None of us has the luxury of choosing the family we are born into – real families are not the type we see on television. Some of us are lucky, some not, but ideally, make our own way.

The Navy SEAL who lost his life this week in a gun battle with ISIS fighters in Iraq had a well-known surname, but had been determined to create his own path even from high school and college when he starred in track, eventually leading to the Navy where nothing but becoming a member of the elite SEAL team would do for Charlie Keating.

The 31-year-old Bronze Star with Combat V recipient, Charlie Keating IV, shared the name of his grandfather, the disgraced prominent Arizona financier who served time in federal prison after being convicted of fraud in the multibillion-dollar savings and loan scandal in the 1980s and 1990s.

His grandfather’s reputation followed Charlie was he was a little boy, subjecting him to teasing and ridicule, but he shook it off with honesty.

"What happened in the past, I really don't care. I'm really close to him," Charlie told an Arizona newspaper when he was interviewed during the state track and field championships.

The Special Warfare Operator 1st Class had seen duty in Afghanistan and was serving his third tour in Iraq when he became the third American serviceman to be killed in combat there since 2014.

The fierce gunfight occurred as ISIS fighters broke through a checkpoint near Mosul and Keating’s “quick reaction force” responded to protect American military “advisors” who were under attack.

Although much of the media coverage chose to dredge up the scandal surrounding his grandfather rather than Charlie’s heroics, the flags in his home state of Arizona were lowered to half-staff in his honor.

Charlie was engaged to be married in November.

 

 

 

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