Budding Navy SEAL, 21, dies during first week of basic training after getting into difficulty during 'drown-proof' exercise
Seaman James 'Derek' Lovelace died at a a base in Coronado, California
Was pulled out of a pool after getting into difficulty treading water
Navy officials say he was wearing camouflage and a dive mask at the time
He lost consciousness after he was removed but died in hospital
His exact cause of death is not known, but the Navy are now invetsigating
A 21-year-old Navy SEAL trainee has died during his first week of basic training.
Seaman James 'Derek' Lovelace was pulled out of the pool at a base in Coronado, California, on Friday after showing signs he was having difficulty while treading.
He was wearing a camouflage uniform and a dive mask at the time, Naval Special Warfare Center spokesman Lt. Trevor Davids said.
The exercise is known as 'drown-proofing', and is designed to assess students' competency, confidence and safety in the water.
Lovelace lost consciousness after being pulled out of the pool and was taken to a civilian hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The exact cause of the death is unknown, and Navy officials are investigating, Davids said.
Lovelace was in his first week of training as a SEAL trainee after joining the Navy about six months ago, Davids said.
Lovelace was born in Germany, and he dreamed of becoming a SEAL, according to a death announcement from Whitehurst Powell Funeral Home and Southern Heritage Crematory in his home town of Crestview, Florida.
He enjoyed any activity on the water and played baseball at Crestview High School and Faulkner State Community College in Bay Minette, Alabama, according to the death announcement.
Lovelace joined the Navy and graduated basic training on Jan. 28, 2016, in Great Lakes, Illinois. His awards and decorations include the National Defense Ribbon and Sharpshooter Pistol Qualification.
'I don't know what to say. He was wonderful,' his sobbing grandmother, Jan Pugh, told The Virginian-Pilot. 'It was a dream he was chasing out there. He was determined to become a SEAL . We are all just in shock.'
His mother, Katie Lovelace, died in June 2015 at the age of 44, according to the two media outlets. He is survived by his father and two sisters.
Final arrangements are pending.
'Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of SN Lovelace,' said Capt. Jay Hennessey, commanding officer of the Naval Special Warfare Center. 'Though Derek was very new to our community, he selflessly answered his nation's call to defend freedom and protect this country. He will be sorely missed. We share in his family's grief from this great loss.'
The death comes only days after another Coronado-based SEAL — Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Charles Keating IV — was shot and killed during a gunbattle involving Islamic State fighters in Iraq. Naval Special Warfare will hold a private memorial service for Keating on Thursday for his family, friends and fellow SEAL team member, followed by a private funeral on Friday.
A special procession in Coronado will also be held Friday that will be open to the public. Keating will be buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.