- 25 years old
- Date of birth: Apr 1, 1981
- Date of passing: Aug 20, 2006
|Let the memory of Gabriel be with us forever|
Army Sgt. DeRoo was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Washington. DeRoo was out of his Stryker, on foot, when he was shot by enemy forces using small arms fire during combat operations in Mosul. Gabriel graduated in 1999 from Grace Christian School in Watervliet, Michigan. He attended community college, and was considering going into law enforcement when he surprised his family and joined the Army in January 2003. One of his first jobs was to be part of the team that installed slat armor on the brigade's Stryker vehicles in Kuwait before they moved north into Iraq. Some soldiers were skeptical about whether the 5,200 pound steel cages would work as advertised and protect them from rocket-propelled grenades but not Gabriel. His response was, "It sounds good to me. I mean, any extra armor is good." The slat armor proved to be a reliable defense against most RPGs and is in use on Strykers in Iraq today. He also took time from his busy days to learn Iraqi words so he could communicate better with the people he had come to like, especially the children. Gabriel took the time to write his letters home in longhand. Two days after he was killed, letters that he wrote his wife and flowers he habitually sent her were still arriving. This was his second deployment to Iraq and during his military time, he earned the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge and the Expert Infantryman Badge. Gabriel was a very religious man who had great faith in God and was very proud to be in the military. He was also a huge University of Michigan fan and loved hunting. He is survived by his wife, Hannah, and their infant son.
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