Died during Training February 19, 2013
Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
Assigned to SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team 1
Navy SO1 (SEAL) Matthew Leathers disappeared February 19, 2013, during a breath-hold training dive off Kaena Point, Hawaii. The death of SO1 Leathers was likely a drowning due to a shallow-water blackout. No scuba gear was used for the exercise. At the time of the training dive, Leathers was leading petty officer with the team’s Alpha Platoon.
SO1 Leathers joined the Navy in 1998 and had been part of the unit at the SEALs’ Pearl City Peninsula compound since 2004. Members of Seal Delivery Vehicle Team 1 go on missions using flooded submersibles launched from submarines.
Many of his teammates, including his commanding officer, were of the opinion that Leathers was among the most experienced SEALs and SEAL Delivery Vehicle operators. He could free dive down to 100 feet and was in excellent physical condition.
He was the father of three young children and had deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Matt’s father, Tim Leathers, has always taken pride in his youngest son’s achievements and only now feels comfortable paying public tribute to the man he says was never out for glory. His son’s skills as a warrior and endurance athlete go without saying, but there was more to him. “In our family get-togethers, Matthew was a magnet to the children. They loved him,” Tim Leathers said. “He had that uniqueness to be the warrior that he is, and yet the human being that he is as well.”
Matt Leathers always maintained the importance of remembering the sacrifice of others. “When the time comes we have to never forget, and just remember them.”- Matt Leathers
SO1 Matthew Leathers was 33 years old from Woodland, California
Original portrait was presented September 22, 2014 to his parents and extended family during a special SEAL event hosted by the Birdies for the Brave Charity Golf Event, Half Moon Bay, California