On Wednesday, August 24, 2022, Austin Rivers Irby died at the age of 37 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Born and raised in Lakeland, Florida, Austin lived a life full of rich experiences. He graduated from Lakeland High School in 2004 where he proudly wore no. 53 on the Dreadnaughts football team. In 2008, Austin earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of Florida. In 2010, he enlisted in the United States Navy to pursue his dream from childhood – to become a Navy SEAL.
As a SEAL, he reported to his first command, SDVT-1, in 2012 after completing BUD/s with class 285. Austin became a fixture at the command as a Dive Supervisor and Mission Specialist, serving first with Task Unit Delta and then Task Unit ONE during the conduct of a sensitive maritime tasking in support of national objectives. Desiring to professionally diversify, he transferred to SEAL Team Two, deploying to Somalia twice as a Sniper.
Returning to SDVT-1 in 2020, Austin assumed the role of Leading Petty Officer for Task Unit ONE throughout Unit Level Training and preparations for a maritime special operation. He became one of nine active SEALs to be certified as a Senior Mountaineer by the Army Special Operations Mountain Warfare Center and looked forward to using the qualification as the lead NSW Mountain Warfare instructor in Kodiak, Alaska.
He has been awarded the Bronze Star, Navy Commendation Medal (two awards), Navy Achievement Medal (three awards), as well as various personal and unit awards for his dedication and service.
“Big Irb” was a force to be reckoned with, and the halls of SDVT-1 have gotten smaller without him.
In every circle, Austin was known for his humor, kindness, and independent spirit. He was a thoughtful and loving son, beloved brother, valued teammate, and a joy to the lives of many. He loved being outdoors, the state of Florida, and U.S. history. He is survived by his parents Mark R. Irby and Debbie L. Irby, brother Logan Irby and his wife Julia Irby – all reside in Lakeland. There are no services planned at this time. Condolences may be sent to the family at Heath Funeral Chapel.
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