Captain Derek Dobogai
Derek was a 1999 graduate of Winnebago Lutheran Academy (WLA) in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.
A top athlete and honor student at school, he was on the track team and captain of the cross-country team.
He wrote in the yearbook of his plans for the future and gave this quote:
"What I have learned at WLA is that God is the one who is in charge of everything. All I need to do is trust in Him and He will lead me where I need to go."
Derek was a law enforcement and justice administration major at Western Illinois University, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2003. He received an active duty commission in 2003 as a second lieutenant in the United States Army through the Reserve Officers Training Corps. He then attended the Infantry Officer Basic Course at Fort Benning, Georgia. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. That year he was named Lietutenant of the Year for the 25th Infantry Division. Derek was deployed to Iraq and served as the Brigade Scout Platoon Leader.
On 22 August 2007, Derek and his ten-man scout team were returning to FOB Warrior after a successful mission. The Army Blackhawk helicopter - call sign "Jenna" -- they were flying in crashed. Derek, his scouts, and the four-man Blackhawk crew were killed.
Since 2009, Derek's family has been honoring his memory and the memories of his comrades with a Memorial 5K Race in Fond du Lac. This year, Salute the Troops is proud to announce that our 5K Run/Walk will memorialize Derek and "Jenna's 14".