DALLASTOWN, PA, US
1LT, TROOP G, 3RD SQD, 2ND STRYKER CAVALRY REG, VILSECK, GERMANY
02/20/2011, KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN
Remembrance of 1 LT Daren Hidalgo, USMA Class of 2009.
First Lieutenant Daren Hidalgo, USMA Class of 2009, was killed in action in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, on Feb 20, 2011, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device. LT Hidalgo was the son of Jorge and Andrea Hidalgo of Waukesha, WI. Because of his father’s work, he lived both in the Waukesha area and in York County, Pennsylvania, graduating from Dallastown Area High School where he was a championship wrestler. While at West Point he captained the Racquetball Team, was Brigade Combatives Champion, and as a Firstie served as Company Commander of G4.
LT Hidalgo branched Infantry and of course spent the first part of his Army career at Ft. Benning, GA. where he completed Infantry Basic Officer Leader Course, Airborne School, Army Combatives and the Stryker Leader Course. He also earned the coveted Ranger tab while at Benning. He was assigned to G Company, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, Rose Barracks, Germany, and deployed to Afghanistan. There he served as an Infantry platoon leader in Kandahar Province which saw some of the most intense combat in the war. The regiment lost 20 soldiers during their yearlong deployment.
His service as an officer in the United States Army exemplified the motto of West Point: Duty, Honor, Country. Sixteen days before LT Hidalgo was killed in action, he was with his platoon on a dismounted patrol when a member of the patrol triggered a tripwire explosive, injuring LT Hidalgo, who received shrapnel in his thigh. He was advised to have surgery and take several weeks off to recover, but he declined, saying he would take antibiotics, keep his leg wrapped and have it taken care of later. He said he couldn’t leave his platoon, because his men were depending on him.
Before Daren left, he and his father had a heart-to–heart talk about the dangers he would soon face. He told his father that if he did not return alive he would like his legacy to be that of helping wounded soldiers and raising scholarship money for wrestlers from his high school. On June 25th of this year the First Annual Daren Hidalgo Memorial Ride took place in Dallastown to honor Daren and raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project. On November 12th over 50 Team Daren members came from across the nation to participate in the Ft. Benning Soldier Marathon and raise funds for wounded soldiers. His memorial fund has also donated money to several other charities including Homes For Our Troops, Disabled American Veterans and the Fisher House.
A eulogy on the West-Point.ORG website, written by the father of one of his classmates, described LT Hidalgo this way: “Daren was vital, intelligent and engaging, an outstanding young man who would make any father proud to have him as a son. He was a leader of men and was, for whatever brief period of time, doing what he chose.” His father Jorge, USMA Class of 1981, said that one of the lessons his son learned at West Point was that if you treat your people well, they will treat you well, and that together you’ll be able to accomplish your goals. Jorge and Andrea, brothers Jared and Miles and sister Carmen traveled to Vilseck, Germany to attend the Stryker Regiment Memorial Dedication Service on July 22nd. There were 19 other Gold Star families in attendance. The respect, admiration and love that Daren’s fellow soldiers had for him were evident in the condolences they expressed. As one soldier in Daren’s platoon put it: “He wasn’t just our leader, he was our friend.”
So this evening we honor the memory and the sacrifice of 1LT Daren M. Hidalgo, United States Military Academy, Class of 2009.