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KEY WEST, Fla. -- A Navy SEAL from Western North Carolina died Tuesday morning during dive training in the Florida Keys.
Ronald Tyler Woodle, 26, of Waynesville, N.C., was reported missing while dive training with a small group of Navy SEALs.
A search team found Woodle within minutes. He was unconscious and CPR was initiated.
Petty Officer Ronald Woodle
Woodle was transported Lower Keys Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The Navy said a complete investigation into the incident has begun.
"Petty Officer Ronald Woodle was developing into an exceptional operator and was dedicated to the SEAL ethos. Our hearts go out to his family and friends in this very difficult time," said Capt. Colin Kilrain, commander of Naval Special Warfare Group 2. "His loss is felt by the entire special warfare community."
Woodle was born in Asheville, N.C., and grew up in the greater Asheville area.
Woodle is survived by his mother and father, Ron and Kathi Woodle, and two sisters. One of Woodle's sisters lives in Greenville.
Woodle attended Mars Hill College on a soccer scholarship for two years. He then went on to work in the construction field, spending four months researching the military before he decided to enlist in the Navy. His passion was to join the elite Navy SEALs.
"He wanted to do what was the most challenging and toughest thing to do, which was to be a SEAL," said his sister Jerica.
Woodle's mother says he was always the consummate gentleman, even in competitive sports he would stop and help up other players that fell during soccer matches. Growing up he loved video games, music and movies. No matter how bad the movie was he'd watch every one he could find.
"When I think of Tyler I think of his smile, he had such a big smile and a beautiful heart," said his mother Kathi.
Woodle enlisted in the U.S. Navy June 25, 2007.
"Petty Officer Woodle was an example of a generation of young Americans who have unselfishly answered our nation's call over the past nine years. He was a professional Sailor and an exceptional SEAL operator who embodied the best of what America represents. He will be truly missed, and our condolences go out to his family," said his commanding officer.
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