Monday, May 28, 2007

1st Lt. Lynch & Sgt. Regan Remembered

In the Duke community all who knew them remember with affection and respect 1st Lt. Matthew D. (Matt) Lynch, ’01 and Sgt. James J. (Jimmy) Regan,’02.

From Trinity A&S:

[Matt]Lynch, from Jericho, New York, was commissioned in the marines after graduating with a BA in history.

He was among the first U.S. troops deployed to Iraq in March 2003. He returned to his base, Camp Pendleton, CA, but went back to Iraq in March 2004 with a different unit that had lost a number of officers to injuries. He finished that tour in July 2004, and volunteered for a third tour when his original battalion was redeployed.

Lynch's brother, Tim, 27, an FBI special agent who served with the marines in Afghanistan and Iraq, explained Matt's decision to the New York Daily News: "It's hard to understand if you're not in the military. When it's people you look at as your brothers, it's a pretty easy decision to go back there."

Matt Lynch was a standout swimmer his first, second, and fourth years at Duke, owning school-best times in the 100 and 200 freestyle and the 200 individual medley and taking part in the 200-, 400-, and 800-freestyle relays. …

Lynch played baseball his sophomore and junior years, and though he started only 15 games over two seasons as a backup catcher, batting .245 with nine RBI, he is remembered by coach Bill Hillier, Sr., for "practicing hard and playing hard."

In an e-mail, Hillier said he talked to Lynch just before his graduation about Lynch's plan to enter the U.S. Marine Corps' Officer Candidates School. "He said he wasn't sure how people would react to his going into the military after getting a Duke degree," Hillier wrote.

"I told him there was nothing wrong with graduating from the best school in the country, then serving for the best country in the world. I told Matty — as I called him — I thought he'd be an awesome officer, and when the call came to me for a background check, I told the interviewing officer the same thing. Matty will be missed by me and by many others — but not forgotten."

Lynch was killed in late October, 2004 during a roadside attack near Ramadi.
Jimmy Regan, a lacrosse letterman from 1999-02, died Feb. 9, 2007, in northern Iraq from wounds suffered when his vehicle was struck by an explosive. Regan was serving with the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. …

Regan finished his career with the Blue Devils with 22 goals and four assists, helping the program to a four-year record of 43-21 with two ACC championships (2001 & 2002) and four NCAA Tournament appearances. An Academic All-ACC selection, Regan was named to the 2002 ACC All-Tournament Team after scoring a career-high four goals and adding one assist as Duke defeated then top-ranked Virginia, 14-13, in the championship game.

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in economics 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?'" Regan's fiancée, Mary McHugh, told Newsday. "He recognized it as an option and he couldn't not do it."

Columnist Mary Katharine Ham: Former teammate Kevin Cassese remembered Jimmy as, "the ultimate Duke lacrosse man-- a man of tremendous loyalty, character, and fortitude," whose decision to join the Army seemed natural to anyone who had seen him lead on the field. "Jimmy was a leader in every sense of the word, and the pride and honor of fighting for our country was something that meant a lot to him," Cassese said in an e-mail interview.
Family and friends established scholarships to honor both men.

In Matt Lynch’s memory, you can contribute to “Duke University Office of Gift Records” (please note that your gift is for the Matt Lynch Scholarship Fund). The fund code is 618-4637. Duke University, 2127 Campus Drive, Box 90600, Durham, NC 27708

In Jimmy Regan’s memory contributions can be sent to the Jim Regan Scholarship, c/o Chaminade Development Office, 340 Jackson Ave., Mineola, N.Y. 11501.

“You are men who in your ‘lives fought for life . . . and left the vivid air signed with your honor.’”
President Ronald Reagan, Pointe du Hoc, June 6, 1984

“They gave their tomorrows for our today.”
Memorial inscription honoring war dead, Prince Hill, Cheshire, England