A former US Navy SEAL who went AWOL in 2019 was killed in Ukraine this week, US officials said Friday. They said he was not fighting in an official capacity.
Petty Officer First Class Daniel W. Swift was killed in Ukraine on Wednesday, the Navy said.
No other details were available, such as whether Swift’s body was taken out of Ukraine.
The Navy said he abandoned his San Diego, Calif., post in March 2019.
At least five Americans are known to have died in action in Ukraine, according to a State Department statement and reports from individual families.
Swift enlisted in the Navy in 2005 and was assigned to SEAL units in 2007. He voluntarily retired in January 2014, but re-enlisted in 2015 and a year later he was assigned to the SEAL unit. After he deserted, Naval Special Warfare Command disqualified him from his SEALs, essentially revoking the trident his SEALs wore.
Swift also worked as a police officer in Medford, Oregon for just over three months in 2015. Medford Police Department Deputy Chief Trevor Arnold had no further information on Friday.
He wrote a book in 2020 called The Fall of a Man. He became his father at the age of 20, according to the Amazon page, and “by the time he was 30, he had five deployments as a Navy SEAL to Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen.” It adds that he had four children.
Washington has discouraged Americans from fighting for Ukraine, citing concerns that they might be captured and held hostage by Russian forces. 6,000 people contacted the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington for information on how to volunteer to represent Ukraine.
A Ukrainian military attaché said last year that half of all applicants were quickly rejected for lack of military experience, having a criminal record, or for other reasons.
An unknown number of Americans have joined forces with foreign fighters in support of Kyiv, including former military personnel. Others volunteer with aid groups and human rights organizations. The Biden administration has clarified that no U.S. military personnel are currently in combat in Ukraine.
The State Department declined to specifically mention Swift’s death, but said in a statement that it could confirm the recent death of a US citizen in Ukraine.
“We are in contact with his family and are providing consular assistance where possible,” the State Department said.