Sept. 25, 2010
“He was an honorable man.”
“He was proud of serving his country and being where he was.”
“He believed in it (what he was doing); we believed in it; we believed in him.”
“We are proud of him. We loved him.”
“He never took the easy way out, nor was he given the easy way out.”
“His spirit will live on.”
“He touched everyone who encountered him.”
“He loved his family, he loved his wife, he loved his life.”
The family of Brendan Looney remembered him with these and other thoughts this week as they mourned his passing. LT Looney, 29, was one of nine U.S. service members to lose his life Tuesday in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan.
Brendan’s family –– parents, Kevin and Maureen; wife, Amy Hastings Looney; and siblings, LT Stephen Looney and his wife Alison, LTJG Billy Looney, Bridget, Erin and Kellie –– have gathered together as one this week in the family home in Silver Spring, Md., to honor Brendan after he gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
In their current hour of grief, the Looney family asks the public and members of the media for a period of privacy that will allow them to devote the coming days to each other, and to Brendan.
A public visitation will be held for Brendan on Sunday, October 3, from 2-5 p.m. at DeMatha Catholic High School (4313 Madison Ave., Hyattsville, Md.). The funeral service will be held Monday, October 4, at St. John the Baptist Church (12319 New Hampshire Avenue, Silver Spring, Md.) from 9:30-10:30 a.m., followed by burial at Arlington National Cemetery. At Arlington, Brendan will be laid to rest next to his Naval Academy roommate, 1stLt. Travis Manion, USMC, who gave his life in the line of duty in 2007.
In lieu of flowers, the Looney family asks for donations to be made in Brendan’s name to either the Travis Manion Foundation (www.TravisManion.com) or to DeMatha Catholic High School (www.DeMatha.org).
And while the family will not be making any public statements to the press at this time, they want everyone to be aware that comforting them during this challenging time is their knowledge that Brendan proudly volunteered to serve his country knowing full well what dangers lay ahead of him. Afghanistan was where he was called to be, and he answered that call to make a difference in the world and in the fight for freedom. The Looney’s as a family fully supported the choices Brendan made to attend the Naval Academy and eventually become a SEAL. And though Brendan’s decisions would result in his making the ultimate sacrifice for our country, they remain equally proud and supportive of their American hero for having the courage to make the difficult choices that he did. It was one they would expect the Brendan that they knew to make.
After graduating from the Naval Academy in 2004, Brendan began his military career among the members of the Navy intelligence community. He requested a transfer to the Navy SEALs, which was approved in late 2006. He then began BUD/S School in March, 2007, and graduated from SEAL Qualification Training as the “Honorman” for Class 265 on June 22, 2008. Three weeks later, on July 12, Brendan and Amy were married. Within 48 hours of the conclusion of the ceremony, he was deployed to Iraq.
Brendan was deployed a total of four times during his naval service. His first deployment took place when he was part of the intelligence community, with the three ensuing deployments coming as a SEAL. His final deployment, as a member of SEAL Team THREE, began on March 9, 2010.
Prior to his deployment this year, Brendan left his base in San Diego and flew to Annapolis with the dual purpose of visiting his family and attending the Navy-North Carolina lacrosse game that was played at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on February 25.
Lacrosse was actually the second sport he competed in while attending the Naval Academy. He spent his first two years at Navy as a member of the football team before transitioning into a lacrosse player starting in the spring of his sophomore season.
One of the proudest lacrosse seasons for both Brendan and his family took place during his senior season at Navy. That year, Brendan and brothers Billy and Stephen helped lead Navy to the NCAA National Championship Game that was played in Baltimore.
On that Memorial Day in 2004, a partisan, patriotic crowd of nearly 50,000 lacrosse fans filled M&T Bank Stadium to support the Midshipmen in their eventual 14-13 loss to Syracuse. On September 22, 2010, 2,000 of Brendan’s fellow U.S. service members gathered in Afghanistan to pay their respects to him and his fallen comrades as they departed for their final journey home. Receiving Brendan upon his return at Dover Air Force Base were 76 members of the Looney family and friends.
It has not only been members of the Looney family who have taken the opportunity this week to remember Brendan:
“As his roommate going through BUD/S and SEAL Qualification Training it was easy to see why Brendan was our Honorman; few could match his strength and endurance, and less could match his determination. As we served together at SEAL TEAM THREE I had the honor of watching him lead his men and earn the respect of every member of our command. He was a Warrior in every regard, something every leader can strive to emulate. Brendan, you will be missed, but never forgotten.
–– LT Rob Sarver, USN (SEAL Team THREE Platoon Commander, Friend and Brother)
“Brendan was the hardest working member of the team –– he had to be to show up his brothers –– but his example of hard work and pushing the team was an instrumental part of our success in 2004. He was one of my few peers that I have really tried to emulate in my life. Brendan was a great friend and I already miss him so much.”
–– LT Adam Reel, USN (USNA Class of 2004 and lacrosse teammate)
“Brendan was a true leader in all aspects of the word. He lived his life with unbound tenacity and zeal. He embodied everything we as SEALs value: toughness, ingenuity, brotherhood. I could always rely on Brendan, from dragging me underwater during two-mile ocean swims during BUD/S, to watching over my family while I was deployed. I’ve never met a person so perfect for the SEAL Teams. Being a Navy SEAL never defined who Brendan was; he defined what every Navy SEAL should be.”
–– LT Flynn Cochran, USN (SEAL Team ONE Platoon Commander, Friend and Brother)
“Deep loyalty, good humor and genuine concern for others earned Brendan Looney the title ‘best friend’ to many men. Although a ‘best friend’ to many, it was always family first. As the oldest of six, Brendan was a loving brother who led naturally by example with confidence, focus and fearlessness. As a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and leader of the Navy lacrosse team, Brendan was a standout athlete with chivalrous personality characteristics of high regard that he learned initially from his loving parents. A man who was in love with his wife and cherished his friendships, Brendan’s humble and easy-going personality will be missed by all who knew him. There was no task or goal that Brendan Looney could not accomplish. I would say, if God ever needed a warrior Himself, he would hand pick Brendan Looney.”
–– LT Matt Midura, USNR (USNA Class of 2004 and lacrosse teammate)
“For every Nimitz, Halsey and McArthur, there is a Brendan Looney. Only because they were lost too young before having the opportunity to reach that level of greatness are people like Brendan Looney not instantly recognizable names. There is no doubt in my mind that Brendan was on his way to reaching that level. His loss is deeply felt by those who knew him. Our hope is that the void we feel in our hearts will be filled with the light and hope by which he lived his life.”
–– Richie Meade (head coach of the Navy lacrosse team)
“Brendan was a strong, steady presence for everyone. Whatever needed to be done you could always count on him to make it happen. He led by example and he inspired others to make a difference. When Travis returned from his first tour to Iraq he spoke with Brendan, who shared his frustration with not being more engaged with our efforts. Shortly thereafter, Travis informed me that Brendan was accepted into the Navy SEAL training program and he knew immediately that Navy SEALs had just gotten an incredible leader. I could tell how proud Travis was of Brendan when he shared this story with me.
“Unfortunately, Travis didn’t return home from his second tour to Iraq, but I know he was looking down proudly as Brendan went on to become BUD/S Class 265 Honorman during his SEAL training course and complete several successful tours defending our freedoms.
“Our country has lost a great leader but we’ve gained an incredible example of courage and commitment for future generations to come. Brendan and Travis are back together again, true patriots who believed in this country. They are of the same cloth: Warriors for Freedom, Brothers Forever.”
–– Col. Tom Manion, USMCR (Ret.) (father of Travis Manion)
To many, Brendan will be thought of as a member of the elite Navy SEALs, a standout lacrosse player and Naval Academy graduate. But to his family, he will always be known as a proud son, protective older brother and doting husband.
“Brendan did what he loved, and he wouldn’t have it any other way. His memory will live on with each of us. He was my best friend and the love of my life. He was a hero who inspired more people than he will ever know,” said wife Amy.