Family names sons for Navy SEALS who died during Afghan mission
EXETER — Jesse McIntyre made a promise when he met the mother of fallen Exeter Navy SEAL Daniel Healy a year ago.
The 35-year-old father of five wasn't sure what to say to the Gold Star mother, but he knew that he would make sure his children never forgot Healy's sacrifice.
"Mrs. Healy, I promise you our children will know," he told her.
McIntyre and his wife, Sarah, have now found a way to keep that promise.
They have decided to name their sixth child Daniel Healy McIntyre. The due date is Christmas Day — Healy's favorite time of year.
"I just want my child to be a good person and understand what it took for us to be here," said McIntyre, who served three years in the Navy before being medically discharged after an injury.
The McIntyres of Waterbury, Conn., never knew Senior Chief Petty Officer Daniel Healy or his mother, Natalie, who lives in Exeter and has spent the eight years since his death doing everything she can to keep the memory of her son and the others who died in Operation Red Wings alive.
But they did know the story of how Healy, 36, died along with seven other SEALs and eight Army "Nightstalkers" when their helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan in June 2005.
They were on a mission to rescue Lt. Michael Murphy and three other Navy SEALs who were part of a reconnaissance team that came under enemy fire. SEAL Marcus Luttrell was the only one to survive the attack, which will be the subject of a major motion picture hitting theaters in December called "Lone Survivor." At the time, it was the largest loss of life in Navy SEAL history.
The McIntyres' 2-year-old son is named for Michael Murphy.
"It's just wonderful to have our sons honored that way," said Natalie Healy, who has since started an organization called Dan Healy's Heroes and also owns Olde Towne Hall Antiques in Stratham. "It really lends great comfort to you after all the work and love you put into a child and they grow up and then die young like that. It's gratifying that people want to keep these men alive. Their spirit will be passed on to children who will be beneficial to the world like our boys were."
Healy and the McIntyres have developed a close relationship after a chance meeting in a parking lot in May 2012 in Maine at a memorial run for the USS Michael Murphy.
"As a mother, I really believe that it is so important for our children to know that the freedom we enjoy each day didn't come without a cost," Sarah McIntyre said. "For the rest of all six of their lives, the lives of their children, their families and their friends, the sacrifices made by our nation's heroes will not be lost on them. They will remember. It is the very least that we can do to make sure the next generation never forgets."