- Operation Enduring Freedom
- Operation Freedom’s Sentinel
- Operation Inherent Resolve
- Operation Iraqi Freedom
- Operation New Dawn
- Operation Odyssey Lightning
- U.S. Central Command operations
- The People Behind The Sacrifice
Army Spc. Rafael L. Navea
Died August 27, 2003 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom
34, of Pittsburgh, Pa.; assigned to C Battery, 2nd Battalion, 5th Field Artillery Regiment, based at Fort Sill, Okla.; killed Aug. 27 when an improvised explosive device struck his vehicle in Fallujah, Iraq.
Spc. Rafael L. Navea’s family cherished him both for his big-picture perspective and for the way he was with those he loved.
“He wanted to have a better world for everybody,” said his mother, Lucia Kirkpatrick of Weston, Fla.
“He was a very, very good man, a very good man and an excellent father. I cannot explain to you how wonderful he was as a husband,” said his wife, Marina Ianni-Navea.
Navea, 34, of Pittsburgh, died Aug. 27 in Iraq after his vehicle hit an explosive device. Stationed at Fort Sill, he was married and the father of sons ages 12, 5 and 3.
Navea made clear his love for his family, said Lt. Col. David Hill, battalion commander. “Every time we spoke, that was our first topic of conversation. He was very proud of his wife and three sons and he always had a smile on his face when he talked about them.”
— Associated Press
Pittsburgh soldier killed by explosive device in Iraq
PITTSBURGH — An Army specialist serving in Iraq was killed by an explosive device about 30 miles west of Baghdad on Aug. 27, Department of Defense authorities said.
Spc. Rafael L. Navea, 34, of Pittsburgh, died after the vehicle hit “an improvised explosive device” in Fallujah, officials said.
Navea, a married father of three and member of the 2nd Battalion, 5th Field Artillery Regiment, based at Fort Sill, Okla., had been in Iraq for 25 days, said his mother, Lucia Kirkpatrick, of Weston, Fla.
“He told me it was horrible there. It was a very depressing place. He was there 25 days only, and he was so worried,” Kirkpatrick said.
Navea moved to Pittsburgh in 1993 to take a break from the Army and attend school, Kirkpatrick said. He went to ITT Technical Institute before working at UPMC hospital, where he met his wife, Marina, a transplant nurse.
Kirkpatrick said her son loved the military. He also played soccer for a team in the Army and joined several teams in Pittsburgh.
Navea remained in the reserves and was called up in April.
His wife and three boys — ages 11, 5, and 3 — recently left Pittsburgh to live near his base in Oklahoma, his mother said.