Navy SEAL, AWOL, killed in Ukraine

| January 21, 2023

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Daniel W. Swift was a Navy Special Warfare Operator First Class, who was classified as an “active deserter” in 2019. He was among the foreigners that went to Ukraine to fight alongside the Ukrainians. He was killed as the Russians conducted one of their assaults in the eastern portion of the frontlines.


Daniel W. Swift, a Navy Special Warfare Operator First Class who had gone AWOL, died Jan. 18 after suffering injuries with a unit under attack by Russia, the official said.

The Navy confirmed that Swift has been in “an active deserter status since March 11, 2019,” but did not provide any additional information. It wasn’t yet known how long Swift was in Ukraine and why he was fighting there.

Swift, who is from Oregon, first enlisted in 2005, according to his releasable service records obtained by TIME. The records don’t detail any of his deployments or SEAL teams he may have served on. They list assignments with a Naval Special Warfare “Cold Weather Detachment” out of Kodiak, Ak. in 2007 and separate stints with two “West Coast-based Special Warfare Unit(s)” from July 2007 to January 2014. Beginning in August 2017, Swift was with a “West Coast Special Warfare Unit.”

Special operations forces, like Navy SEALs, conduct dangerous and secret missions throughout the world. Swift’s records list several awards that imply combat deployments, including an Iraq Campaign Medal, an Afghanistan Campaign Medal, a Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal and a Legion of Merit. But the records do not provide any additional information related to Swift’s 2019 classification as an “active deserter,” which caused him to lose his status as a Navy SEAL.

Since Russia first invaded Ukraine last February, the Biden Administration has insisted that U.S. troops will not fight in Ukraine and encouraged Americans not to travel to fight there. But thousands of people from dozens of countries have gone to Ukraine to join the fight against Russia. has the rest of the information here.

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Old tanker

The guy deserts one military to die while fighting with another military in a country far away. Sounds like a real screwy situation.


Something’s jacked-up there, one way or another.


I’m betting this UA thing has something to do with assaulting his ex wife and holding her hostage or something like that.

In the end, the desertion will be the rancid cherry on the top of the felony charge sheet the Navy looked the other way on.


Yeah, not too swift eh?

jeff LPH 3 63-66

You beat me to that one Beans, and a rimshot goes out.


By fighting for a foreign nation he may have voided his US citizenship.


That’s a bonus for those who live through it.

After they are done fighting they can walk right back in through the Southern Border and give horror tall tales and demand political asylum. Demand free housing, food, medical care and tell them you want to resettle in the US to escape the horrors of war./ sarc

But factually you are incorrect about losing citizenship. The foreign nation has to be in conflict with the United States unless the person intends to give up nationality (ie joining the FFL).


No. You can fight for a foreign nation.

You can’t fight for a nation that is at war with the US.


While you repeated most of what I wrote you left out the part about intending to give up citizenship.

USMC Steve

I don’t think that counts unless they take up arms against the US while doing so, does it?


Can a native-born citizen have it revoked? I know they can surrender it, and naturalized citizens can have it revoked, but that’s it.

A Proud Infidel®™

I’m betting that you ain’t ChipNASA, Moderators?


He was just going for a hike in the renowned Donbas region, as many middle-aged American veterans do. Nothing suspicious about it at all.


A Legion of Merit? Wow!

Frankly, I’m not one of those who pays attention to who gets what in the awards realm, but I have never heard of a PO1 receiving a Legion of Merit.

I don’t agree with him going UA, but I still respect his service and may he rest in peace.


I saw one LoM awarded in 24 years of active duty, and it was a retirement award for a SGM.


I’m with you on the LoM, I’ve never seen one in the enlisted rank below O-6. Not saying they don’t happen but E-6 looks pretty suspect. Those were my thoughts when I saw this report earlier today elsewhere. I figured it would show up on TAH and over time the truth would come out. I suspect a FOIA is in works.


Yeah, the LoM was listed with a bunch of participation ribbons. I’ll bet my per diem check Time got it wrong and it’s really a Meritorious Unit Award or some such.


Not exactly true. They woukd award the LOM on Joint Task Forces and not just 06 and above. I have seen a couple of SEAL’S, EOD and some of my SeaBee brothers with them usually E7 and above, but could see an E6 SO type on a JTF receive one as an LNO for SOF units.


Something is fishy. I imagine when the other shoe drops it will slip out of box in Joe’s garage or attic.


Not corruption when Democrats do it.


I call BS on the LoM, and a Combat Action Ribbon would imply a combat deployment.


Who knows what he was thinking or what situation prompted his “fuck it I quit” but he definitely wasn’t a pussy.


Some are asking “how did he clear TSA, ICE and passport control leaving the United States and arriving in Europe without popping up as an ‘active deserter’?”

That would depend on whether he was immediately criminally declared a deserter, or merely started off AWOL and after 30 days was administratively declared a deserter. The latter can take well over a month to make it into the NCIC.

“Well, Swift’s gone, Master Chief.”
“Send someone out to his house and check on him.”
“He’s not there, we’re pinging his phone.”
“Dammit, keep looking, check with his Mom and Dad.”
“Will do.”
“It’s been 30 days, no joy, and he is still filling the billet.”
“Declare him a deserter, drop him from the rolls, notify personnel we have a vacancy.”
“Aye Aye, Master Chief.”

He may already have been in Europe for a month or more. When he died, he would be shown as an active deserter by the Navy.


Legion of Merit? As an E-6? Nah…not buying it. A LOT of weird shit about his story: deserting, supposedly holding his wife hostage, etc. Crazy story all around, and from what I’ve read he had 4 kids too. Sucks they gotta know daddy was a deserter.


Honest question here…
When would deserting become morally acceptable for you?
Let’s say we take Afghanistan back and eventually our mission involves opening and protecting ‘ Gender Afirming Care ‘ clinics for Afghan ‘ women and girls ‘ and the USO only does drag shows.
Would you desert out of resistance, or wear the Woke Army’s raspberry beret?


There is a 2020 book ABOUT Swift.
Who knows what more this brings to the table.
Except perhaps a really really shitty wife.
And other dudes,
perhaps another Navy SEAL taste testing the clam sauce.

[At age fifteen Daniel Swift found the woman he loved.
He started Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL (BUDS) training at the age of eighteen.
At age twenty he became a father.
By the time he was thirty he had deployed as a Navy SEAL five times to include Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen.
He was a father of four children and happily married to the same woman he fell in love with at fifteen, or so he thought.
He returned home from serving his country to have everything he was torn apart.

This is the story of a soldier, father and husband.]


I think they changed the regulation or guidance on the LoM to make it more possible for someone under 06 and E9 to get it.

There was several articles over the last few years of lower ranking soldiers getting it. I think for lower ranks it is seen as being awarded “by exception”.


There’s no direct rank requirement or limit on any award. Lower enlisted or junior officers are highly unlikely to be working at a level of responsibility that warrant an award such as the LoM.


The Navy pilot that shot down several MiGs in an inferior plane had a Legion of Merit with V device. I can’t see anyone changing an award just to give it out to more people…interpreting what justifies it maybe. Until I saw that I believed it was simply an E9/O6+ award for Merit, since I only saw it retirement and PCS ceremonies and never to E8- or O5-.
I wrote my Retirement award as one, not expecting it to be approved as such. Instead of just approving it and downgrade to MSM they rewrote it, leaving out all the new and interesting stuff, and tried to make me happy they got it approved by my retirement!


Maybe he shoulda had a longer talk with his Good Idea Fairy before he went to the ‘Kraine?

Old 1SG, US Army (retired)

Does any of our Navy SEAL brethren know this guy and perhaps shed some light on this dude’s service?

Why in the hell would he go AWOL (desert) and go to Ukraine to fight? Doesn’t make any sense… as someone already said, not too SWIFT!


A deathwish methinks.
He had just had enough and wanted to kill as many Russians as possible before going down in a blaze of glory.