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Thread: U.S. Firefighter Dies During Rescue Attempt In Iraq

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    U.S. Firefighter Dies During Rescue Attempt In Iraq

    U.S. Firefighter Dies During Rescue Attempt In Iraq
    ............
    JASON SHEEHAN
    Courtesy of Abilene Reporter-News

    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.''

    http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...r.jsp?id=39367

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    Rangel, Ray

    Age: 29
    Cause of Death: Other
    Rank: Staff Sergeant-Firefighter
    Nature of Death: Drowning
    Classification: Career
    Emergency Duty: Yes

    Incident Date: 02/13/2005
    Duty Type: On-Scene Non-Fire
    Incident Time:
    Activity Type: Search and Rescue
    Death Date: 02/13/2005
    Fixed Prop. Use: Outdoor Property

    Fire Dept. Info:
    Dyess AFB, 7th Civil Engineer Squadron
    626 Alert Ave.
    Dyess AFB , Texas 79607
    Chief: Floyd Jones

    Initial Summary:
    While on assignment in Iraq as a firefighter, Staff Sergeant Rangel drowned while attempting with another firefighter and a medic to save two soldiers trapped in a Humvee that had overturned in a canal.

    Memorial Fund Info:
    Bank of America (military accounts) in memory of Staff Sergeant Ray Rangel.

    http://www.usfa.fema.gov/application...eath_year=2005

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    Fallen troop 'a great man'

    Fallen troop 'a great man'

    Mourners honor devotion of Staff Sgt. Ray Rangel

    By Jason Sheehan / Reporter-News Staff Writer
    February 19, 2005

    A somber silence filled the air outside the Dyess Air Force Base Chapel on Friday afternoon as hundreds turned out to honor a father, son, husband and friend.

    Then, as ''Amazing Grace'' echoed through the still, gray sky, friends and firefighters lined the street to salute a fallen hero returning home. As per tradition, fellow firefighters lowered the flag-draped casket carrying the body of Ray Rangel from a fire engine.

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

    Four firefighters, carrying axes and helmets in honor of Rangel's death in the line of duty, led the procession inside the chapel for Rangel's memorial service.

    Hundreds of family, friends and firefighters packed inside the chapel to remember the way Rangel lived and to honor the way he died.

    ''Ray was one of those individuals ... who just always made you laugh,'' said Staff Sgt. Carlos Bosch. ''I know Ray is with our Lord and savior right now. The world lost a great man this week, but heaven gained a good one.''

    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.

    Three soldiers died in the incident, according to the Department of Defense's Web site.

    Rangel was the first airman from Dyess to die in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. He will be buried Monday in his hometown of San Antonio.

    Maj. Effson C. Bryant, Jr., a Dyess chaplain, told mourners of the last e-mail Rangel sent to his wife, Selena.

    ''The only thing I want in life is to make you smile,'' the e-mail read.

    Col. Garrett Harencak, commander of the 7th Bomb Wing at Dyess, presented Rangel's family with a Bronze Star, an award for combat heroism.

    ''His actions saved lives,'' Harencak said. ''Ray didn't lose a life, he gained. This is not a tragedy. This a noble and courageous sacrifice, and that is what we are honoring.''

    While there were tears, Rangel's death was the prime example of service before self, an Air Force core value.

    ''Ray went (to Iraq) to bring you peace, freedom and hope,'' Harencak said. ''We sent our best. Ray answered the call, he answered the bell. Thank you, Ray.''

    Contact military writer Jason Sheehan at sheehanj@reporternews.com or 676-6784.

    http://www.reporternews.com/abil/nw_...560496,00.html

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    Airman dies trying to rescue soldiers in Iraq

    Airman dies trying to rescue soldiers in Iraq

    Associated Press

    SAN ANTONIO

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    Texas airman dies in Iraq incident

    Texas airman dies in Iraq incident

    Associated Press

    SAN ANTONIO - A 29-year-old San Antonio airman died in Iraq while trying to rescue soldiers from a military vehicle that rolled into a canal.

    Staff Sgt. Ray Rangel was a firefighter with the 7th Civil Engineer Squadron, based at Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene. He was killed Sunday in Iraq.

    Rangel's mother, Cynthia Rangel, said her son

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