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Army Spc. Michael A. Diraimondo

Died January 8, 2004 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

22, of Simi Valley, Calif.; assigned to the 571st Medical Company (Air Ambulance), based in Fort Carson, Colo.; killed Jan. 8 while on board a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter when it crashed during a Medevac mission in Fallujah, Iraq.

Spc. Michael A. Diraimondo had aspirations to work as a paramedic after his tour of duty in Iraq, where he served as an Army medic.

“He was at the peak of his life,” said his father, Anthony Diraimondo. “He was like a sponge with knowledge. He had such a great, great attitude and felt so good about himself. I take some comfort that he died with the highest self-confidence in himself.”

Diraimondo, 22, of Simi Valley, Calif., died Jan. 8 when the Black Hawk helicopter he was on was shot down near near Fallujah, Iraq. Eight others on board were killed. Diraimondo was stationed at Fort Carson, Colo.

The elder Diraimondo, a veteran of the Vietnam War, said his son had recently sent an e-mail to one of his two older sisters.

“He thought a lot about the families back home and how he was helping to save lives,” his father said.

— Associated Press

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