Sergeant Regan's patriotism, dedication and willingness to sacrifice his life for his country serve as perfect reminders of what makes the United States the greatest country in the world. Although his life may have been lost fighting for his country in a faraway land, he will forever serve as a role model and symbol for freedom and for love of family, friends and country.
: Mary McHugh as she mourns her slain fianc?, Sgt. James Regan, (US Army Ranger killed by an IED explosion in Iraq) at Arlington National Cemetery. Mary moved a thousand mourners to tears with her touching tribute at his funeral. 'Jimmy was a hero to many, but he was always very humble. He always sought team success and not personal glory.']
Sergeant Regan was truly a special person. With his limitless potential and a will to succeed, he chose to use his talents for the benefit of all. After growing up in Manhasset, Sergeant Regan attended Chaminade High School in Mineola, where he distinguished himself as an honors student and an All-American lacrosse player. He was recruited to attend Duke University where he again succeeded in the classroom and on the field, helping Duke reach the Final Four in lacrosse in 2002.
After graduating from Duke and with his whole life ahead of him, duty called. Sergeant Regan turned down a job offer for a prominent financial services company and a scholarship to law school to join the Army in 2004. Having deeply been affected by the September 11 attacks, Sergeant Regan was determined to serve his country as an Army Ranger. Again, showing his determination and burning desire to succeed, he graduated first in his class of 400 in Infantry Basic Combat Training. He attended and graduated from elite Ranger School and was assigned to the 75th Ranger Regiment, the premier light-infantry unit of the United States Army.
Having already served two tours of duty in Afghanistan and one in Iraq during the war on terrorism, Sergeant Regan left for his fourth tour of duty and second in Iraq in January 2007, having been promoted to Sergeant. On February 9, 2007, while conducting combat operations in Northern Iraq, he made the ultimate sacrifice for his country when his vehicle was struck by an IED.
A testament to Sergeant Regan's service was the awards and decorations he received including the Army Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, Parachutist Badge and Ranger Tab and the Purple Heart. Perhaps what best summarized Sergeant Regan's bravery in service was a statement by a fellow Army Ranger who said, 'James Regan was the guy you wanted next to you at all times.'
Posted shortly after James' ultimate sacrifice:
From Jeff Gold and Graham Rayman: 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 soldier a 'friend to everyone'
Mary McHugh as she mourns her slain fiancee, Sgt. James Regan, (US Army Ranger killed by an IED explosion in Iraq) at Arlington National Cemetery. Mary moved a thousand mourners to tears with her touching tribute at his funeral. "Jimmy was a hero to many, but he was always very humble. He always sought team success and not personal glory." | Photo: John Moore, Aaron Stipkovich | Memorial, James John Regan, Army, Veteran, Loss,
Additional from Reid J. Epstein: 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.