The Navy SEAL who died from injuries he received in the rescue of an American doctor in Afghanistan was from North Huntingdon, Pa., about 30 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.
Killed Sunday was Petty Officer 1st Class Nicholas Checque, 28 a 2002 graduate from Norwin High School and was a revered member of the school's wrestling team.
Checque died Sunday from wounds he received during a daring mission to rescue Dilip Joseph, a doctor from Colorado Springs who was abducted by the Talliban five days earlier.
Checque, a highly-decorated 10-year veteran, was assigned to an East Coast-based Navy Special Warfare Command unit in 2004, the Special Warfare Command said. SEAL Team Six is the unit that killed Osama bin Laden last year, though it is unknown whether Checque was on the bin Laden mission.
A man who answered the phone at a family member's house declined comment saying "The family has asked that everybody respect their privacy at this time of grief and they do not wish to be contacted," said the man, who would not identify himself.
Former Physics teacher Todd Knipple said Checque "was very upset that his country had been attacked, and he was determined to defend his family, his friends and his country."
Former wrestling teammate and current Norwin wrestling coach Todd Schuchert said he was not surprised that Checque had been on such a dangerous mission. "The things we do here seem so important, but whenever you take a step back and look at the grand scheme of things, what he's doing and what he did were really quite remarkable," Schuchert added.
Norwin High School Assistant Principal Michael Choby said. “That was his plan. It wasn’t college, it wasn’t engineering. It was ‘I’m interested in being in the military. I’m interested in living that lifestyle of serving my country.’ That’s what he wanted to do from when I first became friends with him on the wrestling team.”
“Proud of where he went after being here and making an impact in the world and sad because we lost a great ambassador for Norwin,” Choby added.
Checque's awards include the Bronze Star, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal, and two combat action ribbons, among others. He served in the Iraq War as well as Afghanistan.
Pentagon officials said Joseph, was rescued early Sunday in eastern Afghanistan after intelligence showed he was in imminent danger of injury or possible death.