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chew.’ If you could imagine how we felt [at Duke] without Jimmy, imagine the regard that those men held him in, having been there when it happened. I never felt that I had to fill anybody’s shoes or anything like that, but surely knowing what Jimmy meant to the platoon, I didn’t want to let anybody down.” Carroll started as a grenadier on a vehicle he described as similar to one in the video game, “Call of Duty,” with a 203M-grenade launcher on the back. After serving at least one deployment, which for Rangers typically last about four months, Rangers get the option to attend Ranger School to become a team leader. This is a roughly 60- day slog with three phases — at Fort Benning, a mountain phase in a remote region near Dahlonega, Ga., and a swamp phase near Eglin Air Force base in Florida. With limited sleep and food, trainees encounter high-stress situations.

In the swamp phase, for example, Carroll was awake for most of nine days straight. He was lucky to get between 15 minutes and an hour of sleep each day. It prepares you for the worst. You’re given a buddy, the theory being that having someone to support you will help you through the challenges. But Carroll ran through so many partners, he could not accurately answer the question about who was his. Eventually, Carroll became a fire team leader of his platoon, just like Regan. Carroll even ran the New York City marathon in honor of Regan to raise money for the Lead The Way Fund, which supports families of Rangers who have been killed or wounded.

“Despite popular belief, it will in fact take more than six strides with my long

A Publication of US Lacrosse

dancer’s legs to make it to the finish line,” Carroll wrote in a humorous fundraising pitch on a website. After Iraq, Carroll

deployed three more times, to Afghanistan in 2009, 2010 and 2011. In general, he executed raids on known terrorists based on intelligence of their locations. “We were strictly going after the bad guys,” he said. “There’s a whole lot that goes into that. Everybody has their own role. Just like on a lacrosse team, if I’m sliding to a guy, I know that Chris Hipps or somebody is coming to get that second slide behind me. Everybody just has to do their job and watch each other’s back.

safe. When you start seeing that, as well-trained as your unit is, you don’t have total control, it definitely changes your perspective on things.”



As he neared completion of his fourth deployment, he was looking at options for the future. After talking with Duke coaches and school administrators, Carroll decided to return to Durham, N.C., to pursue an MBA at the well-regarded Fuqua School of Business, located near Duke’s practice fields. With the help of the GI

Carroll rehabbed during the season, but then spent last summer working 70-80 hours for an internship in Charlotte, which set him back physically upon return to campus in the fall. He only practiced with the team two or three days a week while balancing school and family responsibilities. His second child, John Aspden, was born in November.

Danowski said the Duke coaching staff and likely the players had doubts if Carroll could return at full strength for the 2014 season. But as his father, Peter Carroll said, “If he says he’s going to do something, he’ll do it.” Carroll said he wanted to play lacrosse again.

“You know why platoons are that size, why lacrosse teams are that size? Since the days of the cavemen, men in groups of 35-40 will band together.”

—Colonel Ron Clark, a 26-year Army veteran, as told to the Duke team the night before their season opener

It’s the same concept over there. Everybody is keeping an eye on their sector and doing their job. We were lucky enough to eliminate a lot of enemies.” During Carroll’s third deployment, he said there was two-month stretch where the entire battalion, across the country of Afghanistan, seemed under fire. “Every day there was a mission where one of our guys was getting hurt or killed,” he said. On one of Carroll’s missions, a member of his platoon was shot. He survived, but it reminded Carroll of the realities of war. “That was the first

moment where you realize you’re not invincible,” he said. “You never think it’s a game, but the moment one of your own goes down, it turns the whole thing on its head. We always want to come home, keep everybody

bill and the Yellow Ribbon program, which covers costs beyond the GI bill’s limits, and the support of his wife, Erin, a former Duke soccer player who taught grade school while Carroll was based in Fort Benning, he reenrolled at Duke in fall of 2012. At age 27, he received an additional season of NCAA eligibility based on an exemption for those who serve in the military. The couple’s first child, Casey Patrick, was born in September 2012. After a successful fall ball, Carroll tore his ACL in practice in January 2013. He didn’t play at all in Duke’s run to the NCAA championship, its second in four years. “It’s amazing,” John Danowski said. “He’s jumped out of helicopters. He’s on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he hurts his knee in a non- contact injury.”

ON FEB. 8, CARROLL TROTTED ONTO THE FIELD AT DUKE’S KOSKINEN STADIUM. His parents, wife, children, brothers and sisters-in-law were in town to watch the Blue Devils’ season opener against Jacksonville and then attend little John’s christening the next day. “A big weekend,” Carroll said.

Lacrosse, Erin said, is what Carroll does in his spare time. While other players hang out after practice, working on their sticks or enjoying the lacrosse facilities, Carroll usually heads home to tend to his family. “He’s the first one in and out,” Duke equipment coordinator Jay Bissette said.

The night before the Jacksonville game, after practice, there was a team meal in the Devils’ Den, a

April 2014 >> LACROSSE MAGAZINE 53

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