Staff Sgt Ayman Taha

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Army Staff Sergeant Ayman A. Taha was close to finishing his PhD in economics but decided to sign up to the Special Forces.
The 31-year-old believed in doing 'good deeds' and felt compelled to serve his country.
He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group, Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
Sergeant Taha died on December 30 2005 as he was preparing a munitions cache for demolition in Balad, Iraq, when it exploded.
He was originally from Sudan but grew up in Virginia and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley before earning a master's degree in economics.
A friend said that joining the Special Forces was 'something he felt compelled to do' and he did so in 2002 under the 18X program, which allows people to enlist with unique skills.
Sgt Taha could speak English, Arabic, Spanish and Portuguese, with Arabic being particularly useful to the military.
His father worked for the World Bank but rather than follow his footsteps Sgt Taha decided to sign up and fight for America instead.
He is survived by his wife Geraldine and his daughter Sommer.
Sgt Taha's father Abdel-Rahman Taha said that his son was a devout Muslim who felt 'the message of Islam is very simple - to believe in God and do good deeds'.
He said: 'He believed that what he was doing were the good deeds Islam is asking for'.
Sgt Taha was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal and the Combat Infantryman Badge.

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