Charles Keating IV, the Navy SEAL who died on Tuesday in the town of Tel Askuf, Iraq, gave up his running future to join the fight overseas, according to his friends and family.
Officials have reported that the 31 year-old died most likely from AK-47 gunfire. Keating is the third American servicemen to be killed since the United States-led coalition began its campaign against ISIS in June 2014.
Keating was a 2004 graduate of Arcadia High School in Phoenix, Arizona. There, he was a 3 time city and regional champion in the 1,600 meter run. After high school, he went to Indiana University and became a part of the cross country and track teams there. He then attended the Naval Academy and became a Navy SEAL out of San Diego.
Keating had an athletic ancestry, as his father was a three time All-American Swimmer in college and then made it all the way to the Olympics in 1976. His cousin, Gary Hall Jr. made it to three Olympics as a swimmer, where he earned 10 total medals.
Besides having an athletic ancestry, Keating also had a military one. His great grandfather, Charles Keating served in World War I and his grandfather, Charles Keating Jr. served as a Navy pilot during World War II.
Charles Keating Jr. later became a lawyer and a businessman who made millions of dollars by getting himself involved in the 1980’s savings and loan bubble.
U.S. Senator John McCain, who was implicated in the bubble back in the 1980’s made a statement saying,
“I send my deepest prayers and condolences to the family and loved ones of Charlie Keating who was tragically killed in action fighting ISIL in Iraq. Like so many brave Americans who came before him, Charlie sacrificed his life in honorable service to our nation for a cause greater than self-interest, which we can never truly repay.”
Keating was a part of the QFR, also known as the Quick Reaction Force that was given the task of retrieving U.S. troops that were on the ground in the village “advising and assisting” Peshmerga forces, U.S. military spokesman Col. Steve Warner said to reporters.
Warren said that a truck bomb and a bulldozer was used to break through Peshmerga lines to get to Tel Askuf and there were roughly 125 ISIS fighters that were a part of the gunfight. The area was very dangerous for the Quick Reaction Force to be in since it is only five miles away from ISIS territory.
Warren reported that at 9:30 A.M, Keating was shot and was evacuated by a helicopter at 10:19, but unfortunately died soon after. The helicopter while evacuating the area was also hit by small arms fire.
Iraq: ISIS releases pics from failed offensive on Tel Skuf. Peshmerga, Seals and US air support repelled the attack. pic.twitter.com/inU1kwqhGo
— Björn Stritzel (@bjoernstritzel) May 4, 2016
Robert Reniewicki, told reporters that Keating made the decision to join the U.S. Military after the September 11, 2001 attacks. “He was a tremendous athlete, a tremendous person. I’m devastated. I’m crushed. I’m trying to hold myself together,” Reniewicki told Phoenix TV station KTVK.
He said that Keating was planning to get married in November.
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