WASHINGTON - The Pentagon identified a former Pittsburgh area man as the Navy SEAL who died from injuries he received in the rescue of an American doctor in Afghanistan.
Petty Officer 1st Class Nicolas David Checque, 28, died Sunday of combat-related injuries from a U.S. special forces operation to rescue Dilip Joseph from his Taliban captors.
Checque was a member of the elite SEAL Team Six. It is the same team that killed Osama bin Laden last year, but it's unclear whether Checque was on the bin Laden mission.
Checque graduated from Norwin High School in 2002, according to district spokesman Jon Szish. He was a member of the wrestling team.
Channel 11 spoke with his coach on Monday.
"He loved the work ethic. He worked hard every day and never complained. Those are the things I remember. I remember his senior year, him basically telling us what he was training for, and it was to get in the special forces," said Rich Ginther.
"He said that he wanted to be a Navy SEAL. He wanted to get to that point," Scott Schuchert, Checque's high school friend, told Channel 11.
Checque, a decorated 10-year veteran, was assigned to an East Coast-based Navy Special Warfare Command unit in 2004, the Special Warfare Command said. His 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.
“He gave his life for his fellow Americans, and he and his teammates remind us once more of the selfless service that allows our nation to stay strong, safe and free,” President Barack Obama said Sunday.
Joseph, of Colorado Springs, was abducted outside Kabul five days ago and was rescued early Sunday after intelligence showed he was in imminent danger of injury or possible death, the military said.
Checque is the second Norwin graduate to be killed in action in Afghanistan in the last several months. Lt. Col. Christopher “Otis” Raible, 40, of North Huntingdon, was killed while leading a counterattack against enemy forces on Sept. 14 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Norwin held a memorial service for Raible in October.
Channel 11's news exchange partners at TribLIVE and The Associated Press contributed to this report.