MIAMI, FL, USA
PO1, NAVAL SPECIAL WARFARE DEVELOPMENT GROUP
BALAD, IRAQ 02/07/2008
Petty Officer 1st Class Luis Ariel Souffront, 25, of Miami, was remembered by a cousin as a precious person. “The water was his life and joining the Navy was his passion,” according to Rosanna Tejeda.
Souffront, an explosive ordnance disposalman, was assigned to Naval Special Warfare Group Two, based in Virginia Beach. He died in Iraq on February 2, 2007, during a mission that also injured six of his comrades.
As a combat-support specialist, Luis trained and fought shoulder-to-shoulder with SEAL team members. Explosive ordnance specialists “play a critical role” in special warfare missions, according to a Navy spokesman. Such combat support personnel “go through the same training that the SEALs do before deployment,” he said. They also “work side-by-side with the SEALs on the battlefield, assuming the same risk.” While they may not wear the same patches and insignia, they “are brothers in arms on the battlefield.”
Luis is survived by his mother and father, who reside in Miami. He enlisted in the Navy on July 24, 2000. After boot camp, he attended several specialized training schools and completed Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal School at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida in July 2002. He was then assigned for two months to the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Training Unit One in San Diego and was then transferred to Guam, where he was assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit Five through November 2005. That month, he was transferred to the Virginia Beach-based SEAL Team.Luis’ awards and decorations include the Purple Heart, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, the Army Achievement Medal, a Combat Action Ribbon, two Good Conduct Medals, the National Defense Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Humanitarian Service Medal, two Sea Service deployment awards, two Navy/Marine Corps Overseas Service awards and the Rifle and Pistol Marksmanship Medals.