Sgt. James J. Regan Memorial
NEWS RELEASES from the United States Department of Defense
No. 165-07 IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 12, 2007
Media Contact: (703) 697-5131/697-5132
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Sergeant James J. Regan, 26, of Manhasset, New York, died February 9, 2007, in northern Iraq of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle while on combat patrol.Regan was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Georgia.
For further information in regard to this release the media can contact the U.S. Army Special Operations Command public affairs office at (910) 432-6005
LI soldier slain in Iraq
Army Ranger from Manhasset killed in a roadside bombing, family says, making him third Chaminade High School grad to die in the war
BY JEFF GOLD AND GRAHAM RAYMAN
Courtesy of Newsday
February 11, 2007
With words of highest praise, one who coached James Regan at Chaminade High School and one who was a three-year lacrosse teammate at Duke University remembered a man of dedication, who brought every ounce of effort to his undertakings on the field and off.
Regan, 26, of Manhasset, who starred in lacrosse at the Mineola school and at Duke before he joined the U.S. Army Rangers, was killed in Iraq last week. His family was notified Friday of his death.
“When I heard the news, I felt like I was getting hit by a truck,” said Jack Moran, who coached Regan at Chaminade, where he was high school All-American in lacrosse, twice named all-league, and a member of the class of 1998. “You couldn’t ask for a better person.”
As of late yesterday, the Pentagon had not released a statement on Regan’s death, and many details could not be confirmed. Lillian Regan, an aunt, said she was told that he was killed by a roadside bomb outside of Baghdad.
Regan was the third graduate of Chaminade High School to die serving in the Iraq war.
He was the second Duke athlete from Long Island to die in Iraq. Marine Lieutenant Matthew Lynch, 25, of Jericho, was killed by a roadside bomb on October 30, 2004. Lynch swam and played baseball at Duke.
At Duke, assistant lacrosse coach Kevin Cassese gathered his players together late Friday to remember Regan, his friend and former teammate.
“What I said was that he was a guy who worked hard every day, who would do anything for his teammates, and would do anything to make the team better,” Cassese, a Comsewogue High School graduate who played with Regan at Duke for three years, said he told the players.
He recalled the April 2002 ACC Championship game against Virginia, when Regan scored four goals only weeks before his graduation.
“He was clearly the best player on the field that day,” he said.
In Manhasset yesterday, friends and relatives gathered at the Regan family’s stately, white home on a tree-lined street in the upscale enclave.
According to Moran, Regan had the opportunity to attend law school after graduating Duke but decided to pursue his goal of becoming an Army Ranger. “He felt there was a higher calling,” Moran said. “That’s how committed he was.”
When Regan returned from his first deployment in Afghanistan, Moran expressed concern for his safety. But Regan told him, “Hey, we have to do this.”
Cassese said Regan rarely talked about the military while at Duke. “I don’t know if there was one single reason why he joined,” he said. “Serving your country – that was just the kind of person he was.”
At Chaminade, Regan also played free safety on the football team and excelled academically. He was a member of the National Honor Society, which recognizes scholarship and leadership in high school students.
“He was one of those types of kids you’d like to have as your own son,” said Bill Basel, the Chaminade football coach. “A straight-arrow kid who was a terrific student and athlete.”
Fallen LI soldier a ‘friend to everyone’
BY REID J. EPSTEIN
Courtesy of Newsday
With an undergraduate degree from Duke, a top LSAT score and a laser-like focus, Jimmy Regan would have succeeded in whatever he wanted to do in life.
Instead of taking a scholarship to law school or a financial services job, Regan followed a calling to the military, where he became an Army Ranger and served two tours of duty in Afghanistan and two in Iraq, family members said.
Regan, 26, was killed in Iraq last week, though no other details of his death have been released, said Jayne Evans, a family spokeswoman. With mourners filling the Regan home in Manhasset yesterday, friends and family fought back tears in describing the young man — known to family and friends as “Jimmy” or “Reges” — each of them called their best friend.
After graduating from Duke, Regan turned down a job offer from UBS, a financial services company, and a scholarship to Southern Methodist University’s law school to enlist in the Army, where he passed on Officer Candidate School to focus on becoming a Ranger.
“He said, ‘If I don’t do it, then who will do it?'” said Regan’s fiancee, Mary McHugh, a medical student at Emory University who, like scores of others at the Park Avenue house yesterday, wore Regan’s high school graduation photo clipped to her shirt. “He recognized it as an option and he couldn’t not do it.”
Army Sergeant James John Regan was born June 27, 1980, in Rockville Centre, New York. He graduated from Chaminade High School in Mineola, New York,m where his lacrosse skills earned him a scholarship to Duke. There, while earning a bachelor’s degree in economics, he played midfield on two teams that won conference championships and one that reached the NCAA semifinals.
Regan enlisted in February 2004 and spent three years in the Army, earning a Bronze Star, Purple Heart and several medals marking his service in Iraq and Afghanistan. He went to the Army’s language training school and read about the countries he patrolled, but remained humble enough to make his three sisters laugh with a Borat film-character impression or explain the region’s centuries-old conflict to his mother, Mary Regan, when he was home for Christmas.
He was “a best friend to everyone he knew,” said his youngest sister, Michaela, 16.
Regan’s stint in the Army was to end in February 2008, and he and McHugh planned to marry the next month. They were to move to the Chicago area, where her family lives, and he was going to become a social studies teacher and coach lacrosse.
Though Regan died in combat,, his family’s support for the Iraq war remains strong. Criticism of it, either in the media or by politicians, serves to undermine the effort, said Regan’s father, who is also named James Regan.
“What is written in the papers and what is being politicized out there by our candidates is undermining our service,” said James Regan, a senior vice president at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, a Manhattan financial services investment bank.
“These gentlemen that are out there are mission-focused,” he said of the troops. “They’re trying to do the best job they possibly can. There have been mistakes made, why even list them? … You cannot put men in the field of battle and then change your mind and go out as a whip-dog. Let the men do their job.”
In addition to his parents and sister, Jimmy Regan is survived by two other sisters, Maribeth, 25, of Manhattan and Colleen, 20, of Manhasset. Funeral arrangements were pending. Burial will be in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.
The family has established a scholarship fund in his name. Donations should be sent to the Jim Regan Scholarship, c/o Chaminade Development Office, 340 Jackson Ave., Mineola, N.Y. 11501.
11 February 2007:
Jimmy Regan followed a calling to the military, becoming a U.S. Army Ranger and serving double tours of duty in both Afghanistan and Iraq, earning a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and several other medals.
Mourners gathered at the Regan home in Manhasset on Sunday to remember the 26-year-old, former member of the Duke lacrosse team, who was killed in combat last week in Iraq.
Regan’s fiancee, Mary McHugh, told Newsday that the couple planned to marry in 2008, after Regan’s stint with the army ended. They hoped to move to the Chicago area, closer to her family. She said Regan hoped to become a social studies teacher and coach lacrosse.
Regan was the second former Duke athlete to die in combat. Former swimmer and baseball player Marine Lieutenant Matthew Lynch died in 2004 in Iraq.
Regan played lacrosse from 1999 to 2002 and ended his career with 22 goals and four assists. He played on two Atlantic Coast Conference championship teams and in four NCAA tournaments.
Funeral set for Manhasset soldier killed in Iraq
BY REID J. EPSTEIN
Courtesy of Newsday
13 February 2007
Funeral arrangements have been set for Sergeant James Regan, the Army Ranger from Manhasset killed in Iraq last week, family spokeswoman Jayne Evans said Tuesday.
A wake for Regan is scheduled for Thursday from 1 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at the St. Ignatius Jesuit Retreat House, 251 Searingtown Rd., Manhasset.
The funeral Mass is set for 2 p.m. Friday at St. Mary’s Church, 1300 Northern Blvd., Manhasset.
There will be a private burial service at Arlington National Cemetery sometime next week, Evans said.
Regan graduated from Chaminade High School and Duke University before enlisting in the Army in 2004.
He was killed by a roadside bomb in northern Iraq last week, the Army has said.
Mourners remember Ranger killed in Iraq
By DANIEL MASSEY AND HERBERT LOWE
Courtesy of Newsday
February 15, 2007
A steady stream of mourners began paying their respects at a wake Thursday in Manhasset for Sergeant James Regan, the Army Ranger killed in Iraq last week.
About 100 American flags lined Searingtown Road to St. Ignatius Jesuit Retreat House, where Regan’s body lay in a closed casket draped with a flag and flanked by two Rangers in green uniforms.
In a hallway inside the stately mansion, blown-up photos on easels captured the essence of Regan, 26, who graduated from Chaminade High School and Duke University before enlisting in the Army in 2004.
Regan died Friday when his vehicle was struck by an explosion caused by a roadside bomb, the Pentagon said in a statement. Regan was on his second Iraq deployment, having previously served two tours in Afghanistan. Assigned to a regiment from Fort Benning, Georgia, he was killed just eight days after being promoted to Sergeant.
In one of the hallway photos, Regan is seen dressed in fatigues, pointing rifle to the sky, eyes closed, and an arm parallel to the rifle. Another picture captured him with family at his sister’s graduation.
Other photos featured him as a boy with a bowl-cut haircut; with his parents, and with his Duke lacrosse team after a big win; and one of him in his blue Army uniform, with underneath the words “Our American Hero,” James J. Regan, U.S. Army, Killed in Action, February 8, 2007.
Among the mourners was Rob Hotarek, a childhood friend of Regan who was a lacrosse teammate at Chaminade.
“Jimmy was going to be my best man at my wedding in two months; I was going to be the best man at his wedding in a year,” Hotarek said.
He added: “He had this inherently good, moral subconscious that pointed him in the right direction. I was with him the whole process of him making the decision to [join the army]. It’s tough. It’s a tough one.”
Pointing at a picture of Regan in one of St. Ignatius rooms, Hotarek said, “We all know he’s standing in the corner and wants us to be happy.”
The wake was to be held Thursday from 1 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at the St. Ignatius Jesuit Retreat House, 251 Searingtown Rd., Manhasset.
A funeral Mass is set for 2 p.m. Friday at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 1300 Northern Blvd., Manhasset.
A private burial service at Arlington National Cemetery will be held next week.
Hundreds mourn fallen Manhasset soldier
BY HERBERT LOWE AND DANIEL MASSEY
Courtesy of Newsday
February 16, 2007
Hundreds of people — including 600 students from a local high school — turned out Friday afternoon in Manhasset for the funeral of Sergeant James Regan, an Army Ranger killed in Iraq on February 8, 2007.
Organized by its student senate, the Manhasset High School delegation secured permission from school officials to attend the funeral at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church on Northern Boulevard.
Regan’s sister, Michaela, 16, is a junior at the high school.
“It’s always real,” Mary Martha Douglas, 18, a leader of the Manhasset High senate, said referring to the death of a military man. “But when it happens so close to home, it becomes more real.”
A Chaminade High School and Duke University graduate, the Ranger, who was on his second deployment in Iraq and had served two tours in Afghanistan, died when a roadside bomb detonated near his vehicle, according to the Pentagon.
As people waited outside the church along Plandome Road for the funeral procession, the Manhasset High students held small American flags. Two fire engines from the Manhasset-Lakeview Fire Department flanked the road, ladders raised, hoisting a flag 50 feet above the ground so that the procession could ride beneath.
About 50 firefighters from Manhasset-Lakeview, Port Washington and Great Neck lined the streets, wearing dress uniforms and white gloves. About 10 boy scouts from Pack 101 at St. Mary’s joined the throng.
“They all play lacrosse like [Regan] did,” said Maura Gentile, mother of three of the scouts. “They’re growing up just like him.”
Many stores along the procession route featured color photos of Regan, with the words “Manhasset’s Home Town Hero and Patriot,” in their windows.
“It touches me close to [my] heart,” said Desiree Woodson, 33, a clerk at the Manhasset Library, who turned out to pay her respects. “It’s tragic that something like this happened so close to home. I don’t know the family but I thought I had to come. I have a cousin in Iraq. He came back alive but he’s not the same.”
A private burial service at Arlington National Cemetery will be held next week.
17 February 2007
Courtesy of the New York Daily News
In August 2003, Jimmy Regan was coaching at a lacrosse camp, on his way to law school after giving up his lucrative first job on Wall Street. Then he surprised people by enlisting in the Army.
His friends assumed he would apply for officer training school, but Regan told his friends, ”You know, with my economics degree from Duke, they won’t let me be in the Rangers.”
He went exactly where he wanted to go, first through the rigorous training of a Ranger, then to the dangers of Afghanistan — twice — and Iraq — twice. Yesterday, Jimmy Regan, who was killed February 9, 2007, at 26 by a bomb in Iraq, was honored by family, friends and teammates as the ultimate team man.
He had all the perks of a star athlete from the North Shore suburbs who did not have to go anywhere near the military. But something called him into the Ranger uniform, after pwearing lacrosse and football uniforms at Chaminade High and a lacrosse uniform at Duke University.
Oh, yes, and for some obscure reason he wore the hated light-blue ballcap of North Carolina, backward, for four years on the Duke campus. That was Jimmy, something of a character. People laughed in church yesterday when they remembered him and his outsized grin, captured forever in his Ranger uniform on the funeral program. It was a terrible day, of parents and sisters and a fiancée burying a loved one, of bagpipers and limousines and a church full of mourners, and, in the cold on busy Northern Boulevard, people left school and malls and medical centers to wave flags.
The overflow crowd at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church mourned Jimmy Regan, but they also seemed to understand that, by his own standards, he was no victim. And the sturdy young people in uniforms who accompanied him on this awful day gave off the message that, just like Jimmy Regan, they had chosen their uniform.
Regan’s choice is still something of a mystery, even to the people who knew him best, like Jack Moran, his lacrosse coach at Chaminade.
”He had the ability to dominate a game by himself,” said Moran, who attended the funeral, ”but he led by example and leadership. He’s one of these unique kids who make everybody better. If they doubled up on him early, he would get the ball to the right guy.”
Asked why Regan decided to enlist, Moran said: ”This is just speculation on my part, but knowing him since he was 13, there were a lot of people from Manhasset who died on 9/11. I believe that was part of it.”
Manhasset sends a lot of commuters on the train toward Wall Street every morning. In the horrible days after 9/11, there were funerals all over this town. Regan was at Duke then, in his senior year, but he could hear the bells tolling.
Nobody saw the military man in Jimmy Regan, but he did bring people together, said Kevin Cassese, who was a year behind Regan and is now an assistant at Duke.
”I stayed with him on my official visit,” Cassese said in a telephone interview Wednesday. ”I think they thought we’d get along because we were both midfielders from Long Island, and they were right. Jimmy was the ultimate Duke man. He made the mood lighter whenever he walked into a room.”
In his last season, Regan scored four goals to help Duke win the Atlantic Coast Conference championship. A year later, his former teammates heard he enlisted.
”It was sort of a surprise to all of us,” said Cassese, who flew up from Durham to attend the wake Thursday. ”He sent us an e-mail, saying: ‘This is what I have to do. Hopefully everybody will support me.’ We’re still thinking about what pushes a man or a woman to this higher calling.” Regan was mourned on a day the House of Representatives voted, 246-182, to denounce the government’s plan to send more American troops to Iraq. His father, James P. Regan, has been quoted as saying that criticism of the Iraq war undermines the troops over there, but yesterday at the funeral, he discussed his ”initial misgivings” about his son’s choice.
”The ultimate sacrifice flashed through our minds,” he said with his wife, Mary R. Regan, sitting in the front row. ”His mother has had part of her heart ripped out.” James Regan said he would have to live without ”my best friend,” but he praised ”Jimmy, the team player” and called his son ”a warrior.”
Regan’s sisters, Maribeth, Colleen and Michaela, and his fiancée, Mary McHugh, listened to these tributes. Dan Chemotti described the look of sheer hatred between him and Jimmy before the opening face-off in a high school game. Later, they were teammates at Duke, where Regan turned their apartment into what Chemotti could only liken to a primitive Ranger obstacle course — broken glass and all.
Rob Hotarek, Regan’s best friend since grade school, and Richard Crawford, a friend in the Rangers, spoke of a young man who could be a cut-up and a late riser, but who also contained a faith and a purpose.
”He wanted to serve his country rather than himself,” said the Rev. James C. Williams, the president of Chaminade, who taught Regan in high school.
The crowd in Manhasset made it clear that Jimmy Regan was part of a large and loyal team.
‘Had that big smile’
Army Ranger from Manhasset killed in Iraq remembered at funeral as fun-loving man who wanted to ‘make everyone around him happy’
BY DANIEL MASSEY
Courtesy of Newsday
February 17, 2007
Before his last deployment to Iraq, Army Sergeant James Regan selected a passage from the Bible he wanted read at his funeral.
Friday, at St. Mary Roman Catholic Church in Manhasset, Regan’s teenage sister, Micheala, read those words.
“Here I am, Lord, send me,” she said softly, reading from Isaiah 6:3-8.
Nearly 700 mourners crowded the pews and stood two and three deep along the walls of the church where Regan was baptized in 1980.
They listened to Micheala and to friends and relatives who remembered the man they called “Jimmy,” “Jimbo,” “Reges” and “Rego” as a fun-loving, humble man who always wore a smile.all
Regan, 26, a Manhasset native and once a star lacrosse midfielder at Chaminade High School and Duke University, was an Army Ranger on his second deployment in Iraq and had served two tours in Afghanistan. He died Feb. 9 in Iraq when a roadside bomb detonated near his vehicle, the Pentagon said in a statement. He had been promoted to sergeant eight days earlier.
Before the funeral Mass, nearly 1,000 residents, students and even some local Boy Scouts braved the bitter cold and whipping wind to transform Plandome Road into a boulevard of honor as Regan’s body was brought to the church.
Two fire engines from the Manhasset-Lakeville Fire Department flanked the street, ladders raised, hoisting a giant American flag 50 feet above the pavement to allow the procession of vehicles to pass underneath.
Stores hung posters of Regan in their windows, the words “Manhasset’s Hometown Hero and Patriot,” printed beneath his smiling face. More than 50 firefighters from three area fire departments, wearing dress uniforms, lined the sidewalk, saluting the procession. About 600 students from Manhasset High School, where Micheala is a junior, stood on the sidewalk, American flags in hand.
Regan’s father, James, opened the limousine window and acknowledged the crowd with a wave. Eight friends, relatives and fellow soldiers served as pallbearers, wheeling the coffin, draped in an American flag, into the church.
The Rev. James C. Williams, who officiated, recounted meeting Regan for the first time when he was his homeroom teacher at Chaminade.
He recalled introducing himself, saying, “Hi, I’m Brother James.” Without skipping a beat, Regan “smiled back and said, ‘Hi, I’m Jimmy. We have the same name.’ … He had that big smile on his face, almost too big for his body.”
Williams said he laughed at the wake when he saw a photo of Regan in Army fatigues without a smile and imagined the only way that picture could have been snapped was if his fellow soldiers told him, “Can’t you stop smiling? We’re trying to look tough.”
“He wanted to serve his country because he felt it was more important than serving himself,” Williams said.
Regan’s fiancee, Mary McHugh, 26, who’s from Chicago, said she was prepared to speak Friday because she knew what she would say at their wedding next year.
“Jimmy was not a very complicated person,” she said. “He wanted to be happy and make everyone around him happy.”
Choking back tears, she addressed Regan directly.
“Jimmy, we never got to wake up next to each other every morning, but I will wake up every morning for the rest of my life and thank God for the opportunity to have loved and been loved by you.”
James Regan called his son a “warrior” with a “spirit that drew others” to him. “Warriors are never forgotten,” he said. “A true patriot. My son Jimbo.”
After Regan spoke, mourners sang “God Bless America.”
Pallbearers wheeled his son out and lifted the coffin into a waiting hearse. Regan’s parents and sisters crowded around the back door and reached in to touch the coffin. His father rapped the top of the coffin twice with his knuckles. Two Army Rangers lifted their hands to their foreheads in salute and then shut the door.
A private burial service at Arlington National Cemetery will be held next week.
This Duke lacrosse story is one of sacrifice
February 19, 2007
BY MARY LANEY
Courtesy of the Chicago Sun-Times
Webster’s dictionary defines the word hero as a man or woman of distinguished valor or enterprise in dangers.
This is the story of a hero. His name is Jim Regan. Friends call him Jimmy. He was born in Rockville Centre, N.Y., and grew up in Manhasset. By high school, at Chaminade High in Mineola, New York, he had become a top student and a gifted athlete and excelled in community efforts. He was named an all-American lacrosse player and all-state scholar for football and was given the Nassau County Sports Commission award for outstanding academic achievements, athletic achievements and service to the community.
Regan was recruited by Duke University and awarded a scholarship to attend the prestigious school and join its lacrosse team.
Now, when you hear the words “Duke lacrosse team,” you might have a negative reaction.
Depending upon what you’ve heard or read, your negative reaction might come out of anger with District Attorney Mike Nifong for bringing charges against the Duke players without proof after a female stripper accused them of raping her. Or you might be angry at the players for having strippers come to their off-campus party.
The point is this: All the negative stories have smeared Duke and its lacrosse team. From the get-go, the Duke players were called “spoiled” or “rich frat boys” or “racist and sexist.” Nowhere did you read about the positive achievements of the players.
Now you will.
This story is about the strong character of Duke lacrosse player Jim Regan. It’s a story that should change your perception of Duke — particularly because, unlike much of what has been alleged about Duke and its lacrosse team, this story is true.
Regan arrived at Duke and it wasn’t long before he known on campus and on the team. He was a scholar in the classroom and was selected from Duke to the academic all-ACC team. On the Blue Devils team he scored 22 goals and four assists, and led the team to a four-year record of 43 wins, 21 losses and two ACC championships along with four trips to the NCAA tournament. His senior year, Regan was selected for the ACC all-tournament team.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics, with a minor in business and marketing and was immediately offered a position with UBS, a financial services company. He was also offered a scholarship to attend Southern Methodist University’s Law School.
Life, as they say, was looking good for Regan. He met the girl of his dreams. He had great options. He also had great dedication.
Instead of accepting the job or the scholarship, Regan volunteered for military service. He passed on going to officer candidate school and, instead, entered the Army on February 11, 2004, focusing on becoming a Ranger.
His leadership showed itself during infantry basic combat training. According to the Army, Regan graduated first in a class of 400 and was named “soldier of the cycle” in May 2004. By September, he had completed the airborne course and Ranger indoctrination program at Fort Benning, Georgia, and was assigned, as team leader, to the 3rd Battalion of the 75th Ranger Regiment.
He was deployed to Afghanistan twice during Operation Enduring Freedom and served in Iraq as a fire team leader. During his service he was awarded the Army Achievement Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Expert Infantryman Badge, the Parachutist Badge and the Ranger Tab.
Two weeks ago, on February 1, 2007, he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant. It was good news he shared with his fiancee, Mary McHugh, a medical student at Emory University. She supported his decision to serve in the Army, telling others, “He said, ‘If I don’t do it, then who will do it?’ He recognized it as an option and he couldn’t not do it.”
The two made plans to marry in March of next year, after Regan’s tour of duty would end. They planned to move to Chicago — to be near McHugh’s family — where she would practice medicine and he would teach and coach lacrosse.
Their plans ended this month. On February 9, 2007 Jim Regan was killed when his vehicle was struck by an explosive in northern Iraq.
Duke is honoring him. Lacrosse teammates are joining family and friends in mourning him when he is buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery. Posthumously he’ll be awarded the Purple Heart Medal.
A scholarship in Jim Regan’s name has been established at Chaminade High School in New York.
A hero, after all, should be remembered — always.
20 February 2007
By LARA SETRAKIAN
Courtesy of ABC News
February 20, 2007— On any given day, veterans from all American wars are buried in Arlington National Cemetery; roughly 28 heroes are laid to rest each day. Today one of them has a special connection to the Duke lacrosse team.
Army Sergeant James John Regan was a star student athlete and a widely admired member of the team. After serving double tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, earning a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart, Regan, 26, died in combat two weeks ago in Iraq.
Motivated by a deep sense of duty to his country, Regan enlisted in the Army after graduating from Duke in 2003.
“He said, ‘If I don’t do it, then who will do it?’ He recognized it as an option and he couldn’t not do it,” Regan’s fiancee, Mary McHugh, told Newsday. Regan and McHugh were to be married in 2008, after his tour in Iraq. He was killed Friday, February 9, 2007, in northern Iraq. He died of wounds suffered when his vehicle was bombed.
If his teammates and friends were surprised by Regan’s decision to join the military, it was only because he had so many promising options ahead of him.
“There was a certain level of surprise, especially given the other choices Jimmy had,” said Art Chace, information officer for the Duke lacrosse team.
“Jimmy had opportunities to go to law school, to work in financial firms in New York, but he chose to serve his country and to protect the freedom we cherish in the United States.”
Even so, his decision to serve and his dedication fit the kind of person his teammates knew and admired. Regan, a native of Manhasset, N.Y., was known as the consummate team player — smart, selfless and hugely talented — and one who got the job done without seeking the spotlight.
“He was a young man who always put the team first,” said Chace.
“He was very outgoing, very energetic. He was always smiling. And he was great to be around,” friend and former teammate Kevin Cassesse told ABC News.
If there was one great example of his contribution to the team, said Chace, it was the Atlantic Coast Championship of 2002. Regan had four goals in a game won by a narrow 14-13 over rival University of Virginia.
“He carried the team on his back that day,” said Cassesse, who is currently an assistant coach for the Duke Lacrosse team.
“But that all comes second. … It’s the kind of person … that’s what you really think about.”
For the Duke lacrosse team, which has been mired in a highly publicized sexual assault scandal, Regan’s death was a new emotional blow. But it was also an event that put that scandal and much else in perspective.
“You know what this team has been through for 11 months now,” Chace told ABC News.
“Within the team [Jimmy’s death] was certainly a dose of reality. … This was another notch in terms of going through what is real life. There was also a great sense of pride knowing that Jimmy was a part of something they’re a part of.”
Those close to the team say morale is high going into the first game of the season next weekend against Dartmouth College.
“This is a very resilient bunch of young men. These guys have been through a trying time over the past 11 months. They were certainly touched by the news, but [there] wasn’t a sense of … the world beating us down,” said Chace.
Still, the Duke lacrosse community moves forward mindful of Regan’s sacrifice and of the example he set.
“He was the ultimate Duke man, the ultimate team player, and a great, great friend,” said Cassesse.
“You’d hope someone like that would get to live to 100. And the world would be a better place for it.”
An Army honor guard carries the casket of Army Sergeant James J. Regan during funeral services
at Arlington National Cemetery Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Army Lieutenant General Robert Wagner, left, present an American Flag to Mary Regan, mother of
Army Sergeant James J. Regan during funeral service at Arlington National Cemetery
REGAN, JAMES J
SGT US ARMY
DATE OF BIRTH: 06/27/1980
DATE OF DEATH: 02/09/2007
BURIED AT: SECTION 60 SITE 8535
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY