This past March, former Friars’ swimmer/water polo player and U.S. Navy SEAL Kevin Kysiak ’04 spoke to Fenwick students about his early career in public service and how his time at Fenwick impacted his decision to serve. SEAL is an acronym for Sea Air and Land. SEAL team members are part of a Naval Special Warfare unit trained for unconventional warfare. Kysiak offered reflections on service and sacrifice.
He served in a variety of capacities as a SEAL, deploying several times in support of combat operations in Afghanistan and Africa. In support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Kysiak deployed in a direct combat role, securing local villages, advising Afghani forces, supporting NATO partners, and enabling local governments with the infrastructure required to sustain their economy and security. He also deployed to Africa in support of diplomatic missions across the continent.
Before entering SEAL training in ’08, Kysiak swam the breaststroke and individual medley for the Midshipmen at Naval Academy, where he earned an undergraduate degree in computer science; he also has an MBA from Columbia University. Kysiak now lives in Chicago with his wife Katie (nee Napleton, also a ’04 Fenwick graduate) and son George (a future Fenwick graduate). He is working as a strategic advisor to a variety of manufacturing companies, focusing his efforts on growth strategies that enable the businesses he serves to expand and innovate.
Luke Baldwin '07
Luke Baldwin '07 also was a SEAL, spending a total of six and a half years with the Navy. (He entered the private sector in September.) Baldwin graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy as a two-time NCAA Division I All-American water polo player and an Academic All-American. He then led a cross-functional team throughout a six-month deployment to execute 14 complex, sensitive missions targeting key objectives. "I commanded the highest-producing collection team in [the] theater by driving collaboration, cross-functional integration and strategic problem solving to achieve a 130% increase in targeting metrics," he explains. Baldwin also developed and implemented a strategic, $1.7 million, Secretary of Defense-directed program, "delivering a pragmatic and enduring solution aimed at dismantling enemy organizations." He also built and led a six-week, $250,000 exercise that bolstered counter-terrorism/narcotics capability and diplomatic relations with a U.S. allied nation.
The newest Fenwick SEAL Team member -- pinned in June 2017 -- is Joe Shannon '09, a 2013 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Originally from Elmhurst, Shannon wrestled and played lacrosse for the Friars; presently, he keeps an address in Coronado, CA.
Charlie Gough '02
Fellow Friar and Lt. Commander Charlie Gough ’02 is a JAG officer for the Navy’s Special Forces (SEAL Teams). Judge Advocate General's Corps, also known as JAG or JAG Corps, refers to the legal branch or specialty of a military concerned with military justice and military law. Charlie, who is one of four Gough children to attend Fenwick, also graduated from the University of Notre Dame and ND Law School.
“Charlie is not a Navy SEAL ‘operator,’ per se, because he did not go through SEAL training,” explains proud papa Arnie Gough, who is an assistant freshman football coach for the Friars. “But he trains with them and goes on their op’s: When the SEALs go, he goes with them. He’s 100% active military, but he gets to stay back in the bunker.”
Joe Musselman '02
Gough’s Fenwick classmate Joe Musselman ’02 is the founder and CEO of The Honor Foundation, a unique transition institute created exclusively for Navy SEALs and the U.S. Special Operations community. Five years ago Musselman faced “the most difficult transition of my life,” he explains on THF’s website (www.honor.org). “I had enlisted in the U.S. Navy with every intention to become a Navy SEAL. God had other plans. I sustained a serious injury and was medically discharged from training. I was in training one morning and out by nightfall. I had one year of rehabilitation in front of me and, throughout this time period, I noticed a need for a tailored transition program for members of the Navy SEAL community.”