1. #1
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    Feb 2003

    Unhappy U.S. Firefighter Dies During Rescue Attempt In Iraq

    A TRUE Hero...God Speed Brother. The Ultimate Sacrafice.

    U.S. Firefighter Dies During Rescue Attempt In Iraq

    Friends of Ray Rangel say he loved his job, family and country, loved to laugh, and died the way he lived: helping others.

    Rangel, 29, a firefighter with the 7th Civil Engineer Squadron at Dyess Air Force Base, died Sunday in Iraq while on a rescue mission.

    Staff Sgt. Rangel disappeared from sight while trying to save two soldiers trapped in a Humvee that had overturned in a canal. His body was found downstream a few hours later, according to the Dyess public affairs office. The accident occurred near Balad, 50 miles north of Baghdad.

    Rangel was the first airman from Dyess to die in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, said Capt. David May, a Dyess spokesman. He deployed to Iraq in early November.

    Details about a memorial service will be released later this week.

    Originally from San Antonio, Rangel joined the U.S. Air Force in 1994 and had been stationed at Dyess since September 2002, May said.

    Monday, Rangel's co-workers said they'll miss a friend who was always willing to think about others before himself.

    ''He was someone you wanted to be like,'' said Airman 1st Class Allen Jamison. ''No matter what he did, he always tried to do the right thing. He knew his job might take his life and yet he sacrificed willingly.''

    Jamison said Rangel helped him through a deployment overseas last year.

    ''We had a few individuals who thought we might not make it back,'' Jamison said. ''He was always encouraging.''

    Airman 1st Class Derek Martinez said Rangel was a good teacher.

    ''I learned a lot from him,'' Martinez said. ''He had a good sense of humor, always joking. But when it came to work, he taught us to be ready for anything.''

    Martinez said the loss would be hardest on Rangel's wife and four children, whose names have not been released. ''He was a great father and husband,'' Martinez said. ''He'll be missed.''

    Rangel's family issued a statement through Dyess thanking the base and Abilene for their ''overwhelming support.''

    Col. Garrett Harencak, commander of the 7th Bomb Wing at Dyess, also released a statement.

    ''All of Team Dyess mourns the loss of one of our own,'' Harencak said. ''Sgt. Rangel died courageously attempting to rescue others. While we grieve for him and his family, we are at the same time filled with pride and gratitude for his heroism.''

  2. #2
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    Nov 2005
    Vicksburg, MS


    My deepest sympothy to your loss. I also have a friend and family member in Iraq at this time. I fear for them everyday but know and understand the pride that they have in their jobs. There is never anything that can feel that void that is left in our lives when a loved one passes. The only thing i could say is though their body is gone their spirit will live on forever, all you have to do is remember how much they loved everyone that was a part of their life.

    once again,
    My deepest sympothy

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