Soldier Honored: Derek Argel
Branch of Service: Air Force
Assigned to the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron out of Hurlburt Field, Florida, Captain Argel dreamed of joining the military at an early age. An avid fisherman and surfer, Argel loved all things to do with water. A stand out member of his high school water polo team, he also competed on the swim team. He served as captain of the Air Force Academy’s water polo team and was an intimidating force with his six foot, six-inch frame.
Following graduation from the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado in 2000, Argel met his wife, Wendy, at an off-base Saint Patrick’s Day party. Argel was dedicated to his family and looked forward to teaching his son, Logan, how to swim, surf and fish.
On May 30, 2005, Argel was killed when the Iraqi surveillance plane in which he was performing a training mission crashed into the mountains of the eastern Diyala Province, Iraq while on a classified mission. Three American service members and an Iraqi Air Force pilot were also killed in the crash.
Argel had been promoted to the rank of Air Force Captain on the morning of his death. He was posthumously presented the Purple Heart Medal and Bronze Star Award with Valor.