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Two U.S. Navy SEALs died in Afghanistan Thursday night from injuries they suffered on September 11 during combat operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator John Wayne Marcum, 34, and Chief (select) Special Warfare Operator Jason Richard Freiwald, 30, both distinguished and highly decorated combat veterans, were fatally shot in Afghanistan during a battle with heavily armed militants.
Marcum and Freiwald were forward deployed to Afghanistan from the Naval Special Warfare Development Group at Dam Neck in Virginia Beach.
"The deaths of SOCS Marcum and SOC Freiwald are tremendous losses for Naval Special Warfare and the United States, " said Capt. Scott Moore, Commanding Officer of NSWDG. "These men were true warriors, dedicated to their country, their fellow SEALs, and the cause for which they were fighting. They died while taking the fight to the enemy, going in harm's way with the selflessness that resonated in their character and made them giants among men.
SOCS Marcum and SOC Freiwald were American heroes who put their lives on the line, completing multiple combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. They served with honor and distinction. The thoughts and prayers of the Naval Special Warfare community are with their families."
Marcum, a native of Flushing, Mich., was a graduate of Flushing Senior High School. He enlisted in the Navy on August 5, 1991 and reported to Recruit Training Command in Orlando, Fla., on the same day.
After completing basic training he attended the Navy and Marine Corps Intelligence Training Center, Dam Neck, Va., before reporting to Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training at Coronado, Calif. BUD/S is the first step to becoming a Navy SEAL and is six months of the most demanding training in the military. Upon graduation from BUD/S, Marcum attended Basic Airborne School in Ft. Benning, Ga. He then reported to his first permanent duty station at SEAL Team 2 at Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek, Va.
Marcum completed many rigorous qualifications at SEAL Team 2 to prepare him for combat, including sniper training, DoD Hostage Survival School, and SEAL diving supervisor. Marcum distinguished himself during multiple combat deployments in support of Joint Army and NATO operations. In March 2000 Marcum transferred from SEAL Team 2 and began the demanding selection and training program at NSWDG. His training included military free-fall parachuting; emergency medical response, Survival, Escape, Resistance and Evasion courses; advanced pistol and rifle; and several other courses. Marcum completed the arduous training and received orders to Naval Special Warfare Tactical Development and Evaluation Squadron 2.
Marcum is a highly-decorated combat veteran and received numerous awards, including four Bronze Star medals with combat "V" distinguishing device; Joint Service Commendation medal; two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation medals; Army Commendation medal; Joint Service Achievement medal; two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, four Combat Action ribbons, and a multitude of personal, unit and campaign decorations.
Marcum is survived by his loving wife, Cynthia; his daughter, Madison; and his mother and father.
Freiwald was born Dec. 20, 1977 in Utica, Michigan where he later graduated from Armada Senior High School. He enlisted in the Navy on April 25, 1996 and reported to Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Ill., on November 5, 1996. After completing basic training he graduated from the Navy and Marine Corps Intelligence Training Center, Dam Neck, Va., before reporting to Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training at Coronado, Calif. Upon graduating from BUD/S, Friewald completed Basic Airborne School in Ft. Benning, Georgia.
He then reported to his first permanent duty station at SEAL Team 5 at Naval Amphibious Base, Coronado, Calif. He served at SEAL Team 5 for two years before transferring to SEAL Team 3 in Coronado. While at SEAL Teams 5 and 3 he completed numerous qualifications to prepare him for combat, including sniper training, Arabic, and tactical rock climbing, to name only a few.
Freiwald also distinguished himself during multiple combat deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In March 2005, Freiwald transferred from SEAL Team 3 and began the demanding selection and training program at NSWDG. Friewald completed the arduous training and received orders to Naval Special Warfare Tactical Development and Evaluation Squadron 2.
Freiwald is a highly-decorated SEAL combat veteran including the Bronze Star medal with combat "V" distinguishing device; Joint Service Commendation Medal with combat "V" distinguishing device; two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation medal with combat "V" distinguishing device; the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement medal; Combat Action ribbon, and numerous personal, unit and campaign medals.
Freiwald is survived by his loving wife, Stacey; his daughter, Jasmine; and his mother and father, Terri and Richard Friewald.
"Seven years ago this week, terrorists attacked our nation. SOCS Marcum and SOC Freiwald willing placed themselves in harms way to prosecute our enemies to the farthest corners of the earth," said Rear Admiral Ed Winters, Commander, Naval Special Warfare Command. "We owe them and their families an eternal debt of gratitude for the sacrifices they have made. Their unwavering courage and commitment to protecting our nation will never be forgotten."
Another Navy SEAL assigned to Naval Special Warfare Development Group, Damn Neck was killed in Afghanstan on August 30. Special Warfare Operator First Class (SEAL) Joshua Thomas Harris, 36, a highly decorated combat veteran, drowned after being swept away by turbulent waters while conducting a river crossing during combat operations.
Naval Special Warfare Command is the Navy component of United States Special Operations Command and the special operations component of the United States Navy. The command supports, trains, equips and deploys maritime special operations forces to meet the operational requirements of combatant commanders. These special operations forces include more than 8,400 active-duty and reserve SEALs (Sea-Air-Land) and Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewman (SWCC) operators and support personnel based primarily in San Diego, Calif., Norfolk, Va., and deployed all over the world.