MICHAEL M. MCGREEVY, JR., LT, USN
Michael McGreevy, Jr. '97
Date of birth: April 24, 1975
Date of death: June 28, 2005
Lieutenant Michael M. McGreevy graduated from the Naval Academy and went on to become members of the SEALs, one of the elite fighting forces in the world.
Lieutenant McGreevy, who was the Naval Academy class of 1997's secretary, not only was popular, but also displayed scholarly aptitude, friends said. While in high school in Portville, New York, Lieutenant McGreevy wanted to take state Regents exam in German - only his school didn't offer the language. He bought German books and taught himself so well, he passed the exam.
Gary Swetland, Lieutenant McGreevy's former high school track coach, recalled the young man as one of the most determined people he ever met. He said Lieutenant McGreevy would run more than 3 miles to school each morning, to be there by 6 a.m. so that he could get in a session of strength building before classes started.
"He grew from a thin-as-a-rail, somewhat awkward teen, to an absolute physical stud of a man," said Mr. Swetland, who kept in touch with McGreevy and attended his graduation from the Naval Academy. "You felt compelled to stand and salute" when he entered a room, Mr. Swetland said.
Military friends of McGreevy described him as the embodiment of American ideals. "Hold him up as high as you can - he was a great American and a great person," said Marine Captain Aaron Shelley of San Diego, California, McGreevy's friend and freshman year roommate at the academy. "He did well in everything I saw him do - at the same time, he was very, very humble about it and was always ready to help others."
McGreevy finished first in his SEAL class.
He had been in Afghanistan since early April and is survived by his wife, Laura, and 14-month-old daughter, Molly, his mother Patricia Mackin and father Michael McGreevy Sr.
"He died doing what he always wanted to do," said former Marine Captain. Thomas Wagner, McGreevy's classmate at the academy and the president of the Class of 1997.
From a blog post:
Fallen SEAL's Wife Races for a Cause
March 21, 2009
VIRGINIA BEACH - Laura McGreevy ran.
She ran for emotion. For the pain. In hopes of staying sane.
But mostly, McGreevy ran in memory of her fallen SEAL.
Mike McGreevy, a Navy SEAL, died in a helicopter crash in 2005 while on a rescue mission in Afghanistan.
The day after Laura learned her husband had died, she laced up her sneakers.
"At first it was an incredible shock," said McGreevy, who will run the half-marathon at this weekend's Shamrock Sportsfest at the Oceanfront. "Even though I knew his job was dangerous, I never in a million years thought anything would happen to him. They are such a well-trained and dedicated group of guys.
"I ran the next day to help alleviate the pain. It's been my therapy ever since." It's also been her cause.
In 2007, the Virginia Beach resident started the Mike McGreevy Memorial Fund -- giving scholarships to children who have lost parents to war. The fund has raised more than $80,000, and last year its first three scholarships were awarded.
Almost 100 runners in this weekend's Shamrock will help raise money for more.
Laura and Mike met while attending college. He was at the Naval Academy, she was at Rutgers. Mutual friends thought they would make a good couple.
They hit it off on the dance floor.
"Mike was known for really cutting a rug," McGreevy said. "In college he was known to dress up in '70s clothes and do all the dances. At weddings, he'd just tear it up."
Buddies dubbed him "Groove."
When McGreevy was trying to think of a way to raise money for the memorial fund, she came up with the idea of Team Groove.
Runners who want to help raise money can join the team by paying whatever they want in addition to the race entry fee.
Last year, Team Groove raised more than $5,000 in its first Shamrock.
"Team Groove stands for his energy for life... his ability to always have a good time," McGreevy said.
Mike McGreevy wrestled and ran track during his youth. He started running the Marine Corps Marathon while attending the Naval Academy.
His love of running wasn't lost on his young bride.
"He inspired me into running and doing triathlons," said Laura, 32. "I got good enough that I was beating him at the triathlons. I'd beat him because I was a better swimmer."
McGreevy runs several races and triathlons each year and always uses the events to tell Groove's story.
Next weekend she is running in the Super Frog Triathlon -- a half-Ironman -- in San Diego with a friend who also lost her SEAL Team husband.
"I remember very well what my life was like, and I'm going to run to support her," McGreevy said. "SEALS are one big family, and they look out for each other and the ones left behind.
"And I can use the opportunity to tell people about my scholarship fund." But, deep down, it's another chance to run.
McGreevy, who has gone back to work and is raising 4-year-old daughter Molly, said her husband always is with her while she's in stride.
"I feel Mike's presence when running, especially when I feel like quitting," she said. "I think about all his training and all the stuff he went through.
"And I hear his voice in my head. 'Come on, babe... you can do it.' Then I'll ask him to give me his legs. He had the best legs for running."
Erik Kristensen '95 was also a SEAL lost in this crash.