Captain Derek Mears Argel was born March 11, 1977, in San Jose, California. He is survived by his wife, Wendy and son, Logan, his mother Debbie Bastian, his stepfather, Todd Bastion, his brother, John Argel, and his grandmother, Beth Mears.
Derek graduated with honors from Cabrillo High School in Lompoc, California in 1995. Following graduation, he attended the Northwestern Preparatory School in Malibu, California and then the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He graduated and earned his commission as a Second Lieutenant in 2001. Following commissioning, he attended Special Tactics Officer Selection and Training, and was assigned to the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron as a Special Tactics Officer.
To those of us fortunate enough to have known him, Derek will be remembered for his easy smile, his hearty laugh, and his self-deprecating sense of humor. He excelled at every endeavor that he set out to accomplish. A mountain of a man, his mere presence was enough to bring out the best in others. He was strong but caring, competitive but compassionate, imposing but tender. He was a first-class friend and a loving and devoted husband and father. The world is a less colorful place without him.
Captain Argel’s military decorations and awards include the Bronze Star Medal with Valor, Air Force Achievement Medal, National Defense Medal, and the Global War on Terrorism Medal.
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