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First Name: Ray

Last Name: Rangel


Gender: Male

Branch: Air Force (1947 - present)

Date of Birth: 23 September 1975

Date of Death: 13 February 2005

Rank: Staff Sergeant

Years Served:
Ray Rangel

•  Iraq War (Operation Iraqi Freedom) (2003 - 2011)


Ray Rangel, the only son of Federico and Cynthia Rangel, was born on 23 September 1975 in San Antonio, TX. He attended South San Antonio High School and played defensive back on the football team, the Bobcats, where he was known to his teammates as "Crazy Ray." He graduated in the class of 1994 and married his wife, Selena Hernandez, of San Antonio, that year.

Air Force Career

Ray enlisted in the U.S. Air Force on 28 September 1994. He attended the Department of Defense Lewis F. Garland Fire Academy at Goodfellow AFB, TX. His advanced specialized training included Airport Crash Firefighting, Silent War (Infectious Diseases), Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Domestic Preparedness (Awareness Level), Emergency Response to Terrorism, Emergency Response to Domestic Biological Incidents Operations Level (WMD), Terrorism Response Emergency Care, and Critical Incident Stress Management: Basic. His Air Force career took him to the following locations: Lackland AFB, TX, September to November 1994; Goodfellow AFB, TX, November 1994 - February 1995; Spangdahlem AB, Germany, February 1995 - March 1998; Whiteman AFB, MO, March 1998 - September 2001; Clear AFB, AK, September 2001- September 2002; and Dyess AFB, TX, from September 2002 to February 2005.

In February 2005, Staff Sergeant Rangel was serving with the 7th Bomb Wing, Civil Engineer Squadron, Dyess Air Force Base, TX, which had been deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

On 13 February 2005, Rangel, 29, went into the water of a canal in northern Iraq to try to save three soldiers whose Humvee had rolled into the canal and overturned. During his attempt to save them, he suffered hypothermia and drowned.

Medals, Awards & Badges

AF Training Ribbon
Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon (Rifle)
AF NCO PME Graduate Ribbon
AF Longevity Service with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
AF Overseas Long Tour Service Ribbon
AF Overseas Short Tour Service Ribbon
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal with Bronze Service Star
National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Service Star
AF Good Conduct Medal with 3 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
AF Outstanding Unit Award with 2 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
AF Achievement Medal with 2 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
USAF Fire Protection Badge


The name SSgt Ray Rangel has been memorialized through a monument in Iraq and in the renaming of a South Side American Legion post.

Personal Life

Ray and Selena had three sons: Justin, age 10; Jacob, age 9; and Gabriel, age 7, all of which played on youth football teams. Their daughter, Lilliana, age 5, cheered from the sidelines. Ray coached Justin's youth football team, while his wife, Selena, coached the cheerleaders. Ray and Selena purchased a house in Abilene just before his deployment to Iraq.

Ray had told his father, Federico, "If anything should happen to me, remember I was doing what I wanted to do."


SSgt Ray Rangel is buried at San Fernando Cemetery No. 3 in San Antonio, Bexar County, TX.

Honoree ID: 5102   Created by: MHOH




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