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Army 1st Lt. Daren M. Hidalgo

Died February 20, 2011 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

24, of Waukesha, Wis.; assigned to 3rd Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, Vilseck, Germany; died Feb. 20 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device.

Wis. soldier fatally wounded in Afghanistan

The Associated Press

WAUKESHA, Wis. — A Wisconsin soldier died in Afghanistan over the weekend after insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device, military authorities said.

The Defense Department said 1st Lt. Daren Hidalgo, 24, of Waukesha, died Sunday in Kandahar province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment in Vilseck, Germany.

“My boys all decided to go into the military,” his father, Jorge Hidalgo, told the York (Pa.) Daily Record.

After graduating from Dallastown Area High School in central Pennsylvania in 2005, Daren Hidalgo graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 2009 and then completed a year’s worth of training before heading to Afghanistan, his father said.

Jorge Hidalgo said his son was hard-working and willing to take on a challenge, but also kind-hearted and the “sparkle in everyone’s eye.” Aside from his military career, Daren Hidalgo was “one heck of a good athlete,” his father said.

“He was a phenomenal man, very athletic, and he participated in some of the toughest schools the military offers — the ones most people don’t even attempt,” Jorge Hidalgo told The Freeman of Waukesha.

After Daren Hidalgo attended middle school and part of high school in Wisconsin, the Hidalgo family moved to York because of Jorge Hidalgo’s job with Harley-Davidson Inc. The father left the company in 2005, and he and his family now live in Waukesha.

Dave Gable, Daren Hidalgo’s high school wrestling coach in Pennsylvania, said the youth was an outstanding wrestler.

“He was the type of person that everybody loved,” Gable told the York Daily Record. “He had a magnetic personality, a big smile, and was generally happy about everything that was going on.”

Dallastown Area High School Principal Alan Fauth said Daren Hidalgo was a mentor to younger students in the wrestling program.

“I’ve known tens of thousands of kids,” Fauth told the York Dispatch. “I put Daren in the top 10.”

Fauth said he is planning a memorial service for Hidalgo on Wednesday, starting the day with an announcement on the school’s student television broadcast and asking for a moment of silence. He said he has also asked the school’s Junior Color Guard to stand at attention in the lobby all day in honor of Hidalgo.

“We’re just going to have a very visual reminder of what war is and, unfortunately, one of our students paid the ultimate price,” Fauth said.

Burial for West Point grad killed in Kandahar

The Associated Press

WEST POINT, N.Y. — A 24-year-old Army officer killed in Afghanistan who had deep family ties to West Point will be laid to rest at the school’s storied cemetery.

First Lt. Daren Hidalgo of Waukesha, Wis., died Feb. 20 in Kandahar province after insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.

Hidalgo was a 2009 West Point graduate. His father graduated from West Point in 1981 and a brother graduated in 2006. Another brother is a captain in the Marines.

Family members will attend a graveside service at West Point Monday afternoon.

Hidalgo was assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment in Vilseck, Germany.

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