Navy CPO
Alpena, MI
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Memorial Location: 

Besser Museum
491 Johnson Street
Alpena, MI 49707

Killed when his Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Team was struck by an improvised explosive device (IED) while responding to a previous strike. His unit was conducting combat operations against enemy forces in Anbar Province, Iraq.
Assigned to the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit Two, serving with the 1st Marine Logistics Group.

Paul was born to John and Audrey Darga as the fourth and youngest child. Although born into an Army family in Spain, he always considered Alpena his home. Paul began his love for military service when, as a teenager, he joined the Civil Air Patrol, an Air Force Auxiliary.

Paul joined the Navy in May 1992, completed Basic Training, and attended A-School to become a steelworker in the Construction Battalion (Seabees). He chose steelworker so he could learn a marketable trade and pursue his love for construction. In 1994, he decided be become a diver for the Underwater Construction Teams. He served as an underwater welder for three years in Virginia before moving to Washington state. Near the completion of his tour in Washington, Paul learned about the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Teams and decided that was a career path where he could make a difference.

In September of 1994 he married his sweetheart, Karie. After completing EOD School in February 2002, he reported to EOD Mobile Unit Two at NAB, Little Creek, VA, where he excelled as an EOD Technician. His natural ability to remain calm in stressful situations along with his talent for leading others earned him the distinction of becoming both a Navy Chief and a Master EOD Technician by the time of his death.

On August 22, 2006, while conducting combat operations in the Al Anbar province, Iraq, CPO Paul J. Darga, made the ultimate sacrifice when his EOD Team, while responding to a previous strike, was struck by an improvised explosive device. CPO Darga was on his fourth EOD deployment and his second tour in Iraq.

CPO Paul J. Darga’s awards and decorations include, Master Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician, Second Class Diver, the Purple Heart Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Navy Achievement Medal w/2 Gold Stars, the Combat Action Ribbon, the Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon, the Meritorious Unit Commendation Ribbon, the Good Conduct Medal (3rd Award), the National Defense Service Medal (2nd Award), the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (3rd Award), the Expert Rifle Award and the Expert Pistol Award.

Paul is survived by his wife Karie, daughter Kailey, father John, step-mother Judy, sisters Naomi and Sheila, brother Alan, as well as many extended family members. He is remembered for his love of family, dedication to duty and country, commitment to his fellow service members and his consistently positive attitude that was encouraging and up lifting to all around him.


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