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Md.-based soldier dies while serving in Iraq

The Associated Press

A Delaware soldier who died while serving in Iraq suffered an apparent heart attack, a government official said today.

Army Staff Sgt. Darren Harmon, 44, of Newark, died Saturday in Haditha.

Harmon was a reservist assigned to the 203rd Military Intelligence Battalion based at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland.

George Mercer, chief of public affairs at Aberdeen, said Harmon apparently suffered a heart attack.

"It was not out in the field," Mercer said. "He was not on a specific mission; he was back at base camp."

Mercer said the 203rd, which includes both active duty and reserve troops, employ technical intelligence teams that collect and dispose of enemy weapons and materiel.

Harmon's widow, Crystal Holland Harmon, learned of her husband's death Monday morning, when two military officers visited the couple's home in Newark, according to Harmon's father.

Fisher P. Harmon, 69, said his son was born in New Castle and graduated from William Penn High School, where he played football.

Darren Harmon joined the Army shortly after graduating from high school and was a veteran of Desert Storm, his father said.

After leaving the service, Harmon worked for Comcast as an electrical technician and cable installer, the job he held before being deployed to Iraq last year. Harmon, who was scheduled to return home in August, stayed in contact with his family through e-mails and phone calls.

"He was telling us how he was looking forward to coming home," his father said.

Fisher Harmon said his son enjoyed fishing and collecting tropical fish.

"He loved the water," he said.

After divorcing his first wife, Harmon was a single parent for several years, raising a daughter and three sons.

"His true love was really with his kids," his father said. "Everybody that was in his life, he respected them and he gave them all he could of himself. He was never disrespectful of anybody."

In addition to his widow and children, survivors include his parents, two sisters and a brother.

A funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday at Mount Sinai Baptist Church in New Castle. The House of Wright Mortuary is in charge of arrangements.

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