An AWOL U.S. Navy Seal, Daniel W. Swift, has reportedly been killed in Ukraine.
A former U.S. Navy SEAL who went AWOL in 2019 was killed this week in Ukraine, American officials said Friday. They said he was not fighting in an official capacity.
Daniel W. Swift, who was a 1st class petty officer, was injured in Dnipro and died of his wounds, said one of the officials, who all spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss personnel issues.
No other details were available, including whether Swift’s body has been taken out of Ukraine.
The Navy said he deserted his post in San Diego, California, in March 2019. “We cannot speculate as to why the former Sailor was in Ukraine,” the Navy said.
At least five other Americans are known to have died fighting in Ukraine, according to State Department statements and reports from individual families.
Swift joined the Navy in 2005 and was assigned to a SEAL unit in 2007. He voluntarily left the service in January 2014, but rejoined in 2015, and was assigned to a SEAL unit a year later. After he deserted, Naval Special Warfare Command stripped him of his SEAL qualification — essentially revoking the trident SEALs wear.
An American intelligence official, who first told Rolling Stone about Swift’s death, said he suffered a massive traumatic brain injury and died early Thursday morning. The official asked not to be named because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
Thiemann wrote on Facebook that Ukrainian troops were doing everything they could to keep Swift alive, but their resources are stretched thin as they attempt to accommodate all of the wounded.
Swift was left in critical condition with severe head trauma, per Thiemann, who was not on the operation at the time but briefed by his platoon mates. The other two soldiers are stable and in recovery.
The book, The Fall of a Man by Ryder Thompson, shares some of Swift’s life, “At age fifteen Daniel Swift found the woman he loved. He started Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL (BUDS) training at the age of eighteen. At age twenty he became a father. By the time he was thirty he had deployed as a Navy SEAL five times to include Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen. He was a father of four children and happily married to the same woman he fell in love with at fifteen, or so he thought. He returned home from serving his country to have everything he was torn apart. This is the story of a soldier, father and husband.”
It is unclear how an AWOL Swift could have traveled to the war zone.