OTF Soldier Story for February 23, 2009 - Staff Sgt. Lemoore Rangel
Current Unit: Headquarters 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team
Current Position: Brigade Senior Paralegal
Component: California National Guard
Current Location: San Diego, Calif.
Hometown: San Diego, Calif.
Years of Service: 10
Family has always been an inspiring force in Staff Sgt. Lemoore Rangel's life. As a child, she looked up to many of her relatives who served in the military. "It's in my blood," she said referring to the fact that she can trace through the history of her family back to the Civil War and name at least one member who served in the military in each generation. Now married to another Soldier, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jesus Rangel, who also served in Iraq, Staff Sgt. Rangel finds that a common understanding of the challenges faced while in theater makes their relationship stronger.
While she feels that their shared Army duty is part of what binds her and her husband, Staff Sgt. Rangel also acknowledges the anxiety that comes with two parents facing the potential reality of coinciding deployments. Staff Sgt. Rangel and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jesus Rangel welcomed their first child, Aalyiah Judith, in November 2008. These first few months with her new daughter have been extremely busy, with Staff Sgt. Rangel also continuing her work as a Soldier. Looking ahead, she says she will devote time to teaching her daughter to appreciate the privilege of growing up in America and receiving an education here.
Staff Sgt. Rangel's own appreciation of the opportunities available in the U.S. was strengthened by her experiences in Iraq, where she witnessed a much different reality. In April 2004, she began her tour of duty with the Arkansas National Guard at Camp Taji. As an intelligence analyst, she investigated missile attacks targeted at the base, gathered information through conversation with local Iraqis and helped manage physical security on the base. Through her work, she had the opportunity to witness the redevelopment of the Iraqi community, including the provision of electricity and indoor plumbing, and the reinstitution of local schools. Staff Sgt. Rangel's unit also provided security at polling places and managed convoy security during Iraq's first national election.
Throughout her deployment, Staff Sgt. Rangel, though an E-5 at the time, worked in a captain's slot. Her performance in this capacity was deemed not only sufficient, but exemplary, and for it she received the Bronze Star Medal. She was commended for her attention to detail and it was noted in the award citation that her contributions saved Soldiers' lives.
Staff Sgt. Rangel is also a recipient of the Purple Heart, though it is not an award she prefers to dwell on, explaining that the honor is one that "every service members hopes they will never receive." She was injured when the base where she was stationed sustained a severe rocket attack. Over the past five years, she has undergone several surgeries and procedures to repair ligament damage to her shoulder, nerve damage to her right elbow and a fractured pelvis and foot. When asked about that day she says she does not consider herself a hero and focuses on remembering those Soldiers who lost their lives and the families who lost loved ones.
Staff Sgt. Rangel now serves as the brigade senior paralegal for the Headquarters 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, handling a variety of legal issues for the unit, including legal assistance requests, queries from commanders and challenges that require her to work together with other services to find the right solution. She and her family currently live in Garden Grove, Calif.