Died September 16, 2010
Operation Enduring Freedom
Assigned to 23rd Special Tactics Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Florida
Air Force Senior Airman “Danny” Sanchez died September 16, 2010 from injuries suffered during combat operations in Oruzgan Province, Afghanistan. Danny was on his first deployment in support of the Global War on Terrorism when he was killed.
Daniel lost his father in a car accident when he was 5 years old but nevertheless he was a happy, funny, and inventive child. Knowing exactly what he needed to craft his scuba gear, or costumes like Dark Wing Duck, the Ninja Turtles, and so many other characters. He was also a natural when it came to sports and loved playing baseball, basketball, football and even soccer. He never gave up and his mother stated, “ He had a Spirit in him that was full of hope, it was the essence of his character, motivation or resolve if you will that just seemed to burn in inside him.”
Daniel’s friends described him as a green-eyed, walking ball of energy who had a knack for persuasion, a passion for skateboarding and playing sports, and a creative streak that showed in his music and sketches.
Daniel Sanchez was always in motion and always on the go. He jumped off roofs and scaled fences as a kid, once getting into trouble for skateboarding off a shed onto the neighbor’s trampoline. Daniel graduated from Montwood High School in 2005 and afterwards considered joining the fire department.
Danny eventually learned about the Air Force special operations community, and he was sold, Danny’s mother said. Danny joined the Air Force in 2006 and when he graduated Basic Training he tried out to be a Combat Controller. Even when the training reached its most difficult, Danny told his mother over the phone that he wasn’t ready to give up. “Mom,” he told her, “I can’t not do this. I’m not going to quit.”
It only seemed natural that Sanchez became a combat controller when he joined the Air Force. “He was always just go, go, go,” his mother, Yvette Duchene, told the Air Force Times. “When his instructor talked to us (at boot-camp graduation), it was the first time I found out what a Combat Controller was. He told us—and pardon my French—that my son would be a badass.”
SRA Daniel Sanchez was 23 years old from El Paso, Texas.
Original portrait was presented October 17, 2015 to his family at a special memorial event hosted by the Combat Controller Association in Pensacola, FL.