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3/75 Ranger dies during combat

FORT BRAGG, N.C. — An Army Ranger died July 18 from injuries received during combat operations a day earlier in Afghanistan while serving with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment.

SGT Anibal Santiago, 37, of Belvidere, Ill., died from injuries sustained as a result of a high-altitude fall while conducting combat operations over mountainous terrain in Khowst Province, Afghanistan. Treated immediately by unit medical personnel, he was quickly evacuated to the nearest medical treatment facility.

He was on his third deployment with one to Iraq and another to Afghanistan previously.

“I wish the American public had an opportunity to know Sergeant Santiago. He embodied the Ranger ethos — an American patriot, incredibly lethal sniper, and was always at his best when conditions were the worst,” said COL Michael E. Kurilla, commander, 75th Ranger Regiment. “He is a hero to our nation, the 75th Ranger Regiment, and his family.”

Following service as a Chicago policeman, Santiago enlisted for duty as a Sailor in the U.S. Navy in October 2001. Santiago then continued his military service by enlisting in the U.S. Army in October 2007. After completing of one station unit training, he was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, where he served as a sniper and sniper team leader.

“SGT Santiago was a rock of a man that everyone — his fellow Rangers and his family — relied on in the toughest of times. He was an incredible servant to the nation as a policeman, Navy Sailor and Army Ranger. We are eternally grateful for what he gave us all in life,” said COL Dan Walrath, commander, 3rd Bn., 75th Ranger Regiment.

Santiago is survived by his wife, Mandy, of Fort Benning, his son, Hannibal Felix, of Belvidere, Ill.; and his parents, Anibal and Maria Santiago, of Belvidere, Ill.