SALT LAKE CITY -- Two Navy SEALs killed over the weekend in Afghanistan when their helicopter was shot down were raised in Utah, and died doing what they loved, serving their country, family and friends said.
Jared William Day, 28, grew up in the Salt Lake City area. He joined the Navy in 2002 "because he loved his country, the people who live here, and the freedoms we all have," his family said in a statement Wednesday. They say the Navy SEAL had participated in multiple missions in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, and was an Information Systems Technician First Class. He rose to become an elite member of the Naval Special Warfare Development Group where he served as tactical commander.
"He was truly special, not only to our family, but to this country," his family said. "Jared's memory will live in our hearts forever."
Jason Workman, who grew up in the small town of Blanding, also died in the crash Saturday that killed 36 other U.S. and Afghan soldiers, included 22 Navy SEAL personnel.
Friends say Workman had his sights set on becoming a Navy SEAL as a young teenager. He was about 14 when his older brother graduated from West Point. That's when he knew he wanted to be an elite soldier, childhood friend Tate Bennett told The Deseret News. Then came the Sept. 11 terror attacks. Workman's calling grew even stronger.
"Not making it just wasn't an option," Bennett said. "He didn't become a Navy SEAL by chance. He knew that's what he wanted at a young age and made it happen."
Blanding Mayor Toni Turk said Workman came home each year to visit. During his last trip, he led training sessions with local law enforcement, sharing his military skills, and planned to provide more training during a trip home this fall, Turk said.
"He fulfilled his dream and his ambition," he said.
Workman had a wife and a 21-month-old son.