BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – A former Indiana University track athlete and Navy SEAL was killed Tuesday morning in an ISIS attack while serving in Iraq.
Keating was killed during an “extremely heavy and intense” shootout with Islamic state fighters, according to Fox News.
Charlie Keating IV, 31, of Paradise Valley, AZ, attended IU from 2004 to 2006, and he competed for the track and cross country teams.
Keating attended the Naval Academy and he became a Navy SEAL based out of Coronado, California, according to the Associated Press.
The former college athlete was engaged, with a wedding set for November.
Indiana University athletic director Fred Glass said Keating is a “true American hero.”
“Indiana University calls on its students who participate in intercollegiate athletics to be a part of something bigger than themselves,” Glass said. “Charles Keating is a shining example of that philosophy in action.”
Keating’s former cross country coach, Robert Chapman, offered his condolences and said no one was really surprised when Charlie left IU to enlist and try to become a SEAL.
"You could tell he was a guy who wanted to be the best and find out what he was made of, and serving as special operations forces for his country embodied that," said Chapman.
IU's head track and field coach Ron Helmer issued the following statement on Keating.
“From all accounts, Charles Keating was a great kid and a privilege to coach. On behalf of Indiana Track and Field, my condolences go out to the entire Keating family. He paid the ultimate sacrifice defending his country, and for that we are eternally grateful.”
“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,” said Arizona Governor Doug Ducey.
Governor Mike Pence released a statement on Wednesday directing flags to be flown at half-staff in Monroe County to honor his life and sacrifice.
“I ask all Hoosiers to join me today in mourning the loss of US Navy SEAL Charlie Keating IV, who lost his life while defending this great nation,” said Governor Pence. “While he hailed from Arizona, Charlie attended Indiana University where he was a standout track and field athlete. He served this nation with honor and distinction. He made every Hoosier proud and his courageous sacrifice will be remembered always. Our freedoms exist because of heroes like Charlie Keating who willingly step forward and answer the call to serve. The First Lady and I extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends, and I urge all Hoosiers to keep this hero and all our men and women in uniform in their prayers.”
IU honored Keating by putting their flag at half-staff during their commencement ceremony on May 7.