Navy SEAL Killed in Islamic State Attack Identified as Charles Keating IV

Navy SEAL Killed in Islamic State Attack Identified as Charles Keating IV
Courtesy of the U.S. Navy

The Navy SEAL killed in an ISIS attack near Mosul has been identified as Charles Keating IV, 31, of Arizona.

The familiarity of his name is no coincidence, as he was the grandson of businessman Charles Keating Jr., a key figure in the savings & loan crisis of the late eighties. Charlie Keating’s brother William is also a SEAL.

“Charles Jr. rose to prominence in the mid-20th century as a lawyer and businessman who made millions in Phoenix real estate before he was implicated in the $150 billion savings-and-loan crisis that fleeced thousands of depositors with the help of U.S. senators,” CNN recalls. “He always insisted he’d done nothing wrong and served time for fraud, racketeering and conspiracy. The verdicts were later overturned and he pleaded guilty on lesser charges. He died in 2014 at age 90.”

The Keating family has a long history of military service, with Charles Keating Jr. serving as a naval pilot in World War II and his father serving in World War I.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) — who was one of the “Keating Five,” accused of helping the elder Keating avoid federal regulators but was cleared of wrongdoing after an investigation — issued a statement of condolences along with his daughter Meghan:

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.

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, who ordered flags in the state to be flown at half-staff on Wednesday, gave a statement, according to the Arizona Republic:

Our state and nation are in mourning today over the loss of a U.S. serviceman — and one of America’s finest. Mr. Keating is the third American service member to be killed in direct combat in our nation’s fight against ISIS. His death is a tragic reminder of the daily sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform – fighting evil and extremism on the front lines to protect freedom and democracy at home and throughout the world.

Charles Keating IV was a star athlete, city and regional champion at the 1,600-meter run in his sophomore, junior, and senior years at Arcadia High School in Phoenix, according to CNN. He was on the track team at Indiana University in 2004-2005.

According to his high-school track coach, he was running with his team when the 9/11 attacks occurred, clinching his decision to serve in the military. His college coach described him as a “high achiever” and said that, by joining the SEALs, “Charlie, in his own way, found out how good he could be.”

He was proud of his grandfather’s achievements, despite getting some grief from other kids when he was in high school. “I’m really close to him. What happened in the past, I really don’t care,” the Arizona Republic recalls him saying.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that Keating was planning to be married in November. His fiancée lives in Coronado, where he was based.

The battle in which he died is described by the Union-Tribune as beginning with a bombardment on Tuesday, after which hundreds of ISIS militants attacked the town of Telskuf from several directions. The Kurdish front lines were breached with “bulldozers and more than 10 car bombs.”

Keating, who was part of a team advising the Kurdish Peshmerga, was reportedly killed while helping the Kurdish forces perform a tactical retreat, as Islamic State fighters overran the town and attacked the command post.


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