The U.S. Navy SEAL killed in combat has been identified and the name will strike a cord with those of us who recall the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s. He is Charlie Keating IV and, yes, his grandfather is indeed that Charles Keating. It turns out that the grandson is everything that the grandfather failed to become: a man of loyalty, principle, and unbridled courage. It is hard to imagine the loss of such a remarkable young man. The family gave this nation a true hero who gave his life fighting side by side with his fellow seals against Islamic extremists.
Keating IV, 31, was advising and assisting Kurdish Peshmerga forces north of Mosul when ISIS launched an unexpected attack with a large force, including waves of suicide trucks. The Peshmerga were overrun and the seals rushed forward to protect their retreat. One of their vehicles was reportedly hit, injuring Keating. The forces later regrouped and retook the Christian town. Three Peshmerga soldiers were also killed. Air strikes and the counterattack reportedly killed scores of ISIS fighters.
Keating has a fiancée back in Coronado, California.
Keating IV’s grandfather, Charles Keating Jr., became the infamous face of the Savings and Loan scandal after his real estate company and its subsidiary, Lincoln Savings & Loan Association failed and ultimately cost the taxpayers $3.14 billion (and left 23,000 customers with worthless bonds). He drew even more infamy with his claims that the San Francisco regulators were likely “homos” who were “out to get him” for his strong moral views, including his long opposition to pornography.
The lending practices of the business led to the investigation of the “Keating Five” — five senators who were accused of intervening to help Keating maintain his fraudulent practices. The senators were Alan Cranston (Democrat of California), Dennis DeConcini (Democrat of Arizona), John Glenn (Democrat of Ohio), John McCain (Republican of Arizona), and Donald W. Riegle, Jr. (Democrat of Michigan).
Keating Jr. was eventually indicted on fraud and racketeering charges and served almost five years in prison. He died in 2014 at age 90.
Charlie Keating IV took a different path. He attended the Naval Academy before becoming a Navy SEAL. He was everything one expects from a Seal: brave, smart, selfless, and patriotic. The Keating family has had to deal with very difficult times but I cannot imagine coping with such a loss. Yet, the family can take solace in the fact that Charlie died rushing into combat to allow allied soldiers to retreat to safety. He died with his fellow Seals by his side. He died facing an enemy that threatens the very foundations of civilization and civil liberties. Though far too short, it was a life well lived.