Soldats de France - Association Nationale de Soutien à nos Soldats en Opération (ANSSO)

Un soldat américain tué le 14 février en Afghanistan

Sgt. Daniel L. Hansen, 24, of Tracy, Calif., died Feb. 14 while supporting combat operations in Farah province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to Marine Wing Support Squadron 171, Marine Wing Support Group 17, 1st Marine Air Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Iwakuni, Japan.

Un soldat américain tué le 14 février en Afghanistan

L'ANSSO, assure l'ensemble du contingent américain en Afghanistan de son entière sympathie, s'associe à la douleur des familles et leur présente ses plus sincères condoléances.

U.S. Marines Staff Sgt. Daniel Hansen died on Valentine's Day, the first serviceman with Tracy ties to be killed in Afghanistan.

West High graduate and U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Daniel Hansen, 24, became the first serviceman with ties to Tracy to die in Afghanistan when he was killed by a roadside bomb on Valentine’s Day.

Seven other servicemen with ties to Tracy have died in Iraq.

Hansen had been in Afghanistan since last October, working with a unit to defuse bombs, and going on patrol as an infantryman, said his twin brother, Matthew Hansen, a Marine who works in logistics at a headquarters battalion in Quantico, Va.

"He strived to be the best in everything," said Matthew Hansen. "He just had such a passion for everything he did. He truly was the embodiment of the Marine Corps ethos: honor, courage and commitment."

Hansen and his brother joined the Marine Corps one week apart after they graduated in 2002 from West High, where they studied in the Space and Engineering Academy, wrestled and played other sports.

Daniel Hansen was chosen early on to be trained as an elite Marine, quickly rose through the ranks and bested his competition, eventually earning the skills and a security clearance to guard then-President Bush at Camp David.

Un soldat américain tué le 14 février en Afghanistan

From there, Hansen was hand-picked to guard a pair of generals, the second of whom, Gen. Richard Zilmer, took Hansen with him to Iraq as a personal security guard and to train other security guards in Fallujah, his brother said.

Once that stint ended, Hansen headed to Florida to train for nearly a year to learn how to defuse bombs, after which he was sent to Afghanistan.

The family so far has few details about how Daniel Hansen died. All they know is that he was on patrol and killed by a bomb, Matthew Hansen said.

Daniel Hansen was promoted posthumously to staff sergeant.

His mother, Cheryll, 52, got news of her son’s death the afternoon of Valentine’s Day. Just hours earlier, she had been upset about a dream she had in which Daniel told her goodbye, said Cheryll’s husband, Delbert Hansen, 62.

The family has long ties to Tracy. Both brothers and their sister, Katie Anne Hansen, 22, grew up in Tracy, and all graduated from West High School.

Delbert Hansen’s father owned Del’s Marina on Old River outside Tracy, which he ran for a time after he purchased the business from his father, who owned it since the 1930s, Delbert Hansen said.

But for years Delbert has worked at a nearby federal pumping plant, where he counts fish caught in the plant’s giant pumps and removes debris. He hopes to soon retire and move to Alaska with his wife now that they own a home there, said Ellen Furhman, a friend of the family who knows the Hansens through her daughter, Clair Penrod.

Daniel Hansen had a fiancé who also grew up in Tracy, Emily Campbell, 22, now a student at Fresno State University, Matthew Hansen said.

Seven other servicemen from Tracy have been killed in the Iraq War: Army Staff Sgt. Steven Henry Bridges, 33; Army National Guardsman Sgt. Patrick McCaffrey, 34; Army Pfc. Jesse Martinez, 20; Marine Cpl. Brandon Dewey, 20; Army Sgt. 1st Class Tung Nguyen, 38; Army Pfc. Bruce Cameron Salazar, Jr., 24; and Army Sgt. Kyle Dayton, 22.

"I had asked my brother after he told me of his upcoming deployment if he wanted to go," Matthew Hansen wrote to his father this week. "He said: ‘It doesn’t matter if I wanna go or not. If I don’t, they will send another Marine; and I would never be able to hold my head up if something happened to him in my place!’"

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