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Navy Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Darren Ethan Tate

Died July 8, 2009 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

21, of Canyon, Texas; assigned to the USS Iwo Jima, and deployed as an Individual Augmentee to Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan; died of pneumonia July 8 at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan.

Navy says pneumonia claimed IA sailor

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Defense Department said July 9 that a Navy man from the Texas Panhandle has died of non-hostile causes in Afghanistan.

The Pentagon statement says that that 21-year-old Aviation Ordnance Airman Darren Ethan Tate of Canyon died July 8 at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan.

The statement did not give the cause of death. Navy spokesman Paul Taylor told The Associated Press that Tate died of pneumonia.

The Navy says Tate had enlisted in August 2006 and was assigned to the USS Iwo Jima, a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship. Taylor says Tate became ill while deployed ashore to augment the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan.

Ordnanceman volunteered for trip to Afghanistan

The Associated Press

Darren Ethan Tate was a bodybuilder, a cook and an aspiring pilot rolled into one friendly guy.

“We clowned around a lot,” said his uncle, Wayne Tate. “Just had a great time. He was one terrific young man.”

He said his nephew had wanted to go to Afghanistan in place of another man who’d recently become a father.

“It broke my heart, but I was proud that he was man enough to take on the responsibility he volunteered for,” Wayne Tate said. “He was willing to take on the danger himself.”

Darren Tate, 21, of Canyon, Texas, died of pneumonia July 8 at Bagram Air Base. He had joined the Navy in 2006 after graduating from Canyon High School and was assigned to the USS Iwo Jima.

“You can tell by the size of this crowd that he was loved,” said another uncle, John Stratton, who officiated at Tate’s funeral in Texas.

He was born in California, and that was his nickname when he worked at the Skate Plex in Amarillo, where he also worked and trained at a tae kwon do institute.

He is survived by his parents, Larry and Barbara; a brother, Keith; and a sister, Sarah.

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