Sean Harvell stands, to the right. Photos courtesy of the Operation Hawkeye Facebook page.
UPDATE | The family of an Air Force veteran found dead on the shores of Long Beach has announced funeral arrangements scheduled for late next week.
The mother of 33-year-old Long Beach man Sean Harvell—who was found dead early Tuesday morning in Alamitos Beach—said on Facebook that arrangements are being made for a funeral at Los Angeles National Cemetery on Friday, May 6. A wake would follow at Joe Josts in Long Beach.
Jane Maher said her son’s midnight death seemed to be an accidental drowning “in front of the beach apartment he loved so much.”
“It seemed he could do anything and was invincible,” she said. “He was a great American hero. He served our country for many years. And he kicked a lot of ass.”
More details to come.
PREVIOUSLY: UPDATE: Man Found Dead on Shore in Long Beach was Millikan Grad and Decorated Air Force Vet
4/26/16 at 4:45PM | A man found dead on the beach this morning after floating in the waters off of Alamitos Beach—33-year-old Sean Harvell of Long Beach—was a Silver Star-awarded Air Force veteran, according to friends, social media, and military news outlets.
Harvell and his brother Andrew, who died in 2011 in Afghanistan, were both Long Beach natives who served in the military. Harvell graduated from Millikan High School in 2000, and his brother graduated in 2002.
Harvell was a former combat controller for the U.S. Air Force who was awarded two Silver Stars in 2007 for his role in the Global War on Terror, becoming the second man during the course of the war to receive two Silver Stars and the first member of the U.S. Air Force to receive two such awards, according to the Military Times.
While on his first engagement as a staff sergeant in Garm Ab Village and Kajaki Sofia, Afghanistan, “Sergeant Harvell, cognizant of his team's precarious situation and increasing casualties in the face of debilitating enemy attacks, deliberately exposed his position to orchestrate close air support, enable an HH-60 medical evacuation and cover the exfiltration of his nine-vehicle convoy and team over a ten-hour period,” the Times wrote. “Completely enveloped by enemy fire and at great personal risk, he calmly directed air attacks, destroying multiple Taliban positions and saving the lives of his teammates.”
He later engaged the Taliban at close range after nearly getting hit by a rocket-propelled grenade, enabling other special operations team members to recover the remains of all service members, according to the Times, receiving his first Silver Star.
His second Silver Star was awarded for his efforts on July 25, 2007 near Kherwaray Village, Afghanistan. During that episode, Harvell risked his life multiple times for his teammates, eventually providing covering fire as they exited after a battle with the Taliban, being the last to leave. He eventually killed over 50 insurgents, the Times reported.
Harvell was so praised, he appeared in a U.S. Air Force recruiting video on Facebook:
Harvell’s death follows that of his brother, whom former Mayor Bob Foster publicly memorialized and offered condolences for. During that same time, the mayor authorized all city facilities to fly the American flag at half staff.
Officials say the investigation is ongoing.
PREVIOUSLY: Body of Man Found on Shore Near Long Beach's Alamitos Beach
3:22PM | The body of a man was found dead on the beach near the area of 9th Place and Ocean Avenue after floating offshore near Alamitos Beach early this morning, officials confirmed today.
According Sgt. Brad Johnson of the Long Beach Police Department (LBPD), officers were dispatched to a screaming subject on the beach around 1:00AM. Upon arrival, they discovered a private security person performing life-saving measures on the man, who had been found in the water.
Officers attempted life saving measures as well, before the Long Beach Fire Department (LBFD) arrived and took over.
The man could not be resuscitated, according to the LBFD’s Brian Fisk, and was determined deceased.
The man was later identified as 33-year-old Sean Harvell, whose city of residence was unknown, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office.
The investigation is ongoing, said Johnson.