A star local athlete who played football at DeMatha, led the Naval Academy to the 2004 lacrosse title game then became a member of the elite Navy SEALs, was among the nine U.S. military personnel killed in a helicopter crash while on a mission in southern Afghanistan.
Brendan Looney, 29, a 1999 graduate of DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville and 2004 Annapolis grad, was among those who died Tuesday in what the Pentagon believes to be an accidental crash in Zabul province.
Looney and his brothers, Billy and Steve, were known in the Washington region for their athletic prowess. The Silver Spring family has strong roots in the DeMatha community.
His father, Kevin, was a 1974 graduate of DeMatha. Uncles and cousins attended the school. His mother, Maureen, is an assistant in the school's development office.
“His DeMatha ties run deep,” Thomas Ponton, the director of development said. “Brendan Looney stands for everything we want our students here to stand for.”
Looney played varsity baseball and football and was part of the 1998 DeMatha football team that set a school record with 12 victories and brought home the school's 12th conference championship. At Navy, he switched to lacrosse and his brothers followed suit. All three sons were starters for the team that played at Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium for the 2004 NCAA championship.
Looney's classmates and fellow lacrosse players said Brendan and his younger brothers, who graduated in 2006 and 2007, had a lasting effect on the Navy lacrosse community.
“The Looneys just had a reputation for looking out for one another,” said Kristen Murdock, who graduated with Brendan and is a Navy intelligence officer in D.C. “Sometimes groups of siblings come to the Naval Academy and leave a mark — that was them.”
Upon graduation, Looney served as an intelligence officer. In 2006 he was redesignated for Special Warfare and promoted to lieutenant in 2008. Murdock said an exception had been made for Looney's color blindness and a restriction had been lifted for him to achieve the promotion.
“Some people perform so well that commanders will go out of their way to make sure they get to do something they know they'll be great at,” she said.
In addition to his parents and brothers, Looney is survived by three sisters and his wife, Amy.
According to a DeMatha alumni announcement, Looney and Amy Hastings were married on July 12, 2008. Looney was deployed to Iraq two days later.
The family was expected to receive the body at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Wednesday afternoon. Funeral arrangements had not been released by the evening.
Another former Navy lacrosse player, Andrew Dow of New York, was among the four that survived the crash but sustained serious injuries, a source said.