SAN DIEGO, CA, USA U.S. Army SGT, COMPANY C, 1ST BATTALION, 66TH ARMOR, 1 BCT, FORT HOOD, TX BAGHDAD, IRAQ 04/07/2008
Army Sgt. Richard A. Vaughn, 22, of San Diego; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas; died April 7, 2008 in Baghdad from wounds sustained when enemy forces attacked using a rocket-propelled grenade, improvised explosive device and small-arms fire. It was on the first patrol of his second tour in Iraq that his convoy was enveloped in a firefight and he was killed by hostile forces.
His family has a tradition of military service, and throughout his high school years he had talked of joining the Army. His father is retired from the Navy and his grandfather was a Marine. But an interest in tanks drew him to the Army. Vaughn, 22, known as Ricky, was born in Los Angeles but attended high school in San Diego, where he played football and wrestled.
Vaughn joined the military in November 2003 as an M1 Armor Crewman . He was assigned to an armored unit of the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Hood, Texas. He turned into a hard-charging overachiever, becoming a sergeant in four years and mastering the workings of his tank.
The sergeant was returned to San Diego in a flag-draped coffin and was buried with full military honors on April 17, 2008. “Richard’s courage and unyielding loyalty remind all Californians of the sacrifices made to protect democracy and keep us safe. We will honor and cherish the memory of this brave Californian forever,” Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said in a statement.
His wife, Rachelle, was due to deliver their first child in December, 2008.
Sgt. Richard A. Vaughn of San Diego, California was a Class of 2003 graduate of Serra High School where he had been a star wrestler. Richard wrestled at 154 pounds in high school, and if Serra’s wrestlers were amenable, he would give them tips on the proper way to pin opponents and on the need for dedication and hard work in such a demanding sport.
His decorations and awards include the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon and Combat Action Badge.