One of the Navy SEALs presumed dead after a mission off the coast of Somalia was related to generations of public service officials near the Texas panhandle, a relative who knew him said.
In a news release Monday, U.S. military officials announced that the search and rescue efforts for two Navy SEALs — Christopher Chambers and Nathan Gage Ingram — had concluded the previous day. They had been assigned to a Naval special warfare unit and on Jan. 11 were “conducting a night-time seizure” of a ship carrying “advanced lethal aid from Iran to resupply Houthi forces in Yemen.”
Ingram fell into the water during the mission, and Chambers jumped in to save him, according to a report from The Associated Press.
Ingram, who also went by Gage, had an address associated with Roanoke, a city in Denton County, according to driver’s license information available online.
His grandfather, the late Chester Ingram, was Hardeman County’s sheriff for nearly three decades. Chester Ingram served in the Navy as well, according to his obituary. Hardeman County is about 220 miles northwest of downtown Dallas, adjacent to the Oklahoma border.
Hardeman County Judge Ronald Ingram who told The Dallas Morning News that he is Nathan Ingram’s paternal uncle, declined an interview, and said the family is asking for privacy.
“I can tell you Gage was a great guy,” he added.
The Navy SEAL Foundation, a nonprofit that helps active military personnel, veterans and families with ties to the Naval Special Warfare community, has donation pages dedicated to Ingram, 27, and Chambers, 37. Sara Berry, communications manager for the foundation, said donations made through those pages will be used directly to help their families.
Ingram graduated August 2019 from Texas Tech University with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology, said Allison Hirth, a university spokeswoman.
“Nathan Gage Ingram leaves an indelible mark on the Texas Tech University family. As a Navy SEAL, Gage represented the highest standards of courage and selflessness, protecting and defending our country. The Red Raider family mourns with and extends our deepest sympathies to Gage’s family and friends,” the university said in a written statement.
Multiple elected officials have expressed their condolences for the two Navy SEALs and their families.
Gov. Greg Abbott has ordered flags across Texas to fly at half-staff in honor of Ingram. In a post to X, formerly Twitter, Tuesday, Abbott described the fallen Navy SEAL as a hero.
“Texas will never forget his sacrifice,” the post stated.
In a statement released Monday by the White House, President Joe Biden said he is “mourning the tragic deaths of two of America’s finest.”
“Over ten days, the United States military conducted an extensive search and rescue mission. Recovery efforts are still continuing as we grieve this profound loss for our country. These SEALs represented the very best of our country, pledging their lives to protect their fellow Americans,” the statement read. “Our hearts go out to the family members, loved ones, friends, and shipmates who are grieving for these two brave Americans. Our entire country stands with you. We will never fail to honor their service, their legacy, and their sacrifice.”
Roanoke Mayor Carl E. Gierisch also released a statement on his Facebook page in honor of Ingram’s family.
“Our sincere condolences and prayers go out to the Ingram family as today we learned that one of our own hometown heroes won’t be coming home,” part of his post read.
Ingram enlisted in the Navy in September 2019, according to Navy officials. Chambers enlisted in the U.S. Navy in May 2012 and has multiple awards and decorations, including three Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medals, an Army Achievement Medal and a Combat Action Ribbon.
The Jan. 11 mission was part of recent efforts by the U.S. Navy and its allies to intercept weapon shipments to Houthi rebels in Yemen, according to The Associated Press. Military officials told the news outlet that Iranian-made weaponry, including missile parts, was seized in the raid.