Nic Checque wanted to be a Navy SEAL from his high school days. A Monroeville, Pennsylvania kid who wrestled and played football, Checque steeled himself. Cold showers. Sleeping in a  closet. No jacket on a chilly day.

Buddies pointed out how hard it would be to join the Navy SEALs. Only one in five survives their legendary entry training, but his family had no doubts.

“I thought, you have no idea who this kid is,” his sister Ashley recalled. “He will make it and then some. He was an everyday warrior.”

Checque survived Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training and then some, joining the military’s most storied unit: Seal TEAM 6.

He was the point man on a 2012 Team 6 mission and was fatally shot rushing in first to rescue an American hostage from a Taliban compound. For his courage, Checque was posthumuously promoted to chief and received the Navy’s second-highest valor award, which was presented without fanfare at a private ceremony in Virginia Beach last year. Word of the Navy Cross — and Checque’s heroism — only emerged in February when his teammate, Senior Chief Special Warfare Operations (SEAL/FMF/SW) Ed Byers, received the Medal of Honor.

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Image courtesy of Navy Times, Ashley Checque