Chief Petty Officer Brad Cavner, 31, was killed Monday while conducting parachute training jumps. As his colleagues and friends recall, Cavner served with honor in Iraq and Afghanistan and spent a lot of time in San Diego’s Coronado community prior to becoming a SEAL.
It was there that he completed basic underwater demolition/SEAL and SEAL qualification training. Before that, Cavner was an Islander at Coronado High School.
Friends told NBC 7 they’re mourning the hometown patriot – someone gone far too soon.
“I’m still devastated, heartbroken,” said Kari Carty. “I think the only reason I can’t cry is because I’ve cried so much.”
Carty became friends with Cavner around the time he enlisted in the Navy back in February 2003 – right before the Iraq invasion.
“They went over and spent a lot of time in Iraq and Afghanistan and [to] see these struggles people [there] are going through, they wanted them to have the same freedoms and life we do,” she said. “That’s what they fought for and he fought for every day.”
JT Rogan learned a lot from Cavner as his Coronado High School football teammate. Even as a teen, Cavner was a motivating leader with a strong work ethic.
“Don’t ever give up and when you think it’s different, the mind will quit long before the body will. He would push to the limit every time, all the time,” Rogan told NBC 7.
That lifelong determination resulted in Cavner being honored with more than 10 medals over the course of his Navy career, including the Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V" and a combat action ribbon.
Rogan said his dedication will never be forgotten.
“Thank you for your service to the country. Thanks for being a great ambassador for our city,” he added.
One of Cavner’s commanders called him a "warrior who selflessly answered his nation's call to defend freedom and protect us."
A memorial service for the fallen SEAL is scheduled for Sunday in Coronado.