Caleb Nelson was born on February 25, 1985, in Omaha, Nebraska. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on December 8, 2004, and went on active duty to begin basic training on August 10, 2005. After completing basic training at NTC Great Lakes, Illinois, in October 2005, he attended machinist's mate training at NTC Great Lakes from October 2005 to April 2006. Petty Officer Nelson next attended Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training at NAB Coronado, California, from May to November 2006, followed by Naval Special Warfare Advanced Training from November 2006 to July 2007. He then served with SEAL Team TEN at NAB Little Creek, Virginia, from July 2007 until he was killed in action when the vehicle he was in hit an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan on October 1, 2011. During this time he deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2009, and to Afghanistan in Support of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2011. Petty Officer Nelson was buried at the Voss Mohr Cemetery in Chalco, Nebraska.
His Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal Citation reads:
For professional achievement while serving as Navigator, Communicator, and Combat Advisor for Naval Special Warfare Detachment Ten Foxtrot in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from March to October 2009. As Provincial Security Force Two and Three Training Team leader, he led three SEALs in the planning, coordination and instruction for 25 host nation partners, increasing their unilateral combat operation capability. He expertly coordinated four days of helicopter assault force training for 60 Iraqi special weapons and tactics personnel, improving their combat effectiveness. Petty Officer Nelson's exceptional professionalism, unrelenting perseverance, and loyal devotion to duty reflected credit upon him and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.