Tributes & Vigils Category: US Air Force
Name: Air Force Capt. Derek Argel
From: Lompoc, Calif.
Assigned to the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Fla.
Incident: Air Force Capt. Derek Argel was killed May 30 in the crash of an Iraqi air force aircraft during a training mission in eastern Diyala province, Iraq. Also
Air Force commando from Lompoc dies in Iraq crash
LOMPOC, Calif. — Air Force Capt. Derek Argel was so dedicated to water polo that he started showing up at high school practices as a fifth-grader.
As he grew older, his intense commitment to the military led him to enroll in the Air Force Academy and head to Iraq as a commando.
Argel, 28, died Monday in a plane crash during a training mission in the Diyala province northwest of Baghdad. Three other U.S. troops and an Iraqi pilot were also killed in the Memorial Day crash.
Argel was assigned to the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron based at Hurlburt Field, Fla. The squadron’s missions were often classified and officials refused to say when he was deployed.
Argel was named most valuable player in his high school water polo league, and played the sport at the Academy, where he graduated in 2000.
“He worked exceptionally hard. He never took…