LOMPOC, CA, USA U.S. Air Force CAPT, 23RD SPECIAL TACTICS SQUADRON, HURLBURT FIELD, FL IRAQ 05/30/2005
28 year-old Captain Derek M Argel of Lompoc, Calif.; assigned to the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Fla.; was killed May 30, 2005 in the crash of an Iraqi air force aircraft during a training mission in eastern Diyala province, Iraq.
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 anything for granted,” Cabrillo High School athletic director Bob Lawrence said.
He said the 6-foot-6 Argel towered over him. “He always leaned over and hugged me. He doesn’t ever leave without saying he loves me.”
Argel, who graduated from the school in 1995, brought his wife and young son with him when he last returned to Lompoc to attend the high school’s annual alumni game in October. He gave his old teachers photos of him in uniform.
“His life was always secondary to the United States of America,” friend David Riley said.