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Marine Sgt. John K. Rankel

Died June 7, 2010 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

23, of Speedway, Ind.; assigned to 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division, I MEF, Camp Pendleton, Calif.; died June 7 at Camp Dwyer, Afghanistan, while supporting combat operations in Helmand province.

Procession welcomes home Marine

The Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — The body of an Indiana Marine killed in Afghanistan is back in his home state.

Twenty-three-year-old Sgt. John K. Rankel, 23, came from the Indianapolis suburb of Speedway. A charter jet carrying his remains arrived in Indianapolis on June 17, followed by a procession through Speedway.

The military says Rankel was killed June 7 in combat in Helmand province. Rankel’s family has said he enlisted in the Marines in 2005 after graduating from Speedway High School.

Rankel served two tours of duty in Iraq, then re-enlisted and was on his first tour in Afghanistan.

‘There was nothing false about him’

The Associated Press

John Rankel enjoyed reading about people who stood their ground against the odds, and he had a passion for the pursuit of excellence, on the field and in the field.

At Speedway High School in Speedway, Ind., he played football, basketball and baseball. He graduated in 2005 and joined the Marines that year.

“He was a quiet leader for us, not a rah-rah guy,” Speedway football coach Denny Pelley said. “There was nothing false about him at all.”

The military made Rankel stronger, more passionate and more caring, said Ryan Smith, a friend.

Rankel, 23, known as “Johnny,” died June 7 after reportedly being hit by enemy fire in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to Camp Pendleton, Calif., and had served twice in Iraq.

“He was just a big kid,” said his girlfriend, Lindsay Raikes, who met him after peer-editing school essays about the traits of a perfect match. Once, she said, he sang Elvis Presley’s “All Shook Up” to her at a karaoke party.

Survivors include his mother and stepfather, Don and Trisha Stockhoff; his father and stepmother, Kevin and Kim Rankel; and two brothers, Nathan Stockhoff and Tyler Rankel.

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