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Honoring those who fought and died in Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn
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Army Capt. Derek A. Dobogai

Died August 22, 2007 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom


26, of Fond du Lac, Wis.; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; died Aug. 22 in Multaka, Iraq, of injuries sustained when his helicopter crashed. Also killed were Capt. Corry P. Tyler, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Paul J. Flynn, Sgt. Matthew L. Tallman, Spc. Rickey L. Bell, Staff Sgt. Jason L. Paton, Sgt. Garrett I. McLead, Cpl. Jeremy P. Bouffard, Cpl. Phillip J. Brodnick, Cpl. Joshua S. Harmon, Cpl. Nathan C. Hubbard, Spc. Michael A. Hook, Cpl. Jessy G. Pollard and Spc. Tyler R. Seideman.

Soldier from Fond du Lac was among chopper crash victims

The Associated Press

FOND DU LAC, Wis. — A soldier from Fond du Lac who was one of the top students in his high school class was among 14 U.S. troops killed when a Black Hawk helicopter crashed in northern Iraq.

Justin Gregorius, principal of Winnebago Lutheran Academy, said an announcement posted during student orientation Aug. 23 informed faculty members that Army Capt. Derek Dobogai, 26, who graduated from the academy in 1999, was among those killed in the crash.

“The word came right at the end of orientation,” Gregorius said. “Kids were leaving class. It was just kind of filtering through.”

The Department of Defense announced the death Aug. 23. Dobogai was among 10 of the soldiers who were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, out of Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

Military officials said the 14 soldiers were on the helicopter when it crashed Aug. 22 in northern Iraq. The military said it appeared the aircraft was lost due to mechanical problems. There were no survivors.

Gregorius wasn’t at Winnebago Lutheran when Dobogai attended, but chemistry and physics teacher Riley Westphal remembered him as a good student who had two brothers who also attended the school.

“I know Derek was a fine student in chemistry,” Westphal said. “All the Dobogai boys did a real nice job in chemistry.”

The Rev. Rick Zahn, who is on the academy faculty, remembered Dobogai as a track and cross country athlete, as well as a student who was recognized as an academic letter winner for good grades in each of his four years.

As one of the top 10 students in his senior year, he told in the yearbook of his plans for college and gave this quote:

“What I have learned at WLA is that God is the one who is in charge of everything. All I need to do is trust in Him and He will lead me where I need to go.”

No listing for Dobogai’s parents, David and Lisa Dobogai, could be found when The Associated Press tried to reach them.

A person at the Dobogai residence told the Fond du Lac Reporter the family had no comment at this time.

“It is in the hands of the Lord,” Zahn said. “We will do all that we can for the family.”

There have been 78 military personnel from Wisconsin killed in the Iraq war or related duties.


Family says soldier’s life ended fulfilling his dream

The Associated Press

FOND DU LAC, Wis. — The family of the Fond du Lac soldier who died in Iraq several days ago has issued a statement saying his life ended fulfilling his dream of serving America.

“He deserves to have his accomplishments proclaimed to the world but would not have wanted it that way,” the parents and brothers of Army Capt. Derek Dobogai said. “Derek would never be one to boast. Therefore, we will honor him with quiet strength.”

David and Lisa Dobogai of Fond du Lac and their sons, David Jr. and Daniel, issued the statement Aug. 24 through the Wisconsin National Guard.

Derek Dobogai, 26, was among 14 military personnel who were killed when a U.S. Black Hawk helicopter crashed during a nighttime mission Aug. 22 in northern Iraq.

He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, at Schofield Barracks in Honolulu, Hawaii.

“Words cannot express our sadness or convey how much he will be missed,” the family said.

“We would like to thank everyone for their kind thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time. Derek was one of the kindest people you could ever know. He lived life with honor, served selflessly and lived life to the fullest. Derek has always remained strong in his faith.”

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