By DoD News
By Airman Charles V. Rivezzo
Airmen and family members of Staff Sgt. Ray Rangel, a 7th Civil Engineer Squadron fire protection craftsman, gathered at the cantonment area here, for the unveiling of a sign renaming a piece of Dyess Air Force Base after the fallen hero Dec. 14.
The cantonment area, used to host exercises and training sessions, has been renamed Ray Rangel Air Base in honor of Sergeant Rangel, who lost his life in the line of duty more than five years ago.
Sergeant Rangel volunteered to deploy to Iraq in September 2004 in support of our nation’s war on terrorism.
Sergeant Rangel died Feb. 13, 2005, while attempting to save three Soldiers trapped in an overturned and submerged Humvee in a canal in northern Iraq.
“Ray loved his job and he died doing just that, rescuing fellow Soldiers so that they could have an opportunity to continue in life,” said Tech. Sgt. Stephen R. Perez, a 7th CES fire inspector and long-time friend of Sergeant Rangel.
Sergeant Rangel was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, posthumously, for his heroic actions.
Two awards have also been named in honor of sergeant Rangel, the Staff Sgt. Ray Rangel Award and the Ray Rangel Noncommissioned Officer Award, given to fellow Airmen in the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing who epitomize the selfless courage he displayed.
Sergeant Rangel attended South San Antonio High School, where he played defensive back on the football team and was known as “Crazy Ray.”
“He loved cracking and playing jokes amongst his friends,” Sergeant Perez said. “Despite his wise cracking, he was a good man.”
His military career began immediately following high school when he enlisted in the Air Force in 1994 and attended the Lewis F. Garland Fire Academy at Goodfellow AFB, Texas.
After being stationed at Dyess AFB, he married and bought a house in Abilene, where he and his wife reared four children.
“He loved his job as a firefighter but most importantly, (he) loved being a husband to his wife and father to his kids,” Sergeant Perez said.
“Like Saint Florien, he is our protector, protecting us through our everyday operations here at Dyess AFB Fire and Emergency Services,” he said.
A formal dedication ceremony is scheduled for Feb. 18 at the cantonment area here in honor of Sergeant Rangel.