Sunday, January 24, 2010

Marine Sgt. Daniel M. Angus

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Sgt. Daniel M. Angus, 28, of Thonotosassa, Fla.

Sgt. Angus was assigned to 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died Jan. 24, 2010 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

The Marine Corps helped shape the life of Daniel M. Angus and turned him into a man. He survived two tours of duty in Iraq, but now his family is planning his funeral after he was killed in an explosion in war-torn Afghanistan.
Angus, 28, of Thonotosassa, died Sunday while on foot patrol in Helmand province when an improvised explosive device detonated, said his mother, Kathy Angus. Two other Marines also were killed.

"He died doing what he loved," his mother said of the 2000 Armwood High School graduate. "He loved the Marine Corps and he gave his life for it."

Angus was working construction and living in Thonotosassa with little direction a few years back. He joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 2003, hoping "to accomplish something in his life," Kathy Angus said. He succeeded and rose to the rank of sergeant. He knew he had found his calling and was planning to make the Marine Corps a career.

"He found himself," Kathy Angus said. "He was well-liked. He did whatever was asked of him and then some."

A childhood friend, Carroll Hanson of Thonotosassa, said Angus grew as a person in the Marines. "The Marine Corps made him a man," said Hanson, 28. "It made him blossom. It brought out all the best in him. It made him shine."

Angus served in Iraq from July 2004 to February 2005 and again from December 2005 to March 2006. He was promoted to sergeant on May 1, 2007. Along the way, he was awarded the Combat Action Ribbon, two Good Conduct Medals, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and a number of service decorations.

"He was an excellent Marine," Kathy Angus said from Dover, Del., where she awaited the return of her son's remains. "The structure was good for him. He was an excellent leader."

The Marines were part of the first wave of the surge of 30,000 military personnel sent to Afghanistan in hopes of defeating al-Qaida and the Taliban. Soldiers from the 1st Battalion were expecting to face a bloody fight, according to a Chinese television station report in December.

Angus was interviewed for the story. "It's a jump-and-run kind of thing," Angus told the television reporter. "You never know when you are going to go. It is not my first Christmas away from home. It is not going to be my last."

The veteran Marine had no way of knowing that it would be.

He leaves behind a wife, Bonnie, whom he married just days before he left for Afghanistan on Dec. 17. The couple has a daughter, Kaitlyn, who will turn 2 in March. Bonnie Angus and their daughter live in Kingston, Tenn., Kathy Angus said.

"They thought they were going to get old and fat together," Kathy Angus said. "Obviously, that's not going to happen."

Born in New York state, Daniel Angus and his family moved to the Thonotosassa area when he was 2. After graduating from Armwood, he began working a construction job in the area, but there was little opportunity for him, his mother said.

"He wanted more for his life," Kathy Angus said.

Outside of military life, Angus loved the outdoors, especially going to the mud hole. He had a big four wheeler that he drove in the woods and through the mud. He also owned a huge pickup that he used to cruise the town and to also go mudding, Kathy Angus said. He liked to fish and hunt, too.

"He was my only son," Kathy Angus said. "I have a daughter, but he was my only son."

Tentative funeral arrangements are planned for Feb. 6 at Serenity Meadows Memorial Park in Riverview. A military funeral will be held at the Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell, Kathy Angus said.

Marine Sgt. Daniel M. Angus was killed in action on 1/24/10.

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