 2004. In 2019 he was promoted to the rank of Commander. He had only been in command of Team 1 for one month at the time of his death, having arrived at the unit in June from his last assignment with the Seventh Fleet in Yokosuka, Japan. In his 27-year career, Ramirez was awarded three Combat Action Ribbons and five Bronze Stars, two with “V” devices for valor.
The late Commander attended recruit training in Great Lakes, Illinois, shortly after his enlistment, followed by Combat Systems school in Virginia Beach, Virginia. His next move was to Coronado, California, where he went through Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training in 1997.
Following BUD/S, Ramirez was assigned to an East Coast SEAL Team, where he stayed until 2001 when he became a student in the Seaman to Admiral Program at Old Dominion University in his native Virginia. After his 2004 commissioning, he saw combat in multiple theaters across the globe, including Iraq (where he was deployed four times) and Afghanistan (where he was deployed twice). He worked his way up the SEAL ranks and attended the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.
In addition to the awards noted above, Ramirez was also a recipient of the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, two Good Conduct Medals, and two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals.
Other Recent Command Losses
Ramirez was the second SEAL team commander to die in just over the span of one year. Commander Brian Bourgeois, who led SEAL Team 8, fell to his death during a fast rope training evolution on December fourth, 2021. He was forty-three years old and had spent almost half of his young life (20 years) in the Navy. The decorated combat veteran fell approximately 40 feet from an Army Black Hawk helicopter on the 4th, was taken to a local hospital, and succumbed to his injuries on the 7th with his family by his side.
Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) took charge of the accident investigation because the aircraft involved in the mishap belonged to and was being operated by the Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR), also known as the Night Stalkers. Factors involved in Commander Bourgeois’s death included communications issues with the aircraft, an early release of the rope that the SEAL was using to descend into the target area, and, according to special operation officials, “a lack of adequate communication between the aircrew and the partner ground force.”
In a review of the accident, USASOC spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Michael Burns said, “USASOC has taken several steps to prevent future events of this nature, including rewriting multiple procedures to ensure both aircrew and partner ground force take appropriate steps to ensure communication is clear and safety remains an utmost concern for all.”
A 2001 graduate of the US Naval Academy, Bourgeois was selected as a Surface Warfare Officer before he attended BUD/S and became a graduate of class 253. He went on to earn his master’s degree in Defense Analysis from the Naval Postgraduate School. He left behind a wife and five children.