On Sunday, May 28 2017 a decorated Navy SEAL died while performing in a skydiving show. The incident occurred near New York City. The Navy Seal’s name was recently released to the public. The skydiver was Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Remington J. Peters.
According to a CNN article, the Navy said the accident occurred due to “an equipment malfunction, though the specific nature and cause is currently unknown.” The Navy also stated this Peters’ parachute malfunctioned and he landed in the Hudson River in New York. Coast Guard members and the Jersey City Fire Department Marine Unit responded at the scene, retrieving Peters from the water and taking him to the Jersey City Medical Center. Peters was pronounced dead at the Jersey City Medical Center.
A statement from the Navy said, “An investigation into the accident is already under way.”
The team Peters is a part of is the Leap Frogs, the United States Navy Parachute Team. The incident occurred during Fleet Week. This is event that has occurred “nearly every year” since 1984. According to militarynews.com, Fleet week is an “honored celebration of the sea services. It is an unparalleled opportunity for the citizens of New York and the surrounding tri-state area to meet Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, as well as witness firsthand the latest capabilities of today’s maritime services.”
Rear Adm. John C. “Jack” Scorby Jr. commented on the accident. “Our hearts and our 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,” Scorby said.
On Monday, Peters’ family released a public statement. The statement was released in combination with the Naval Special Warfare Center in Coronado. This is where Peters was stationed.
The statement read, “Although our time with him was cut short, we are so grateful that we were blessed with such a positive and principled loving man. He is painfully missed. No words can do justice, but we are so grateful for all that he taught us, and all the love he gave up in his 27 wonderful years. Today, we honor our selfless, humble, and quiet professional.”
According to the Navy Special Warfare Center, Peters had completed over 900 parachute jumps. Two of his jumps included combat deployments. According to his service record, Peters enlisted in the Navy SEALS in September of 2009. His training occurred mostly in Illinois and was then relocated to the Coronado base.
Details of Peters’ combat deployment are classified and not made public—both to Afghanistan and Iraq. Peters earned campaign medals for both deployments. In addition, Peters earned the Join Service Achievement Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and twice the Army Achievement Medal.
Leap Frogs is a skydiving team that performs at roughly two-three events each month according to the schedule on their website. Sometimes they will jump from as high as 12,000 feet. According to their website, “Prior to every demonstration, we first do what’s called a ‘streamer pass.’ This helps us gauge wind speed and direction. Sometimes we perform an ‘early burn’ by activating a smoke canister attached to one of our foot brackets. Once you see that ‘early burn’ smoke, it means we’re ready to go.”
Normally the Leap Frog routines involve free falling into a formation with coordinated aerial movements involving smoke and American flags. They have been known to land on precise targets, including at the 50-yard-line in a football stadium.
Skydiving.com reached out to the Leap Frogs for comment on the incident but was unable to get a hold of them.
Since 2009, there have been at least twelve skydiving accidents that have resulted in death in the Navy and the Marine Corps, according to the Naval Safety Center—a military command that tracks accidents and tries to prevent “mishaps to save lives and preserve resources.”