Members of the lacrosse community recalled the former Naval Academy player killed in Afghanistan this week as a tough player who, with his teammate brothers, was a respected competitor.
Brendan Looney, 29, a Silver Spring native, was among nine U.S. military personnel killed in a helicopter crash Tuesday in southern Afghanistan. He was a lieutenant in the Navy SEALs and a 2004 Naval Academy graduate, according to the Military Times website.
"When you played the Naval Academy, you always felt the presence of the Looneys on the field," said former University of Maryland men's lacrosse coach Dave Cottle, who lives in Edgewater. "You felt how tough and how competitive they were and how great a leadership the Looneys showed. They were great boys."
Lieutenant Looney and his brothers, Billy and Steve, were all starters for the Naval Academy.
Vice Adm. Michael H. Miller, superintendent of the Naval Academy, said in a statement that Looney was commissioned as an intelligence officer and later became a Navy SEAL. He lived in Owings.
Looney "serves to remind us all of the commitment we make to our country as leaders in the Naval Service," Miller said.
Lieutenant Looney was a 1999 graduate of DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, where he played varsity football and baseball. He switched to lacrosse as a freshman.
"He was a joy to be around and a fine young man," said Tom Ponton, DeMatha's director of development. "He lived up to the school's motto of 'gentleman and scholar.' He had a pleasant demeanor and a smile on his face. People loved him."
The NavyLax.org website said that Lieutenant Looney was among the military personnel killed in the Blackhawk helicopter crash. Seriously injured in the crash was Andrew Dow, a 2007 Naval Academy graduate, who was transported to a hospital in Germany.
Navy sources told NavyLax.org that Dow's SEAL team was relieving Lieutenant Looney's SEAL team and they were performing "a joint-turnover familiarization flight."
Lieutenant Looney's family could not be reached for comment Wednesday. They were scheduled to receive his body Wednesday afternoon at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.
Fellow lacrosse players told NavyLax.org that Lieutenant Looney was "a star in every regard — great person, great athlete, great SEAL, and great friend."
In addition to his brothers, survivors include his wife, Amy; his parents, Kevin and Maureen Looney; and three sisters, Bridget, Erin and Kelly Looney.
The Looneys are members of St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic parish in Silver Spring. A funeral has been tentatively planned for 1 p.m. Saturday at the church, Ponton said.
The Washington Post contributed to this article.