Fallen Soldier: Derek M. Argel

Derek M. Argel
Dates: Died May 30, 2005
Hometown: Lompoc, CA
Branch of Service: Air Force
Rank: Captain
Player: Jackie Lucena

Captain Derek M. Argel, 28, of Lompoc, Calif., was assigned to the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Florida, and served during Operation Iraqi Freedom. On May 30, 2005, Capt. Argel was killed when their plane crashed during a training mission in Iraq’s Diyala province.

As a boy, Capt. Argel was so dedicated to water polo that he started showing up at the high school practices in fifth grade. He was named most valuble player in his Cabrillo High School water polo league. He continued playing while attending the Air Force Academy. Following graduation in 2000, Capt. Argel entered the Combat Control training pipeline, earning the Red Beret of a Special Tactics Officer in 2003.

His awards include a Bronze Star with Valor Device, the Air Force Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Medal.

His former high school athletic director, Bob Lawrence, said that at 6-foot-6, Derek towered over him. “He always leaned over and hugged me. He didn’t ever leave without saying he loved me.”

Capt. Argel’s son is a Folds of Honor Scholarship recipient.