NORFOLK, Virginia -- A naval officer from Omaha has been killed in Afghanistan.
The U.S. Department of Defense says 26-year-old Petty Officer 1st Class Caleb A. Nelson died Saturday when his vehicle was struck by an explosive device while on combat patrol in Zabul province.
Nelson was assigned to Naval Special Warfare united based in Norfolk, Va.
Nelson is survived by his parents, his wife, and two sons.
"Caleb Nelson was a cherished teammate, a gifted SEAL operator, and a loving husband and father. His tireless professionalism, inspiring passion for life, and his humble and selfless service to our country made him a role model for all who knew him," said Capt Tim Szymanski, Commander of Naval Special Warfare Group TWO.
"We are deeply saddened by this tremendous loss and yet comforted knowing that Caleb died serving beside the people he loved. Our hearts and prayers go out to the Nelson family during this very difficult time, and we will never forget the ultimate sacrifice that Caleb made while protecting our nation and his teammates."
Petty Officer Nelson was a native of Omaha, Neb. He entered the Navy in the engineering career field and graduated boot camp on October 11, 2005.
He then attended service school training at Great Lakes, Ill and was rated as a Machinist's Mate. After graduating from Navy technical training, Nelson was accepted to attend Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL Training in Coronado, Calif. He graduated SEAL Qualification Training with Class 260 in November 2006.
In December 2006, he reported to his East Coast based Naval Special Warfare Unit where he served until his death in 2011.
Nelson was a highly decorated and seasoned combat veteran. In 2009 he deployed to Iraq in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. In March 2011, Petty Officer Nelson deployed again to Afghanistan in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.
His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star with Valor, Purple Heart, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Sea Service Ribbon (2 awards), NATO Service Medal, Expert Rifle ribbon, and Expert Pistol ribbon.