Lt. Mark Alan Weiss, 35, of Michigan died last Saturday in the waters near Zanzibar, an island off the coast of Tanzania in eastern Africa, according to a statement on an official Naval Special Warfare blog. Weiss was assigned to Coronado-based Special Boat Team 12, Navy Special Warfare Group 4.
"Weiss and a fellow service member were on post-deployment leave to Zanzibar," the statement read. "The other service member was injured and is receiving medical treatment."
Weiss was spearfishing when he died, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
The Michigan native was an enlisted SEAL when he completed his basic SEAL and special warfare advanced training in Coronado between April 2001 and July 2002. He was stationed on the east coast until 2008, when he returned to the western United States to complete the Seaman-to-Admiral 21 programme at the University of Utah. He was commissioned in 2011 following his participation in that programme and was assigned to Coronado in 2016.
Among his awards and honors, Weiss won a Bronze Star Medal with a Combat "V" and the Navy Marine Corps Commendation Medal with a Combat "V" for valor. He was also awarded a Combat Action Ribbon and Iraq Campaign Medal.
The Union-Tribune reported that Weiss is the second Navy SEAL to die in an accident within the last few months after Cmdr. Seth Stone died Sept. 30 while jumping from a hot air balloon in Perris in Riverside County. Authorities determined his parachute failed to open properly.
The newspaper also reported that Weiss had been serving as part of the United States Africa Command, or AFRICOM, prior to his off-duty vacation in Zanzibar. AFRICOM has faced several controversies lately stemming from the deaths of U.S. special forces on the continent.
Four Army Green Berets were killed during an ambush in Niger in early October in an incident that has raised questions about the role of special forces on the continent and sparked concerns about the handling of the situation by the Trump Administration. And the June death of a Green Beret -- Army Staff Sgt. Logan J. Melgar -- has been ruled a homicide by strangulation, with The Daily Beast publishing an explosive report last week that investigators suspect two Navy SEALs killed Melgar after he discovered they were skimming money from a fund meant to pay informants.