Seth A. Stone
September 17, 1976 - September 30, 2017
Seth Anthony Stone, 41, left us early Saturday morning 30 September 2017 in Perris, CA. A Commander in the U.S. Navy, Seth was among the most highly decorated Navy SEALs and a storied combat leader who helped turned the tide for America in two of the most pivotal battles of the Iraq War.
Born 17 September 1976 in Houston, TX, Seth is survived by his mother, Deborah Ann Varsel, his father, James Berlie Stone, his brother, Dustin Alex Stone, and his sister, Heather Stone Blailock.
Seth attended Lamar High School in Houston, TX where he was the Captain of the Lacrosse Team. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1999 with Honors in English. Commissioned as an Ensign in the Navy, his military career started as a Surface Warfare Officer onboard the USS Gettysburg (CG 64). After qualifying as an Officer of the Deck and a successful deployment as the Gunnery/Strike Officer, Seth submitted a lateral transfer package to pursue his original desire to become a Navy SEAL. Seth received his selection, and 5 months after the World Trade Center Towers fell in Manhattan, he started Basic SEAL Training (BUD/S). Graduating with Class 241, Seth joined SEAL Team Three on the West Coast and deployed three times to Iraq. Twice the recipient of the Silver Star Medal, our nation's third highest combat award, Seth's combat record set him apart even among his SEAL Teammates and the many U.S. Soldiers, Marines, Sailors and Airmen with which he served alongside. As a SEAL platoon commander in Iraq during the Battle of Ramadi in 2006 he led some of the toughest sustained urban combat operations in the history of the SEAL Teams. Seth and his SEAL platoon played an integral role in the victorious efforts of the U.S. Army 1st Armored Division's "Ready First" Brigade Combat Team that transformed Ramadi from the most violent and dangerous place in Iraq to a stable, secure and peaceful city. In more than six months of continuous urban combat, a number of his SEALs were wounded. One of Seth's men was killed, Master at Arms Second Class Michael A. Monsoor, when he dove onto a grenade to save three of his SEAL Teammates next to him. For his actions, Petty Officer Monsoor was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Seth returned to Iraq two years later and led a SEAL Task Unit in the pivotal Battle of Route Gold in the volatile section of Baghdad known as "Sadr City." His SEAL Task Unit, which included Chief Petty Officer Chris Kyle, delivered massive impact in protecting U.S. Soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division, bringing the vicious Mahdi Militia fighters to heel, and securing what was then the most dangerous and violent place in Iraq as the level of violence plummeted to near zero. There are few individuals who had greater impact for good on the U.S. efforts in the Iraq War. Seth epitomized the warrior ethos, risking his life on many occasions in combat against our nation's enemies. He saved countless U.S. service members, and helped bring stability to embattled regions of the world.
When not sharpening his skills on the battlefield, he was challenging his exceptional intellect. Seth attended Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, where he earned a Masters in International Relations.
Seth joined SEAL Team Ten and deployed to Afghanistan where he orchestrated combat operations against the Taliban. He then served at the Naval Special Warfare Center's Advanced Training Command, to prepare the next generation of SEALs for the most difficult combat missions across the globe. Seth's final duty station was with Special Operations Command Pacific where he supported U.S. special operations efforts in the Asian-Pacific theatre.
About his military service, Seth said: "It was my honor to fight for my country. The best life is one lived as a sacrifice for others. I love my country, and I loved the [SEAL] Teams. That is what drove me to fight so hard for America while wearing a Trident. At the same time, I did not really consider myself to be a SEAL, but a soldier for the Lord."
Outside of the military, Seth was liked by everyone fortunate enough to cross his path. He was a force of nature, forging life-changing and life-long friendships, and found solace in pursuing his passion for surfing and making music. In everything he did and throughout his life, he served the Lord from a place of deep faith.
Although Seth never had children of his own, he cultivated friendships as strong as family around the world wherever life took him. Whether it was his Houston roots, or San Diego, Hawaii, New Zealand, Australia, Thailand, Princeton, and more, his familial bonds grew. He impacted many lives and people, and they, in turn, became part of the connective tissue that was Seth's intoxicating warmth and boyish joy. His laugh was thunderous, his hands like a catcher's mitt, and his embrace like you were his kin.
Nothing represents the essence of what Seth stood for more than his own words: "Of all the hobbies, wars and other pursuits, being vulnerable and making friends, telling people you care about them, stands alone as my singular achievement in this life. Family, friends and ohana, all made possible by Akua." This was Seth at his core.
Seth has moved on from us to where surfing, music, laughter and love are guaranteed. He has, however, left detailed instructions to friends and family in the way he lived his life that he expects us to follow in celebration of his mission here, which has now been completed. Strict adherence is expected. Any failures will be met with a thunderous laugh, a pounding pat on the back with those big mitts, and an encouraging "get after it!"
Memorial services were held in San Diego, Houston, and Hawaii. Commander Stone will be buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery on 16 October 2017. The Houston memorial service was be held at West University Baptist Church, 6218 Auden St, Houston, Texas 77005, at 10:00 am on 18 October 2017.
Published in Houston Chronicle on Oct. 15, 2017
Ways to Honor Seth's Legacy
In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Navy SEAL Foundation or the SEAL Family Foundation
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