Friday, October 05, 2007

Army Spc. Rachael L. Hugo

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. Rachael L. Hugo, 24, of Madison, Wis.

Spc. Hugo was assigned to the 303rd Military Police Company, 97th Military Police Battalion, 89th Military Police Brigade, U.S. Army Reserve, Jackson, Mich.; died Oct. 5, 2007 in Bayji, Iraq, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked her unit using an improvised explosive device and small-arms fire

Wisconsin State Journal -- Friends and family were describing 24-year-old Rachael Hugo Saturday as a dedicated soldier and caregiver who hoped to one day become a nurse.

Hugo, of Madison, was killed Friday in Bayji, Iraq, when insurgents attacked her unit using an improvised explosive device and small arms fire, the Department of Defense announced Saturday. She was a member of the 89th Military Police Brigade of the U.S. Army Reserve and the 79th soldier from Wisconsin killed in Iraq since the war began in 2003.

"She would do anything for anybody, " her friend and former co-worker Juanita Davis, 21, said. "Her heart was always in everything that she did. "

Hugo had been working toward a bachelor 's degree in nursing at Viterbo University in La Crosse before she was deployed to Iraq a little more than a year ago, Davis said. The two attended class together and also worked as home health aides for the La Crosse County Health Department.

Davis last spoke with her friend in May over the phone but sent her a message via her myspace page last month.

A 2001 graduate of East High School, Hugo "kept volunteering to go out with the troops when she could have stayed back on base, " said her great uncle Robert Hugo of Madison. "That 's the kind of person she was. "

Kermit Hugo, her father, said the family wasn 't ready to talk about her death. Kermit and Ruth Hugo have a 19-year-old son, Scott, Robert Hugo said.

Rachael "was never a problem to her parents, " Robert Hugo said. "She was a smart kid. " Davis described her friend 's job in Iraq as "combat medic " and said that while "I knew she didn 't like being there ... she knew that she was there to serve her country.

"She loved taking care of the different wounded, " Davis said.

Davis said Hugo would have returned to Viterbo after her deployment ended.

As a part-time certified home health aide for the health department, Hugo would visit homebound patients to help with daily health needs, said Gwen Loveless, another of Hugo 's co-workers.

"She was excellent with everybody, " Loveless said. "She worked so hard. I wish I had her drive. "

Hugo also was employed by Meriter Hospital in Madison as a nursing assistant in the hospital 's mobile unit, according to Sue Simo, one of her supervisors there. Simo said Hugo would work at Meriter during breaks from school.

"She was a lovely young woman, mature beyond her age, " Simo said.

Meriter staff stayed in contact with Hugo during her deployment via cards, letters and e-mail, she said, even going so far as to send her Christmas gifts.

"She was physically gone but she was not mentally gone from us, " she said.

Army Spc. Rachael L. Hugo was killed in action on 10/05/07.

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