“He was always very gregarious, a star soccer and lacrosse player
in high school,” his father, James W. Reeves, said. “It had never been obvious to me that he was going to choose a military career. It is very difficult to make it on these Seal teams. But that was where he knew he needed to be.”
They came from the same town, Shreveport, La. They were high school friends. Both men, Robert James Reeves and Jonas Kelsall, had overcome extreme tests and rigorous training to serve on the same elite Seal team. Both were assigned the same mission, and put in the same helicopter, only to perish together.
The helicopter crash in Afghanistan that killed 30 American servicemen over the weekend, including 22 members of the Navy’s most elite counterterrorism unit, brought the pain of a double loss to a Louisiana river port on Sunday.
Mr. Reeves, a chief petty officer who had turned 32 just days ago, was accepted for Naval Special Warfare training in 1999. He passed the harsh winnowing process to qualify for Seal Team 6, the counterterrorism unit that conducted the raid into Pakistan on May 2 that killed Osama bin Laden.
Since his freshman year of high school, Chief Reeves had been best friends with Mr. Kelsall, who also enlisted in the Navy, tried out for the Seals and passed the trials to join Team 6.