U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 1247-07
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Staff Sergeant Larry I. Rougle, 25, of West Jordan, Utah, died October 23, 2007, in Sawtalo Sar Mountain, Kunar Province, Afghanistan, of wounds when he was engaged by enemy small arms fire during combat operations. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 503rd Airborne Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Vicenza, Italy.
Ismael Rougle knew. He served in the Army during the Vietnam War and suffered the loss of good friends there.
Fernando Lopez knew. He served in Iraq during the 1991 Gulf War and helped write the death certificates for several comrades. And though she liked to pretend otherwise, Nancy Rougle knew, too. Her son feared that this would be his final combat tour and had told her so. They all knew the cost of war.
“But not like this,” sighed Ismael Rougle as he struggled to consider a world without his eldest son, Larry. “No, not like this.”
Ismael Rougle learned Tuesday afternoon that his son, a 25-year-old U.S. Army sniper, had been shot in the stomach and killed in Afghanistan's volatile Kunar Province. On Wednesday afternoon, the grieving father was bent under the hood of an old truck, his oil-stained hands contorted behind the leaky radiator as he recalled the day his then-17-year-old son had come home to say that he was going to join the Army.
“I'd never suggested it,” said Ismael Rougle, who had served 25 years in the Army. “But he had it in his mind that this is what he wanted to do. And he was so proud.”
That was in 1999. And though Ismael Rougle knew all too well the consequences of war, his nation wasn't at war.
“I thought it was a good idea,” the 61-year-old maintenance man for the U.S. Postal Service said.
Two years later, in the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001, Larry Rougle departed for his first combat tour. He was 19.
Over the six years that have followed, family members said, Larry Rougle served two more tours in Afghanistan and three in Iraq.
“Six tours,” Ismael Rougle said. “Six.”
Family members say Larry Rougle never complained about being called away from home, not even after his then-wife gave birth to a daughter, Carmin Jade, now 3 years old.
He loved the girl more than anything, they said, but remained proud to serve and committed to victory.
Along the way, he confided in his uncle, Gulf War veteran Fernando Lopez, about his passion for fighting, his experiences under fire and his fears about the future.
“Unless you've been there during the time when the bullets are flying past, you just can't know what it's like,” Lopez said. “So we talked about his various experiences. He would talk and I'd listen.”
When Larry Rougle visited his family in Utah last spring, he told his mother that he was returning to Afghanistan again.
“He told me that he didn't think that he would be making it home this time,” Nancy Rougle said. “I said, ‘No, no, let's not talk about it.' I didn't want to believe it.”
But Larry Rougle was determined to prepare his family for the worst. “Afghanistan is more dangerous than Iraq,” younger brother David Rougle said. “That is what he told me.”
Indeed, relative to the size of the forces in both nations, coalition troops in Afghanistan have suffered greater numbers of casualties than their counterparts in Iraq in each of the past three months.
Rougle is the sixth Utahn to die in the Afghanistan conflict. His death brings to 193 the number of coalition forces killed in Afghanistan so far this year, making this the deadliest year for U.S. and allied troops since the war began in 2001.
Though David Rougle had never served in the military, he also had some understanding of the consequences of war – some context in which to place his brother's grave predictions.
As a ramp worker at Salt Lake City International Airport, he'd watched the flag-draped caskets of several service members roll out from the bellies of passenger aircraft.
But he never thought his brother would be inside of one of the boxes. “Never,” David Rougle said. “Not for a moment. I thought he was coming home.”
Back under the hood of the truck, perhaps simply happy for the distraction it presented, Ismael Rougle sighed again.
“Until it is your own family,” he said, “you really don't know.”
Staff Sergeant Larry Ismael Rougle's casket is unloaded from an airplane at Million Air Terminal in Salt Lake City Tuesday as an honor guard contingent from the Patriot Guard looks on. Rougle's parents, Ismael and Nancy, embrace as Rougle's ex-wife, Jackie, holds her daughter Carmin.
In conjunction with an order from Utah Gov. Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., BYU will lower the ASB Flag of the U.S. to half-staff today in honor of Utah Native Staff Sgt. Larry Ismael Rougle, who died during combat in Afghanistan on Oct. 23.
A viewing for Sergeant Rougle is planned for today at 7 p.m. at the Saint Francis Church in Kearns, 4501 W. 5215 South.
Burial is scheduled for November 8, 2007, in Arlington National Cemetery.
SSgt Larry Rougle buried at Arlington National Cemetery
Funeral Mass at St. Francis Xavier Church, Kearns, draws family, friends, service members
Military pall bearers accompany the body of Sergeant Larry Ismael Rougle out of St. Francis Xavier
Church in Kearns, passing a row of American flags that led the way to the church. Rougle and two of his fellow
members of the 173rd Airborne Division were killed October 23, 2007, in a fire fight in the Kunar Province
of Afghanistan. Rougle, 25, was on his third tour of duty in Afghanistan. His burial at Arlington National Cemetery was
scheduled for November 9, 2007
KEARNS, UTAH — The sidewalk leading to St. Francis Xavier Church in Kearns was lined with American flags for the funeral of Army Staff Sergeant Larry Ismael Rougle, 25. The divorced father of a three-year-old daughter, Rougle was killed October 23, 2007, while on his third tour of duty in Afghanistan. He died in the Sawtalo Sar Mountain area of the Kunar Province, in a fire fight in which two other members of his unit, the 173rd Airborne, were killed.
Survived by his daughter, Carmin, his parents Nancy and Ismael Rougle; his brother David Rougle; a godson, cousins, and aunts and uncles, including his Aunt Char and Uncle Joel Rodriguez, members of St. Francis Xavier Parish, Rougle was slated to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, November 8, 2007.
In his homily at the funeral, Father Rob Moriarty, pastor of St. Francis Xavier Parish, told of going to the airport with Ismael Rougle to meet his son’s body when it arrived in Salt Lake City from Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.
“I asked his father, who was grieving deeply, if there was anything I could do for him. He turned to me and said, ‘if you could just bring him back.’”
Words were inadequate that day, Fr. Moriarty said, and they were inadequate at the funeral.
“How can you find words to describe a man who had such an impact on so many people?” Fr. Moriarty asked.
In the Catholic church we don’t come to a funeral so much to memorialize a person, although we sometimes do that, too. We’re here for a much deeper reason; to remember that Jesus conquered death through his death and resurrection…
“I wish with all my heart I could bring Larry back,” Fr. Moriarty said. “But I can’t regardless of how honest and heartfelt is the request. We cannot turn back the clock; none of us can do that, and there is no way for any of us to make better the feelings of grief you have.
“But in that sense of loss and grief, we are reminded of the promise God made to us in today’s reading from St. Paul. When we lose someone, we have to grieve, but we must remember, Jesus has promised we will eventually be together again.”
Fr. Moriarty said our Catholic faith provides us with, “a framework for us to comprehend the greater mystery of eternal life. And very honestly, Jesus tells us there is no need say good-bye, for Jesus never left us, and Larry will always be with us, too.
“In baptism, Larry received the divine spark of God, and nothing can extinguish that flame of love,” Fr. Moriarty said. “We have a greater dream here and now, the dream that is the reality of eternal life.”
Recalling the Scripture passage that tells the story of Jesus walking on the road to Bethany when he hears his friend Lazarus has died, said Fr. Moriarty.
“Jesus meets Lazarus’ sister, Martha, who tells him, ‘If you had been here, our brother would not have died.’ And Jesus asks: ‘What do you want me to do? Those who believe in me never die.’”
Today we see the difference between our mortal existence and our immortal souls, Fr. Moriarty said.
“Yes, we need to go through the grieving process,” he said, “but in Christ we have life eternal, and not even death can take that away.”
Rougle’s body was taken from the church accompanied by two members of a special motorcycle corps that escorts service members killed in action to their burial
ROUGLE, LARRY I
SSG US ARMY
DATE OF BIRTH: 05/06/1982
DATE OF DEATH: 10/23/2007
BURIED AT: SECTION 60 SITE 8721
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
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Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard