Saturday, January 20, 2007

Army Staff Sgt. Darryl D. Booker

Remember Our Heroes

Army Staff Sgt. Darryl D. Booker, 37, of Midlothian, Va.

SSgt Booker was assigned to the 29th Infantry Division, Virginia Army National Guard, Sandston, Va.; died in Baghdad on Jan. 20 when the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter he was in crashed.

Booker, a Manchester High School graduate, was an air-traffic controller. In his civilian life, he was a full-time employee of the Army Aviation Support Facility at Sandston.

"He was dedicated and committed to what he did," said Booker's father, Earnest R. Hardy Sr. of Smithfield.

Booker was planning on retiring after this deployment, Hardy said.

Active in his church, Booker "wasn't just a soldier in the United States Army," Hardy said. "He had rank in the army of the Lord."

"All Virginia Guardsmen are saddened by the terrible loss of these brave soldiers," said Maj. Gen. Robert B. Newman Jr., the state Guard's commander.

"We owe these Guardsmen and their families immeasurable gratitude," Newman said in a statement.

Booker joined the Virginia Army Guard in September 1987 and was assigned as a flight operations coordinator. In June 1989, he moved to the active-duty Army, serving as an air traffic control operations specialist until 1996. He returned to the Virginia Army National Guard that year, becoming an air traffic control supervisor.

Booker had deployed to Iraq and to Bosnia before his latest tour of duty in the Middle East.

He was married to Myrtle Jean Jones Booker and had a daughter, Derica Booker of Arlington, Texas, and four stepchildren. His funeral arrangements were incomplete yesterday.

Army Staff Sgt. Darryl D. Booker was killed in action on 1/20/07.

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