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First Name: Richard

Last Name: Vaughn

Birthplace: Northridge, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: A.

Date of Birth: 1985

Date of Death: 07 April 2008

Rank: Sergeant

Years Served: 2003 - 2008
Richard A. Vaughn

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


Richard A. Vaughn was 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.

Sgt. Vaughn was born in Northridge, the son of a Navy sailor. His family moved from place to place, but Vaughn spent the latter half of his youth living in the Murphy Canyon military housing area in Tierrasanta.

As a freshman wrestler, Vaughn became friends with a senior named Randy Rosacker.

Rosacker lived at Murphy Canyon, too. His father, like Vaughn's, was a Navy chief petty officer. Rosacker, a gifted athlete, passed up college sports scholarships to join the Marine Corps.

He kept in touch with Vaughn even after he deployed to Kuwait in early 2003 for the invasion of Iraq. Rosacker was killed on the fourth day of the war.

Rosacker's death changed Vaughn's life. His half-formed idea of joining the military hardened into a clear plan.

Although Vaughn's father served in the Navy and his buddy in the Marine Corps, Vaughn opted for the Army so he could work on tanks. With Fowler's help, he enlisted after graduating from Serra High in June 2003.

After completing boot camp, Vaughn got a tattoo on his right arm that showed praying hands holding a pair of military dog tags. One tag sported the name of his grandfather, a Marine grunt in World War II. Rosacker's name was on the other.

Vaughn joined an armored unit with the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Hood, Texas. He turned into a hard-charging overachiever in the Army, becoming a sergeant in four years and mastering the workings of his tank.

Vaughn served a tour in Iraq in 2006. His irreverent wit survived, but he suffered from nightmares about four buddies who died after being trapped in the back of a burning Bradley fighting vehicle. During the 15 months between his deployments, Ricky grew close to longtime friend Rachelle, who was once a student assistant for some of Serra High's sports teams. They married Jan. 29, 2008 less than six weeks before he left again for Iraq.

On his last phone call home to his parents in late March, he broke some big news: He was going to become a father.

In Sadr City, Spc. Joel Geesaman was with Vaughn on April 7 when bombs and rifle fire rocked their convoy. “I shook the cobwebs out (and) I looked down at Sergeant Vaughn, who was dismounted,” Geesaman said during a speech at Vaughn's memorial service in Iraq. “I could see that he was grinning.” Then Vaughn got to work, said Capt. Roman Izzo, his commander. “He moved forward to cover his brothers,” Izzo said. “He advanced into hostile fire. Sometimes, even when you do everything right, the enemy slips one by.”

Barely a week later, Vaughn's parents and his brother, Clifford, drove from their home in Santee to Gillespie Field to meet his coffin. The family held a memorial service with full military honors April 17, 2008.

Their son was born on November 18, 2008.

Honoree ID: 7675   Created by: MHOH




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