A Coronado-based U.S. Navy SEAL killed in combat in Iraq has been identified as Charlie Keating IV, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey confirmed Tuesday.
"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 Ducey in a statement.
Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said the SEAL was killed near Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city that has been in the hands of ISIS militants since 2014, according to The Associated Press.
U.S. military officials told NBC News that the American was killed by direct fire about 2 to 3 miles behind the Peshmerga's forward line after ISIS fighters breached the position. The SEAL was advising Peshmerga forces when the attack happened.
Keating was a graduate of Arcadia High School in Phoenix. He was the grandson of an Arizona financier of the same name involved in a savings and loan scandal.
Indiana University officials said Keating was a student athlete at the school from 2004 to 2006, where he competed in track and field and cross country events. During the '04-'05 season, he finished as a Big Ten runner up in both the indoor and outdoor seasons in the mile run event.
"When Charlie left IU to enlist and try to become a SEAL, I don't think it really surprised any of us," said Robert Chapman, professor of kinesiology at IU Bloomington, who served as IU's men's cross country coach from 1998 until 2007, in a statement. "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.
Head track and field coach Ron Helmer remembered the fellow IU Hoosier and Paradise Vallet, Az. native, in a statement.
"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."
Governor Ducey ordered all flags to be lowered to half-staff on Wednesday, May 4th from sunrise to sunset.
The Pentagon says this was a large-scale attack with truck bombs and small arms.
"It is a combat death," Defense Secretary Ash Carter told reporters in Germany Tuesday.
Three Peshmerga soldiers were also killed in the attack.
NBC 7 San Diego has confirmed the servicemember was with SEAL Team One, based out of Coronado.
Ed Hiner, a retired Navy SEAL and combat veteran who served in Iraq, said sometimes, you just don't know what you're going to come up against.
"There's a lot of guys out there doing a lot more then people understand, and it's just the nature of the beast -- you can be the best trained person in the world, but a road bullet gets you, and that's it," said Hiner.
This is the third American serviceman to die in combat in Iraq since the U.S.-led coalition launched its campaign against the Islamic State in the summer of 2014, the Associated Press reports.
A special operations soldier, 39-year-old Master Sgt. Joshua L. Wheeler, was killed seven months ago in a Kurdish-led raid on an Islamic State prison in northern Iraq.
In March, a Marine artilleryman, Staff Sgt. Louis F. Cardin, 27, was killed when the militants launched a rocket attack on a newly established U.S. base outside Mosul.