After graduating 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?’” said Regan’s fiancee, Mary McHugh, a medical student at Emory University who, like scores of others at the Park Avenue house yesterday, wore Regan’s high school graduation photo clipped to her shirt. “He recognized it as an option and he couldn’t not do it.”
Army Sergeant James John Regan was born June 27, 1980, in Rockville Centre, New York. He graduated from Chaminade High School in Mineola, New York, where his lacrosse skills earned him a scholarship to Duke. There, while earning a bachelor’s degree in economics, he played midfield on two teams that won conference championships and one that reached the NCAA semifinals.
Regan enlisted in February 2004 and spent three years in the Army, earning a Bronze Star, Purple Heart and several medals marking his service in Iraq and Afghanistan. He went to the Army’s language training school and read about the countries he patrolled, but remained humble enough to make his three sisters laugh with a Borat film-character impression or explain the region’s centuries-old conflict to his mother, Mary Regan, when he was home for Christmas.
He was “a best friend to everyone he knew,” said his youngest sister, Michaela, 16.
Regan’s stint in the Army was to end in February 2008, and he and McHugh planned to marry the next month. They were to move to the Chicago area, where her family lives, and he was going to become a social studies teacher and coach lacrosse.
Please keep the Regans and Ms. McHugh in your prayers today. James John Regan, Sergeant, Army Ranger, gave his last full measure of devotion on February 12, 2007.