Sgt. Anibal Santiago was born August 26th, 1972 in Puerto Rico.
Santiago entered the U. S. Navy in 1991 and served until 1995. Following his Naval service, he served as a policeman in Rockford, Ill., from 1999 to 2005 and also graduated from Elgin Community College with a Liberal Arts degree.
Following his service in the Navy, Santiago entered the U. S. Army on Oct. 1, 2007 and after completion of the One Station Unit Training and the Ranger Indoctrination Program, he was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment on Sept. 30, 2008. He served as a sniper and as a sniper team leader.
Santiago died from injuries sustained as a result of a high-altitude fall while conducting combat operations over mountainous terrain in Khowst Province, Afghanistan. Treated immediately by unit medical personnel, he was quickly evacuated to the nearest medical treatment facility where he died July 18.
Santiago completed numerous military courses while serving in the Army, including the Combat Life Savers Course, Combatives Level One, the Sniper Course, the Airborne Course, the Ranger Indoctrination Program, and the U.S. Army Ranger Course.
His awards and decorations include the Ranger Tab, the Combat Infantryman Badge, and the Parachutist Badge. He has also been awarded the Navy Unit Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Navy Good Conduct Medal, The Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, The South West Asia Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, the Iraq Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, and the Army Service Ribbon. Santiago was serving his third deployment having previously deployed once to Afghanistan and once to Iraq.
He was posthumously recommended for the Bronze Star Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal.
Santiago is survived by his wife, Mandy Santiago of Fort Benning, Ga.,, son Hannibal of Belvidere, Ill., stepsons Desmond and Darian, from Fort Benning, and his parents Anibal and Maria Santiago of Belvidere, Ill.
As a Ranger, Santiago selflessly lived his life for others while he distinguished himself as a member of the Army’s premier light-infantry unit, which remains continuously deployed in support of the Global War on Terrorism. In every instance he fought valiantly as he served his fellow Rangers and our great Nation.