Charlie Keating IV, the Navy SEAL shot dead by ISIS in Iraq on Tuesday, set aside a promising future in sports to join the terror fight overseas, according to friends.
Keating, 31, died in combat in the town of Tel Askuf, likely from AK-47 fire, officials said. He was the third American serviceman to die in combat in Iraq since the U.S.-led coalition launched its anti-ISIS campaign in the summer of 2014.
The Navy SEAL was a former Phoenix high school star distance runner who went on to run cross country and track at Indiana University before attending the Naval Academy and becoming a SEAL based out of San Diego.
His cousin was the former swimming champion Gary Hall Jr., who won a total of ten medals across three Olympics. His father was a three-time All-America swimmer from 1974-77 and finished fifth in the breaststroke at the 1976 Olympics.
At the same time, his family name carried notoriety. He was the grandson of Charles H. Keating, Jr., a notorious Arizona financier who went to prison for his role in the 1980s savings and loan scandal.
The Navy SEAL was part of the Quick Reaction Force (QRF) sent in to rescue fewer than a dozen U.S. troops who were in the village “advising and assisting” the Kurdish Peshmerga, U.S. military spokesman Col. Steve Warren told reporters.
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