Navy SEAL killed by ISIS gave up track stardom to fight
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 some of his 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 mother, Krista Joseph of Jacksonville, Fla., said her son wanted to serve his country and that he died doing what he loved. She added, “he was our golden boy with a million-dollar smile and a heart of gold.”
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.
The U.S. troops who were on the ground had to fight back before the QRF troops arrived. “They fought back… They fought out,” Warren said, adding that one truck bomb and a bulldozer broke through a Peshmerga check point and began a sprint to Tel Askuf.
He said there were about 125 ISIS fighters. “This was a gunfight… There were bullets everywhere.”