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SEAL hero reminder of debt owed to those who serve

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This photo provided by the Department of Defense shows Navy Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Christopher J. Chambers. Chambers is one of the two SEALs who were lost at sea during a raid on a boat carrying illicit Iranian-made weapons to Yemen. The two were lost in the roiling high seas off the coast of Somalia. (Department of Defense via AP)

In a world where the worst is too often on display, it’s easy to forget that the best among us carry on without fanfare.

They don’t spew hatred through bullhorns, they don’t block traffic and buildings in a bid for attention, they don’t deface posters of kidnapped children or burn flags. They aren’t zealous “rebels” espousing the cause du jour from the comfort of a dorm.

These are not social justice warriors, they’re real warriors, stepping up to serve and protect.

Navy SEAL Christopher Chambers was one who exemplified such courage, honor and sacrifice.

Chambers, a Westfield native, was one of two SEALs lost during an operation in the Arabian Sea on Jan. 11. He was a Special Warfare Operator who jumped in to save his teammate, Special Warfare Operator 2nd Class Nathan Gage Ingram, losing his life while doing so.

It’s easy to forget that people of such mettle are on duty every day. One can’t imagine a Navy SEAL or other member of our armed forces complaining that “adulting is hard,” or needing a safe space.

They make spaces safe.

Chambers and Ingram, members of the SEAL Team 3, were on a raid on a boat carrying illicit Iranian-made weapons to Yemen in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Somalia. The Houthis in Yemen. according to the BBC, declare themselves to be part of the Iranian-led “axis of resistance” against Israel, the US and the wider West – along with armed groups such as Hamas and Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement. They’ve been attacking ships in the Red Sea as part of this agenda.

It’s a dangerous place to be in, yet SEALs like Chambers and Ingram go toward the danger, not away from it.

They took an oath when they enlisted, to “solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

Here, oaths are taken seriously. There’s no need for do-overs.

Members of our military like Chambers and Ingram are not a sought-after political demographic. No one is rushing to lighten their fiscal load in return for votes. Yet they enlist, re-up and report for duty in hotspots the rest of us only see on the news.

And sometimes, far too often to bear, their lives are lost in the line of duty. The nation is lesser for it.

Gov. Maura Healey spoke for many: “My deepest sympathies go out to the family, friends and shipmates of Special Operator Chris Chambers, who lost his life while selflessly trying to save his teammate off the coast of East Africa. I’m keeping the Westfield community and all who knew Chris in my thoughts as Massachusetts mourns another tragic loss, and my heart goes out to all of our heroes who serve and our military families.”

May the loss of this hero, and others like him, serve as a reminder of the debt we owe the best among us.


Editorial cartoon by Steve Kelley (Creators Syndicate)
Editorial cartoon by Steve Kelley (Creators Syndicate)

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