On Tuesday, a U.S. serviceman was killed in a heavy and coordinated attack launched by ISIS to penetrate the front line checkpoint to the Peshmerga base. The militants used multiple suicide car bombs and bulldozers and the U.S. responded with F-15s and armed drones. The fallen SEAL was later identified as Charlie Keating IV, 31.
Keating grew up in Phoenix, was a student-athlete at Indiana University, and he attended the Naval Academy before becoming a California-based SEAL at Coronado.
In Germany, Defense Secretary Ash Carter spoke to reporters and said that “It is a combat, of course, and a very sad loss.” The battlefield remains dangerous for American troops on the ground. U.S. Special Forces are advisers to local Iraqi forces against ISIS and they are not to engage in direct combat. The guidance received from the special forces has helped the Iraqi forces to push back the militants.
President Obama has been briefed on the death by White House press secretary Josh Earnest and condolences were extended to the family of Charlie Keating IV.
This is the third U.S. combat casualty since the redeployment of American troops to Iraq in 2014 to advise the local forces. In March, Marine Staff Sgt. Louis F. Cardin was killed in a rocket attack south-west of Mosul while providing protection fire support at a coalition firebase. Back in October, U.S. Army Master Sgt. Joshua Wheeler died in a special forces rescue operation to free hostages held at an IS prison west of Kirkuk.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey sends his thoughts and prayers to Keating’s family and issued flags in the state to be on half-staff on Wednesday in honor of Keating.