Silver Spring, Md. - A Navy SEAL from the Washington area has been killed in Afghanistan. Brendan Looney was among five Americans killed in the crash of a NATO helicopter in southern Afghanistan Tuesday. The pentagon is not saying whether the blackhawk was shot down or crashed for some other reason. Nine NATO servicemembers were killed Tuesday - the deadliest helicopter crash in Afghanistan since 2004. Looney grew up in Silver Spring and was a star athlete at DeMatha Catholic High School.
"It's just an empty, sickening feeling comes over your body." DeMatha's head football coach Bill McGregor said at the team's practice field in Riverdale, Md. "You just can't believe what you're hearing."
McGregor coached Looney in the late 1990s. He was a wide receiver/defense back.
"His senior year, he was our co-captain and just a great leader. A great young man," said McGregor.
"He was born to be a Navy SEAL," said DeMatha's principal emeritus John Moylan. "And sure enough he gave his life being a seal."
Looney graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2004. He played lacrosse there with his two younger brothers. All three Looney boys and their father went to DeMatha. Their mom works at the school. The flags at the private Prince George's County high school have been lowered in Brendan's honor. He was in the Class of 1999.
"He's always going to be remembered and always have a special place here at DeMatha High School," coach McGregor said.
At the Looney's home on Windmill Lane in Silver Spring, friends say the family went to Dover Air Force Base to greet Brendon's remains. They say his middle brother Stephen returned home safely from Afghanistan in June.
"The family's got to be grieving like you wouldn't believe," said Moylan. "I know at DeMatha, we are grieving big time. He was a cherished lad."
Besides his parents and two younger brothers, Looney leaves behind a wife and three sisters.