Nations first Navy SEAL and local native passes away

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SOMERSET COUNTY, MEYERSDALE, PA (WTAJ) — The nation’s very first Navy SEAL, a man from our region has passed away on Tuesday morning at the age of 90.

Harry Beal led a full life and had lots of love for his hometown of Meyersdale, Somerset County. His son Mack says Beal wanted to make it to 90 years old. He was glad to say that he accomplished that. But Beal accomplished so much more during his life.

Harry Milton Beal entered the United States Navy in 1948 as a Gunner’s Mate and became the first to sign up to be a Navy SEAL. He then went on to be a SEAL instructor, specializing in underwater demolition.

Mack Beal says “he made it through the training and very few people do. Underwater demolition teams and field teams, when they go through their training… they’ve had classes where 100 people would start and no one would finish.”

He adds that he remembers growing up and visiting the naval base with his dad and his dad’s team. Younger Beal tells us that “in the 60’s you were getting your James Bond and Marvel comics and superheroes. I always thought I knew where the superheroes were they were right at the base.”

Harry Beal had a great love for his wife of 67 years, who passed away in 2018.

Beal also loved his community. Mack Beal says “he loved talking to people on the trails and in town and loved talking to people and telling them jokes and stories.” And the community loved him back. Early this year, the former Beachley St. Bridge in Somerset County was named the ‘Harry Beal Bridge’ in his honor. This past August, he got a chance to take a seat on it, while being admired by people from all over.

Mack Beal says “for the seals, one of their biggest ploys in the worst storm that was going on that’s when they would go out and when he passed away the other morning it was when we were having freezing rain, sleet, and hail. I said dad went out just like they usually did as a SEAL.”

The family of Harry Beal invites the public to pay their respects on Thursday at Price Funeral Service in Meyersdale from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. There’s also going to be a private funeral service will be held on Friday with military honors.

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