Derek M Argel

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Rank: Captain

Entered Into Eternal Rest

While deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Captain Derek Argel of Hurlburt Field’s 23rd Special Tactics Squadron was killed in an Iraqi Air Force Comp Air 7SL aircraft accident in the desert of Eastern Iraq on May 30th.

A 2001 graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, Captain Argel was at the very start of what promised to be an extremely successful career as an Air Force Special Tactics Officer. He led from the front and was revered by the men under his command. To those of us fortunate enough to have known him, Derek will be remembered for his easy smile, his hearty laugh, and his self deprecating sense of humor. He excelled at every endeavor that he set out to accomplish. A mountain of a man, his mere presence was enough to bring out the best in others. He was strong but caring, competitive but compassionate, imposing but tender.

He was a first-class friend and a loving and devoted husband and father. The world is a less colorful place without him. He has been awarded the Bronze Star with Valor Device for his service to the country in the War on Terrorism. Derek is survived by his lovely wife, Wendy and his ten month-old son Logan; his mother, Debra Argel Bastian; his stepfather, Todd Bastian; his brother, John William Argel; and grandmother, Beth Mears.

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Capt Derek Argel, a Special Tactics Officer assigned to the 23d Special Tactics Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Florida, perished on 30 May 2005 in the crash of an Iraqi Air Force SL7 reconnaissance/transport plane. Captain Argel was participating in an operational mission in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom when the aircraft crashed in the Divala Province of Iraq about 80 miles northeast of Baghdad.

Captain Argel was born in Lompoc, California and attended Carrillo High School where he played water polo and was named 1994 league MVP. He continued his water polo career at the United States Air Force Academy. Upon graduation in 2001, he entered into the Combat Control training pipeline, earning the red beret of a Special Tactics Officer in 2003.

Following his graduation from Class 06 of the Advanced Skills Training course at Hurlburt Field, Captain Argel was assigned to the 23d Special Tactics Squadron, making his first operational deployment to Afghanistan and Iraq.

Captain Argel’s awards include the Bronze Star with Valor Device, the Air Force Achievement Medal, The National Defense Service Medal, and the Global War on Terrorism Medal.

He is survived by his wife Wendy and son Logan.

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